According to Qualtrics, 93% of clients read online reviews before buying a product or service. Google Reviews are likely your first public quality indicator potential clients will see. They are an endorsement of your offering and client service.
Your online reviews can help you to connect with your clients, improve your brand image and encourage positive buying recommendations. They show prospective clients what they will experience when they collaborate with you.
Client feedback also helps to improve your service offerings and monitor client experience trends over time.
In this article, we focus on Google Reviews, but the same guidance applies to any other review site where your firm has a presence.
Why are Google Reviews important?
- They help to boost your SEO.
- They help prospective clients find you. *
- They help to build brand awareness.
- Endorsements help you to sell/win clients.
- They show clients what they can expect from your service.
- They help you to monitor your service over time and improve your business offering.
What to remember when responding to Google Reviews
Try to reply to reviews as soon as possible or within 24 hours and tailor your responses to each review. Responding timeously to reviews shows respect for your clients and that you appreciate the time they have taken to share their views with you on Google.
Even if you have received a negative review, treat it with the same courtesy. 45% of consumers say they are more likely to visit a business that responds to negative reviews.
How you deal with negative reviews speaks volumes about what it will be like for future clients if they use your services (potential clients look for trends, not individual situations).
What should you consider when responding to reviews?
- Respond quickly and respond always.
- Thank the client for taking the time to write a review.
- Make your response authentic and personal and include your name.
- Do not take a negative review personally.
- Keep it short.
What should you include in your review responses?
- Use the client’s name.
- Say thank you.
- If a client mentions a service they have used at your firm, repeat that in your response.
- Mention other relevant complementary services you can help them with (only if appropriate).
- Include keywords in your responses.
- Reinforce your company values in your response if you can.
What additional points should you consider when responding to negative reviews?
- Keep your cool and respond kindly.
- Do not get defensive, and do not make it personal.
- Show empathy and understanding when responding to negative reviews.
- Apologise if necessary and offer to make it right.
- Keep the response brief and to the point.
- Take the conversation to a private channel like text or email.
- Turn a negative review into a testimonial. **
How do Google Reviews help your SEO?
Google Reviews help to boost local SEO (keywords). With no or few Google Reviews, clients are less likely to find your business in the first place.
Here are the review factors that influence SEO:
- Volume – Responding to reviews boosts the initial impact. According to HBR, businesses that respond consistently get 12% more reviews.
- Rating – Google Reviews are likely your first public quality indicator that potential clients will see.
- Keywords – Your Google Reviews will sometimes contain keywords. Responding gives you another chance to reinforce and ensure Google knows exactly what your business is about.
- Current/relevant – To Google, a strong indicator of a healthy and active business is when they consistently post new content. Responding to reviews will effectively double your Google Business Profile content activity.
What to consider when managing your Google Review responses
- Assign responsibility:
Ensure there is one person/team responsible for responding to reviews.
- Take ownership:
If you respond to a review, let your colleagues know that you are taking ownership, so you do not duplicate efforts.
- Respond if your name is mentioned:
If a member of your team is mentioned in the review, ideally, they should reply, or the reply should be posted on their behalf.
- Responding to negative reviews, genuine or not:
Make sure the reviewer is a genuine client, particularly if the review is unfavourable. Firms need to be vigilant about the possibility of fake profiles or even genuine profiles that contain reviews with potentially defamatory statements against their firm or staff, on any public platform. If a review is untrue, the firm can take necessary action and can flag the review to Google and request they take it down. (This process can take a while and Google may not agree with your request to remove the review).
- Consolidate your approach to negative reviews:
In the case of a genuine negative review, investigate the situation, formulate an appropriate response, get the response approved, post the response, and ask them to take the conversation to a private channel like text or email. Reach out to the client via email or call them to remedy the situation and agree on a way forward. When you are in a good place again with the client, speak to them to try to turn the negative review into a testimonial. **
As mentioned before, positive reviews are a great way to connect with your clients, improve your brand image, and encourage positive buying recommendations. It takes hard work to delight a client, so when you do, and they rave about you – share the positivity! If you do promote your client reviews on your website or on your social media channels, always make sure your client is happy to include their name and company name, otherwise, it might be best to promote it anonymously. Promoting your reviews without a name or company is not usually as impactful but offending your client by posting a review without their consent is not worth it.
Also remember to encourage your clients to leave reviews after positive interactions or in your marketing materials. The easiest way to get a Google review is to ask!
Can we help you?
If you need any help managing your online or Google Reviews, do get in touch with us by calling 01903 530787 or email Lara.
* (The same can be said for Google Reviews or any trusted review site that has a good domain authority).
** (After you have taken the negative review offline, and if you manage to resolve the issue satisfactorily, ask whether you can get public feedback on their experience).