If you own a business, there’s a good chance that you have customer reviews on your Google My Business (GMB) listing. Because customers often look at a company’s reviews before deciding whether they will give them their business, it is important to regularly practice review management. One of the easiest ways to manage your Google business reviews is to respond to them using GMB’s owner response feature. Today we’ll explore a few tips that will not only make your responses to reviews genuine and helpful to customers, but also beneficial to your overall digital marketing strategy.
Why Are GMB Reviews Important?
GMB listings help customers find and contact businesses. A well set up GMB profile can help your business rank locally for your targeted keyword. However, you’ll need more than accurate contact information and pictures to fully optimize your GMB listing. According to Moz’s 2017 survey of local search ranking factors, review signals are one of the top ranking factors for businesses trying to rank locally.
Reviews can influence customers as they search for local businesses, so it makes sense that Google would prioritize review signals as a ranking factor. In fact, in their 2017 customer review survey, Brightlocal found that:
- 97% of consumers search for local businesses online
- 12% search for local businesses online every day
- 73% of respondents agreed that positive reviews make them more likely to trust a business
- 85% of respondents said that they trusted web reviews as much as personal recommendations
- 30% named review responses from the owner as a key factor when judging local businesses
These findings show how easy it is for reviews to affect your business. Whether that affect is positive or negative may depend on how well you manage your reviews. One of the best (and free) tools you can utilize for review management is responding to reviews through your GMB account. Responding to customer reviews is a great way to build trust and can provide valuable feedback about your business, just make sure that your responses are useful, professional, and polite.
Tips for Responding to Positive Reviews
Congratulations! A customer enjoyed your business’s product or service so much that they left you a positive review on your GMB listing. Let the customer know how much you appreciate his or her business by responding with GMB’s owner response feature. The following tips will help you utilize review responses as an effective reputation management tool.
· Acknowledge the reviewer by name
Starting your message with your customer’s name assures that your response will grab the reviewer’s attention. A greeting that includes the reviewer’s name shows that you are personally acknowledging the reviewer and his or her thoughts.
· Reference details from the review
Your response should touch on the details that the customer mentions in his or her review. This shows that you read what the reviewer wrote closely, and you took the time to write out a genuine response. Responses to positive reviews are often generic thank you messages that get copied and pasted repeatedly. Show that your business is a step above the rest in customer service with personalized responses.
· Give tips or advice that relate to the review
This relates to the previous tip but goes one step further. If a customer mentions something specific about your business, it can be helpful to give the customer helpful advice related to his or her review. As an example, if you own a restaurant and a customer writes a review saying how much she enjoyed your patio area, you might respond with a tip about the best times of year for outdoor seating in your area or let the customer know that she can request patio seating when making a reservation. Giving customers helpful tips related to their reviews not only shows them how great your customer service is, but also encourages the customers to become repeat visitors.
Tips for Responding to Negative Reviews
Negative reviews online can be especially harmful to small businesses that only have a few reviews. If you only have a handful of reviews and a disgruntled customer leaves you a one-star rating, your overall rating can be dramatically affected. While you can’t delete these reviews, you may be able to defuse the situation appropriately responding to the review. The tips given for responding to positive reviews are still relevant for negative reviews, but you can take your response to the next level by following this advice:
· Respond promptly
If you are dealing with a recent negative review it is important to respond quickly while the experience is still fresh on the customer’s mind. However, make sure to investigate the problem thoroughly before responding so that you are adequately prepared to give a thoughtful response. The quicker you are able respond to the review the more likely it is that you and the customer can come to a resolution.
· Offer sincere condolences
If your customers have negative experiences with your business, you should use your response to sincerely apologize that their visits were not up to expectations. Offering genuine condolences can show the reviewer that you truly regret that he or she had a negative experience when dealing with your business. This can make your business seem more human and approachable and even win back customers.
· Resolve the situation if possible
If the reviewer is complaining about something you can fix, it is best resolve it. By responding to the review and letting the customer know that you are actively working on a resolution, you will show the customer (and others reading the review) that your business takes customer satisfaction seriously. If the issue is resolved, there is a chance that the customer may edit or delete their review. If the customer doesn’t delete the review, you still get the benefit of other customers seeing how professionally you handle customer complaints.
Reputation management is an important for businesses, especially local ones. Respond to Google business reviews to alleviate the stress of customers who had poor experiences and thank those who wrote to say they enjoyed your service. Use these tips to show existing and potential customers that your business’s customer service doesn’t end at the register.