It’s the last quarter of the calendar year; how will you cross the 2018 finish line in terms of reputation management? Strictly speaking in terms of Google Reviews: should you respond to them, whether or not they are positive or negative? You and your staff should take the time to sit down and create a game plan for how to deal with reviews. That’s the first step to maintaining your business’s integrity online; something highly overlooked that is crucial to your overall success on the major search engines.
Why Are Google Reviews Important?
With how the online landscape has rapidly evolved, coinciding with more consumers moving to an instant gratification society, bad reviews can dramatically affect your online revenue. Why are Google My Business reviews so important? Google reviews are one of the highest factors for businesses trying to improve their visibility in search results.
Google reviews also are the single, most influential conversion factor when you are in a competitive market. If there are dozens of other home services contractors in your exact zip code, you can certainly expect that homeowners are doing their homework on who to choose for their next project.
You Can’t Make the Bad Reviews Go Away
If someone ever tries to convince you they can “make the negative reviews disappear” or some magic fairy tale variation of that statement, don’t buy it. There’s a reason some things sound too good to be true. While you can flag an inappropriate review that violates Google’s policy, most negative reviews will not be able to be removed. However, you can handle these reviews in a sophisticated, natural, and organic way by simply putting together a plan.
Responding to both the positive and more importantly the negative Google reviews is the most natural way to curate an online presence. Responding also gives your business a voice. Rather than just being “Name – Address – Phone Number,” you’ll have a more human presence because of the engagement. Below are some bullet points on best practice for review responses.
How to Handle Bad Reviews
Here are some best practices for handling negative reviews:
- Don’t ignore them – they won’t go away
- Try to respond within 24 to 48 hours
- Express empathy in your responses
- Tell the reviewer that your company welcomes the feedback
- Provide a phone number & contact person to move it offline
- Avoid arguing with dissatisfied customers even if they’re wrong
- Consider what other potential visitors will see when they read through your responses
By following the suggestions above, you will find the negative reviews that may come up are not that big of a deal when addressed in a timely fashion and professional manner. At the end of the day, there should be no reason to try to seek a shortcut or go to the extreme of deleting your profile.
Everything can be handled cordially and formally if you just set up the proper procedures. You and your staff can win in terms of maintaining your online presence if you get this plan in order and set the right staff member with the task of addressing all reviews.
Responding to Positive Reviews
In terms of positive reviews on your Google listing, you don’t have to overthink it. Yes, it is important to have a more natural, human voice and tone. However, it’s not usually necessary to write a novel in reply. For positive reviews and comments, simply thank the customer for their feedback.
A solid standard response could be something like: “Thanks for the 5 star review, [reviewer name], and for choosing us for your [product or service] needs.” Or if they mention a specific employee reply something to the effect of: “Thanks for the 5 star review, [reviewer name]. We’re glad [employee name] was so helpful, we really try to bring you the best [employee’s position title]’s in the market. Have a great day!”
To summarize, Google reviews simply cannot be deleted. However as stated above they can be handled in a careful manner that actually will boost your online presence over the competitors who choose to just ignore them. Reviews truly are a validating factor with Google and every platform tied into local search marketing. They don’t need to be treated as the bane of your existence, but rather you just need a plan of action to ensure your brand doesn’t get buried by reviews.
Are you successfully managing your online reputation, or could you use some assistance? Utilizing an agency to help you manage your brands reviews online can be a great option. The LeadBuilder team provides this through our Active Response product. With us handling every review your business receives on Yelp, Google My Business, and Facebook, you’ll rest easy knowing your business’s integrity online is being properly maintained.
Nicholas Devoe is an Local SEO Specialist on the the LeadBuilder® inbound marketing team. He is well-rounded digital marketing expert with a journalism degree, Web Content Writer background, and several years experience as an SEO analyst. Connect with him on LinkedIn.
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