Everyone has systems that they follow religiously. For us, one of those systems that we follow and recommend to all of our clients is responding to customer reviews. You’ve heard the saying “you never get a second chance to make a first impression” and that is exactly why we are going to #preach on this for the next 800 words or so.
We live in an age where one of the first instincts of a consumer is to look at reviews before considering working with a business or going somewhere. Most times, a potential customer or client will Google your business to get to your website, and the reviews are the first thing that they see. So, like the saying we mentioned before, some might go as far to say your Google reviews are the first impression that potential clients get. As a business owner, you naturally want your product or service to be viewed as credible, legitimate, and a positive experience. As an added perk, your Google reviews have a big impact on your SEO health (this blog will tell you why).
Which reviews should you respond to you ask? All of them! Good and bad, positive and negative, and . So, that brings up a good question. What do you do when you get a bad review on Google?
Don’t get overwhelmed with shame, as this happens to many businesses. It’s not the end of the world, and there are ways to handle it that can still help you attract business. First, be sure to respond right away. The email address(es) you have linked to your Google My Business profile will receive an email each time you get a new review. Take advantage of this and when that email comes through, respond! If you take months or a year to respond to a bad review, you will be seen as apathetic and out of touch with technology. Also, it will look like your online presence isn’t being properly managed. As a business/business owner, you should care about all aspects of your business especially when it can make an impression and an impact on sales.
Be professional and kind, and that means avoid responding in a reactive manner at all costs. You want to do everything you can to deescalate the situation if possible. Give them confidence in trying out your service or product again in the future. This means thanking them for their feedback, and offering to solve their problem in a way that makes sense for your business. If possible, offer a solution to rectify the issue and be sure to follow through with what you have offered. Potential customers want to know what’s going to happen if they aren’t satisfied with your product or service. Whatever steps you take here will affect your reputation!
If the negative review is spam or you think it may be your competition trying to have a negative influence on your business (don’t worry, karma) you should still respond! You should still apologize, but mention that you believe this review is spam and that they should check Google’s guidelines before leaving false reviews, BOOM!
Now, don’t forget to respond to positive reviews when you’re managing your Google reviews. After all, they took time out of their day to write something positive about your business, and other potential customers will see it. Life tip: be thankful for every little thing! Taking the time to say that you’re thankful for the time they’ve spent reviewing their business will ensure that they feel acknowledged and continue to use your product or service. This is part of the process of maintaining a loyal customer base! It’s also important to make sure you’re responding to each review with a unique response. In other words, do not copy and paste the same response to each review. Who wants to feel like their talking to a robot? If somebody notices the same exact sentence structure in each response, they will think that it is something automated and view you as less credible.
Be sure to acknowledge each aspect of the persons review. For example, if a customer commends you on your service, give information about how you pride yourself on your customer service and dedicated staff. If they give a specific compliment about your product, respond with a sentence about how happy you are that they’ve given you an opportunity to try your product. When a customer feels heard, they feel appreciated!