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When people go to search online, 85% of them are using Google. It’s the world’s largest search engine, so when they’re checking out your business, there’s a pretty good chance it’s happening on Google. When they do find your business, whether it’s in the Google Maps or Google My Business listings, it shows your reviews.
It’s important to respond. A study by the Harvard Business Review shows that when businesses respond to customer reviews, their ratings increased. A timely, thoughtful response helped improve impressions even if the review was bad.
Why You Need to Respond to Google Reviews
Whether you like it or not, reviews are powerful. Nearly 90% of consumers say they look at reviews before making purchase decisions. 76% say they trust reviews as much as personal recommendations from friends or family.
Google shows star reviews now show next to businesses in some search results. Google also looks at reviews and star levels when determining which business to show. They can help (or hurt) your SEO.
If left unchecked, negative reviews carry more weight. The longer a problem appears unaddressed or unresolved, the bigger it becomes.
Responding to Negative Reviews
Nobody’s perfect. Mistakes happen. Things can go wrong. And yes, sometimes the customer is wrong.
It’s often not the incident itself that makes an impression with consumers, but rather how you deal with it as a business. Anytime you get a negative review, you need to address it promptly.
How you address it matters greatly. No matter how difficult it may be, take a breath and evaluate the situation before you respond. Here are some of our best tips on how to respond to Google reviews.
- Keep it friendly
Respond in a friendly, conversational, and helpful tone. Remember, you’re not just responding to an individual review, you’re demonstrating to potential customers how you will treat them if they have a problem.
- Respond publicly
Respond publicly on Google, or any other places they post negative reviews. You want your responses to be seen. Research shows that positive responses to negative reviews can be a net positive for consumers.
- Own up to your mistakes
Be transparent about your mistakes. If you are at fault, admit the problem, discuss the steps you’re taking to address them, and show empathy.
- Solve problems
Don’t just say you’re sorry, though, or make excuses. Provide a solution or action to resolve the situation. Be careful about offering freebies or incentives to make up for a problem. This might encourage others to complain. If you do feel you need to do something along these lines, post publicly that you’ll contact them separately to discuss a resolution.
- Don’t argue
Whatever you do, don’t escalate. If someone continues to post negative comments after you respond, move the conversation offline. Ask them to contact you to resolve their problem and provide a way for them to do that.
- Make it personal
Show that there are real people behind the business and that you care. Signing your name lets them know you’ll stand by what you say.
Often, you can turn a negative review into a positive one by the way you approach things with a customer. When you do, ask if they’d be willing to update the review and let them know you took care of them.
Reviews Are Important
Don’t let negative reviews fester. Respond quickly and positively. Offer a solution when possible and always remember the bigger picture.