Google and other popular search engines are the modern age storefront for prospective customers and clients. While word of mouth and print press used to be your best opportunity to create a positive image, the age we are in is digital, making it more significant to pay attention online to the tools and resources you can have a bit of control over. Google has created tools to leverage your opportunity to engage with customers and clients at any stage of the sale process with their creation of Google MyBusiness. Google MyBusiness allows businesses to create an e-portfolio that can showcase imagery and content pertinent to them, contact information, hours of service, pricing, and display the reviews they receive among a list of features. While all are important in their own right, Google reviews are what we will focus on throughout this article.
What is the significance of business reviews on Google?Google business reviews are open doorways for individuals to share their experiences, both good and bad, online. These reviews are not just feedback about your business, but an advertisement for your business – or a red flag to stay far, far away. To put in perspective the significance reviews on Google have, a BrightLocal survey discussed in our online review guide, showed that 85% of survey participants read online reviews for local businesses. With such a high percentage of individuals looking to the web’s online reviews to make their decisions, it is crucial businesses keep watch and tend to those needing a response.
The Great Vs. The DamagingAs was stated previously, online reviews come in a moving scale of sentiment. Some are overflowing with accolades while others are detrimental accusations. So how does a business owner or marketing team keep tabs on the good vs. the damaging reviews? Easy! Add a level of importance to responding, reacting, and reviewing online reviews made about your business on Google and other search engine platforms. By dedicating time to execute a strategy to tackle the reviews you receive, and also those you want to get, you will be able to stay steps ahead of competitors in your area. It is important to note that not all reviews created are truthful. In fact, there is a good chance you will come across several that may have been created by competitors, bots, or disgruntled customers who have no legitimate backing for what they are saying. Usually, these types of reviews are easy to pick out and can be addressed with a simple review process. One big plus with Google reviews is that an active Google account is needed in order to make a review. Even though it isn’t hard to obtain an active account/email, it still requires a bit more effort than your average review site that could be easily manipulated by scammers, fakes, and bots. Another thing to consider is that long-form reviews with depth and detail about an experience, specific services, employees, or the location they visited can help you identify the legitimacy of the review. Not only does the detailed review provide you with context to handle both good and bad reviews, but it also shows credibility on the customer’s part and usually will make its way to the top of the review section.
Take These Steps to Manage ReviewsManaging Google reviews doesn’t have to be hard. Here are some of our top tips at Reputation Rhino to help keep you on track when dealing with reviews. Begin by assessing the nature of the review. Is it negative or positive? Does it share a lot of information that may be sensitive or need addressing immediately? Next, identify the person that shared their experience and ask your staff if they were a client or customer. This will help you and your team pinpoint the reasoning for their review and its credibility. Once those questions are answered, it’s time to move on to the steps for responding:
- Always address and provide a response to each review you receive.
- Meet each one, negative reviews especially, with gratitude and helpfulness.
- Thank reviewers for leaving the negative feedback and provide a response asking them what they would like to see be done for a better experience.
- Respond with your gratitude again for their feedback and let them know you look forward to doing business with them in the future.
- Don’t be afraid to take a conversation offline and into email, or better yet, a phone conversation. The option of a phone conversation will allow you to gain insight and a quick response rate around situations that especially need to be addressed in a timely manner.