It’s definitely standard practice, these days — before a potential customer utilizes your services, whether that be buying your product or setting up an appointment, they’ll almost certainly take the time to Google your business, first. Therefore, what people see when they Google you can be one of the most make-or-break moments for you and your success.
Google Reviews make up the bulk of what people will see, aside from your Search Engine ranking, when they Google you. Great reviews will influence casual researchers to turn into avid brand loyalists—and great reviews can even boost your ranking from a third page search result to that coveted over-the-ad spot!
Therefore, maintaining and curating your brand’s profile should definitely include responding to Google reviews; it’ll make you seem accessible and caring, and it’ll absolutely inform you of everything you need to know about how your business is doing! This makes it one of the most invaluable tools you have to market your business—and it’s completely free.
Claim Your Business’s Google My Business Profile
The first step to managing Google reviews is to make sure that you have ownership of the account associated with your business’s profile. Claiming it will give you a lot of power over how your business shows up on that first result page; you’ll be able to change the image, to respond to reviews, and to calibrate what type of information shows up at the top of the screen.
Claiming your business is a very simple process. If you are a business that has been around for a while, a profile has likely already been set up for you—simply Google your name and address, find the Google result that corresponds to you, and click the Claim As Business button.
If you haven’t already got a profile—which will likely be the case if you are a very new business—setting up a Google business account is very easy as well. Go to the ‘Google My Business’ page for more information! The setup only takes a few minutes.
Here’s Exactly How To Respond to a Google Review
Google has set things up so that this is an extremely simple process. To start, log into your Google ‘My Business’ profile. There will be three bars in the upper left-hand corner of your screen; click them.
On the resulting menu, there will be an option called “Manage My Reviews.” Select that option. That button will take you to a page where you can see all of the reviews which you’ve recently gotten for your Google My Business account. Select the review that you’d like to respond to, and then click “View and Reply.”
On the resulting page, you’ll be able to type out a quick reply to the review, and then post it. The person who wrote the review will be notified that you have responded, and that is that!
How to Respond to a Positive Review
We’ll handle the easy stuff first. When someone has written a great review of you, your services, and your brand, you may feel like you’re walking on air. It’s easy to get caught up in the resultant glow, but it’s very important to make sure that you’re responding to these—after, all, you definitely want to encourage it!
To do so, start off by simply thanking the customer for taking the time to come into your store or order your product or otherwise interact with whatever you offer. Then, express happiness that the customer was excited about your product—you don’t want to seem like you’re taking that for granted. You could say something like, “I’m so glad that worked out for you! It always makes me so happy to see when customers are really using my products.”
This vulnerability makes you seem more accessible and more like a human being instead of a corporation—and those are the precise ingredients that go into building brand loyalty with your customers.
Lastly, be sure to thank the customer for taking the time out of their busy day to come onto Google and leave you a great review. It would have been much easier for the customer to be silently happy about your product—so be sure to emphasize that you’re thankful for the review, and mention how it really helps your business when happy customers leave reviews! This will help the customer feel invested in your company, which, again, helps build brand loyalty.
How to Respond to a Negative Review
Negative reviews are much less fun to receive, but they can be viewed as helpful tools to help you and your business grow. For this reason, try hard to see negative reviews not as insults or as fodder for retribution (which will always look worse for you than the customer, after all), but as ways to establish that you are a mature person looking for ways to grow your business.
Here are the general steps to respond appropriately: First, don’t stress. Everyone, even huge and objectively successful companies, gets bad reviews. Second, respond in a timely manner. Third, be polite—even if the customer wasn’t.
Finally, see if you can figure out a way to help the customer out (they’re likely just frustrated!) and mention that you’re actively looking for ways to improve the customer experience. This will make the customer, as well as everyone else who will read that review and your response, feel secure and taken care of—possibly a better outcome than someone who left a positive review in the first place!
Google Reviews can be a fascinating and hardworking tool to ensure that your business has a great reputation and is able to grow as fast as you would like it to grow. However, it takes work on your part, too—from providing the great service to get great reviews to monitoring the reviews and responding in a timely, empathetic manner. Utilize this tool as the great marketing that it undeniably is!