The Google Review: Good, Bad, Ugly, & Important
When someone goes online to search for your business, there’s really good chance they’re going to rely on Google’s search engine. As of the end of 2020, Google had over 92% of the search engine market. There, potential customers will find your company, comparable businesses and services, a map to your location, and ready access to online Google reviews.
A Google review is often your customer’s first impression of your business from an outside perspective. It is where most people will decide whether or not to visit your storefront and spend their money on your product or service. Google reviews matter because they can make or break a business regardless of business type. Google reviews can shape the image of your brand and help you cultivate a strong following. Being well-reviewed can be a perfect way to get your foot in the door – or caught in it. Good words travel well. Bad ones travel faster.
What are Google reviews and why is it so important to have positive feedback for your business? A Google review can be a double-edged sword. The important thing to remember is that all reviews for your business should be carefully moderated and responded to. If you receive a negative review, consider it an opportunity to engage with superior customer service to turn things around with that customer. Replying to a negative review with a carefully-crafted response provides transparency and empathy. All Google reviews have impact; whether positive or negative.
No matter how well a business is doing or how great their customer service is, there will always be someone who is dissatisfied. How should you deal with someone that is visiting your Google page to deter future customers or voice their displeasure?
The first thing to remember is that you must still treat them with respect, no matter the circumstances. You can always give some context to a situation if there was a misunderstanding, and show the customer your willingness to resolve the issue. Inviting them back to speak with a manager, comping a meal, or offering them another service can make your true intentions known. By extending an offer to resolve the issue, you are being proactive in the eyes of potential customers and the dissatisfied client may even be persuaded to change their negative review.
For example: You own a busy restaurant and on a busy night, cook times are running longer than usual. A couple walks in with a reservation for 7:30 but they don’t get sat until 8. Because you are juggling multiple tables, and timing is off, the couple has a disappointing meal. They leave upset and decide to review the experience poorly on Google. Upon seeing the negative review, you take the time to reach out and make it up to them. In a perfect world, the customer will appreciate the gesture and will understand that you’d like to earn another opportunity to turn the situation around. But even if that customer cannot see past the negative experience, new potential customers will see that you took the time to respond and made the effort to resolve the situation – transparency is key.
There is always a solution. If you take the time to respond, you will hone your customer service skills, and the customer will appreciate the personal attention. Do not fear the Google review, embrace all the benefits it can provide and ALWAYS respond to them in a timely manner.
Whether you need to improve your online reputation, establish greater brand awareness, increase website conversions, or acquire user-generated content for marketing purposes — a review strategy can be advantageous. How do you solicit positive reviews? Simply ask. A social media or email campaign to incentivize positive reviews can be a catalyst for garnering reviews. This strategy can be beneficial in two ways: 1) positive reviews with timely and transparent responses look good to new viewers who found your business via search – 2) Google rewards businesses with higher organic search rankings when the business page has received reviews.
I’d love to hear more about your experience with Google reviews. If you have questions or comments, chime in below or reach out directly: firstname.lastname@example.org.