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Google My Business offers companies a chance to hold a two-way conversation with customers. The review and reply feature of Google My Business has become crucial to customer relations and can help a company create lasting relationship and loyalty with consumers.
By leveraging Google My Business and strategically responding to reviews, companies can help shape the image of their business in the eyes of both current and future customers. Owner responses act as a source of credibility and authority, which in return gives customers a sense of security they need before choosing which company to go with.
The tips below can help you elevate your Google My Business game.
How to Respond to a Review
Google has made the process of responding to a review pretty simple.
The first thing you need to do is login in and navigate to your listing. Once there, the sidebar has a “Reviews” tab – click that and it will show a list of all your business’s reviews.
Next, find the review you would like to respond to and simply click the “Reply” button.
To make things easier, Google My Business also offers sorting by reviews that you have replied to and those you have not replied to yet.
Basic Tips for Responding to a Google My Business Review
- Be Positive and Friendly – Since responding to reviews is essentially holding a conversation with both current and future customers, it is essential to engage with them as if they are currently at your physical business.
- Keep it Short and to the Point – Writing a reply requires the perfect balance of providing substance while avoiding an essay-length message. A good reply addresses the reviewer and what they had to say directly.
- Don’t be Robotic – Avoid using the same response over and over again. Customers are looking for a personal touch, so be authentic and show off your company’s personality! A simple “We are happy to hear you enjoyed X, Y, and Z. Next time we recommend you try…” is much more appealing and welcoming than a “Thanks for reviewing us!” or other scripted responses.
- Respond to Both Positive and Negative Reviews – Replying to negative reviews is just as important as replying to satisfied customers. While replying to positive reviews helps strengthen a relationship with current customers, replying to negative reviews allows your company to establish a sense of trust with future customers. Not only does it show you care about customer and their feedback, but it also give you a chance to resolve any accidental issues and, in return, turn a negative experience into a positive one.
- Always Thank Reviewers – Since reviewers took the time out of their day to review your business, giving them a simple “thank you” can go a long way in showing your appreciation – especially for those that left a positive review.
- If Possible, Assign the Role to Someone – Responding to reviews can be time consuming, so making one person responsible can help make the process more time efficient. Additionally, designating one or two people to responding to reviews can bring consistency and accountability to your replies.
How to Handle a Negative Review
- Get Personal or Insult
- Get Defensive
- Take Ownership & Address the Complaint
- Thank Them for the Insight
First off, take a breath.
Mistakes and bad reviews happen, but how you respond can help frame how other customers view your business. Before responding take time to calm down, responding when frustrated or mad can make your reply come off as harsh, even if that’s not your intention.
When beginning to tackle your response, start by taking the high ground and thanking the reviewer, whether you believe the criticism is warranted or not. Ultimately, the reviewer is giving you a point of view you may not have considered.
Next, address the issue head on and try to take ownership of the complaint. If there is a solution to the reviewer’s problem, let them know you are trying to resolve it. This not only resolves a potentially ugly customer engagement, but it also sends trust signals to future customers. Don’t leave any loose ends for people wondering how issues were resolved
If the issue does get resolved and the customer is happy with the results, feel free to ask them to edit or remove their review – and make sure to thank them if they do.
At the end of the day, bad reviews can (and will!) happen to anyone. The good news is, they give you an opportunity to identify areas of your business that you have have overlooked. Approaching them with humility will only make your business better as a result.
How to Flag Inappropriate Reviews
Flagging inappropriate reviews should only be an option when a review violates Google’s policies on prohibited content. This generally includes spam reviews, off-topic reviews, offensive language or material, conflicts of interest, hate speech, and personal information. For a full list visit Google’s full Review Policies here.
In order to flag a review, you must go into the reviews tab. Once there, click the three horizontal dots to the right of the review and select “Flag as inappropriate.”
Don’t expect inappropriate reviews to be removed immediately. Google Support faces high demand and is highly critical when looking at removal requests.
If after a few days the review hasn’t been address, reach out to Google Support regarding taking the review down.
What to Do If a Previous Employee Left a Review
Under Google’s conflict of interest policy, “posting negative content about a current or former employment experience” is now a violation. This means negative reviews by ex-employees can now be flagged as inappropriate.
After flagging the message and reaching out to Google My Business Support, it can be helpful to respond to the review publicly. While receiving a negative review from an ex-employee can be frustrating, it is important to remember to avoid getting personal or calling the reviewer out by name. Simple say the review is conflict of interest by an ex-employee and has been flagged for removal.
Again, it may take time to get a response from support, so be persistent and continue to reach out until the conflict of interest is resolved.
Piecing It All Together
Google My Business reviews can provide amazing benefits for your business if used correctly.
By using these tips and guidelines your business will be on its way to increasing customer satisfaction and engagement.