Google reviews are one of the main things business owners should be focussing on today. And quite honestly, it’s not your overall star rating people are looking for either. Factors such as how many reviews you have, and when your most recent review was, play a significant role in whether or not a consumer will call your business.
In this guide, we’re going to go over everything a business owner should know about Google reviews to be successful. Then, we’re going to discuss the best practices for any business to get reviews from happy customers.
Google accounts for about 5.6 billion searches a day, and of all the searches on Google, just under half are searches for Local Businesses. Crazy right?
When a potential customer discovers your business online, it’s likely to be via Google. The dominance of the search engine is beyond doubt, and that’s one of the reasons you need to take Google Reviews seriously. People read those reviews and form an opinion of your business. That applies even if your business doesn’t have many or any reviews. A lack of reviews can be as damning as below average reviews.
It all comes down to trust and credibility. Many positive reviews build trust with consumers before they’ve ever used your services. As a small business owner, you have to take advantage of every opportunity you can to win customers’ trust. Lots of reviews will also help your business do better from an SEO standpoint as well.
The Google Local Pack is what most of us are used to when talking about reviews and finding local businesses. This pic should look familiar it for you:
The local pack is where most people are searching for the best company to choose based on their reviews. 88% of people read reviews before selecting a product or service. So if you have poor, or merely no reviews, you’re likely only getting new business from that leftover 12%.
Reviews are “consumer-generated content”. People prefer to hear the opinions of previous customers over what the company has to say about themselves to determine whether or not they are going to do business with them.
Online reviews are the most authentic representation of a business today and therefore are the backbone of the sales you generate online.
You want to be in this spot, but it’s not free like a Google My Business page. Getting in is free, but then you have to pay $25 per qualified call – which isn’t terrible in a world of lead generation but can add up.
You’ll also need a business background check and will have to submit some paperwork to ensure you are a real business.
Once you’re in, the only thing left to do is get consistent reviews. Geeting frequent reviews not only helps you in your Google Guaranteed rankings but also is the only real differentiator when it comes down to you and your competition. In here it is especially the case since there is nowhere to click through to your website from your Google Guaranteed page.
By now, you should have a good understanding of why you need Google reviews, then let’s get into how you can get more.
How you ask the customer to leave a review will go a long way, and sticking to a script will make it more natural for you.
When you’re asking for the review, let your customers know how much you’d appreciate it and how it would support your business.
Customers rapidly understand why you’re asking for the reviews considering most of them read them before doing business with you.
We have clients who say their customers often respond to their review request saying, “Of course that makes sense! I chose you specifically because of your reviews!”.
Timing is everything when asking for a review. You don’t want to jump the gun and ask before the customer is 100% satisfied with your work.
A good practice is to open up your review request by announcing that you’re finished and asking if there is anything else you can do. If the customer says no and thank you, ask for a review. If they’re still uncertain about something, address their problem before asking for a review.
When they’re out of concerns and completely satisfied is the best time to ask.
Here’s a script that almost any industry can use to get more Google reviews:
Employee: “All right, we’re all done here. Is there anything else I can do for you?”
Customer: “No, that is all, thank you so much.”
Employee: “Great! Hey, if you wouldn’t mind taking a minute to leave me a review on Google? I’d appreciate it. It’ll help the business out a lot, and if you mention my name, it will look great for me to my boss.”
The typical response to this from a happy customer is something on the lines of: “Absolutely! How and where should I do it?”
Getting a customer to say yes to leaving you a review is the easy part. Getting them to leave a review is the tricky part.
With 2 Step Reviews, we have an easy way that bridges the gap between customers and your review pages.
All an employee has to do is open their app, enter the customer’s name and cell phone number, and hit send.
A text goes to the customer, where they just click the link, click “Google,” and then type the review.
Each employee gets credit for the reviews they receive so that you, the employer, can congratulate them or reward them.
This process has helped several businesses get hundreds of 5-star reviews. One company even got 160 reviews in 1 month!
First, let’s quickly illustrate a poor example of a review request to avoid. It’s kind of hard to mess this up, because you already should know that most people are likely to want to leave you a review if you did a good job. If you don’t know that however, it may come out wrong.
Employee: “Hi Mrs. Turner, I’m all done. Can you please leave me a review online?”
Mrs. Turner: “Um, yeah ok. Everything is all set I don’t need to do anything?”
Employee: “Thank You! Yeah, I did everything, just call the company if you see any problems and need me to come back.”
For starters, this is a poor way to end any type of service. But let’s go over why this approach is bad in the case that the employee wants a review:
Now, this type of review-request is clearly poor, so let’s look into the components of the best ways to ask for a review.
Responding to reviews is also in any business owner’s best interest. It helps with customer retention, supports your business’s reputation against poor reviews, and sends good signs to Google, which influences your rankings.
On your Google My Business profile, you just have to click on the Reviews section, then click Respond.
With a 2 Step Reviews account, you can respond to all your Google reviews. In your aggregated review feed, you’ll see the green “Respond” button in the upper right-hand corner of the review.
Once you click “Respond” your review response will be posted to where the review was left. This solution makes it very easy to manage multiple Google My Business pages and Facebook business pages all from one app.
The worst thing you can do is write a quick reaction without giving it any thought. This usually leads to grammatical errors or spelling mistakes, which cost against your business. What’s more, you’re likely to respond more emotionally and say things you regret if you just fire off whatever is on your mind.
Instead, take the time to plan out your review and write it carefully. Ensure that it makes sense, all the spelling is accurate, and you haven’t made glaring grammatical mistakes. It’s worth getting someone else to proofread it as well, just to be safe. Now, you’ll publish a professional response that makes you look a lot better.
If possible, you should respond to any review within a few days. People will be impressed that you respond so quickly, which reflects well on your business. If you leave it too long, your response won’t have much of an impact as the reviewer has probably forgotten all about it.
2 Step Reviews automates the response when a review is 4 or 5 stars. Ensuring your customer gets a well-deserved response within minutes.
You need to be polite when addressing any reviews. It doesn’t matter how rude the person has been. It looks terrible when you see a business respond to rudeness with more rudeness. It’s unprofessional, and this alone could put off a lot of current and potential customers.
When you’re polite, it counts in your favor – especially when people are rude to you. It shows you have integrity, and people will respect that.
Some reviews will contain a lot of information and feedback for businesses to use. If you come across one that explains any problems someone had or includes questions, make sure your response addresses the content in the review. This does two things; it shows you’ve read the review and paid attention to it, and it shows you’re keen to help out and solve any issues.
If someone leaves a review and asks a question, you just respond, “Thanks for the review.” It just looks like a generic response. There’s no indication you’ve read it, and it’s like you’ve responded only for the sake of responding!
A common mistake is only responding to one type of review. Some businesses ignore negative reviews and focus on the positives, while others do the opposite. Don’t do this; make sure you respond to both positive and negative reviews!
Positive reviews deserve a response as it shows your customers you’re so thankful for their feedback. Since negative reviews are known to scare people away from your business, your response can be the saving factor. By owning up to your faults and trying to make it right, it’s a good sign to potential customers that you value your customers and do what it takes to assure their satisfaction.
Responding to all your reviews should be part of your daily routine. Customers did their part and left a positive review. Now it is your turn to show appreciation and gratitude.
In just 30 seconds of your time, you can send positivity back to your customer, making sure they do business with you next time they’re in need.
It’s not good enough to just reply to a bad review with a short response. There are specific things you need to do for your reply to have the impact you’re hoping.
To help you out, here’s what you should do:
1. Start with an apology
All of your responses to bad reviews should start with some form of an apology.
Sympathize with your customer, telling them you’re sorry that they feel this way or you’re sorry they had a bad experience. Regardless of whether you think their review was fair, you have to begin with an apology.
Instantly, you take ownership of the issue, which makes you look like a far more professional and respectful business.
Imagine if you began your reply by saying, “Well, we’re not sorry because it’s your fault you didn’t like our business” – it would look terrible, your reputation could be affected!
2. Respond to negative reviews quickly
People will only really leave a negative review when something upset or annoyed them so much that they had to voice their concerns. The best thing you can do is reply as quickly as possible.
Ideally, within a few hours is the best course of action. However, it’s ok to leave it for a day or two. Any longer than this, and you’re letting the review fester and tarnish your reputation.
If you respond quickly, potential customers will see you’re on top of your game to keep customers satisfied. It will also speed up coming to a solution with an unhappy customer.
2 Step Reviews Helps You Respond To Negative Reviews Fast
The main thing to take away from this is that you need to respond to your bad reviews. Don’t leave them to linger and damage your business, write timely and polite responses that offer solutions, and address the problem.
It can also be beneficial to reach out to the customer away from the review platform afterward. This improves your reputation as you’re going the extra mile once more.
With 2 Step Reviews, you’ll get instant alerts when you get bad reviews and an easy solution to bury them under several positives.
3. Offer an explanation & solution.
If you follow the first two tips, then it’s easy to assume you can respond with something like this: “We’re sorry you feel this way, and thanks for the feedback.”
However, this does nothing for the customer as you’ve not made any effort to address their problems. The correct approach is explaining whatever their issue might be.
Explain that things aren’t usually like that, and give a potential reason for their disgruntlement. This is an explanation to other people reading the reviews as well as the customer themselves. As mentioned earlier, it’s almost a way of limiting the damage by showing that it’s an isolated incident.
Along with this, you should offer a solution to make things better.
Ask them to get in touch, and you’ll provide a free refund, or suggest a discount if they choose to return and give you a second chance. Even if they blank you, it shows potential customers/clients that you go the extra mile and value all of your customers.
This can help generate leads as people will give you a chance because they know you’ll look after them if things turn out bad.
4. Make each reply genuine & polite.
Never set up automated responses to negative reviews. It’s not genuine, and you’ll end up damaging your reputation even more.
To add to this, ensure that all of your responses are polite as well. If you get angry with a customer, you will just spread the negativity and lose so many existing customers and potential leads!
This car dealership handled this review very professionally.
First, they thanked them for the feedback. Even though a negative review can hurt your reputation, any business owner should want to be aware when customers are dissatisfied with their service.
Second, they politely apologized for the poor experience the reviewer had, even though they could not locate them in their database.
Third, they established their authority as the person to make things right with the customer. The general sales manager gave them both email and phone number to reach her at so that they can personally address the problems they had. This gives potential customers safety in that if they have a bad experience, they can come to you in hopes that you’ll find a compromisable solution.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a secret button to delete a negative review on Google. It takes some effort to get it removed, but in reality, if it’s a fair review from a real customer, it can be there for life.
On the bright side, you can always make the best of a negative review, but first, you’ll want to give these steps a try in hopes to delete the review from Google for good.
Try to locate the reviewer in your customer database. If you find them, give them a call to address the issue. If you’re able to calm them down and reason with them, you can kindly ask if they’ll change their review (they may even do this on their own.)
If you can’t locate the customer in your database or the customer doesn’t come to reason after the phone call, it’s time to reply to the review. Your response should be polite because it’s something many future searchers will read when deciding whether or not they should do business with you. First, apologize for their unsatisfactory experience, address the problem, and show how you try to make it right with every customer so that your future customer knows they’ll be in good hands in case of the worst.
If you feel the review is not fair, malicious, or possibly for the wrong company, you can report it from Google. This is the only way that the review can be taken down. After reviewing the reported review, Google will conclude whether the review stands or is not deserved and therefore taken down.
If the review is not taken down, having a negative review with a professional response is not entirely bad. People want to read bad reviews more than good reviews to see the worst it can be. If you respond in a way that shows politeness and professionalism, this negative review can lead to even more conversions, especially when it’s one negative review in the sea of 250 5-Star Reviews.
When you get a negative review, your first instinct should be to research if it’s legit and then make things right with the customer. Then, you should be thinking about getting as many positive reviews as possible to outweigh the negative.
Often, people wonder how many positive reviews can equal a negative review? That depends on the severity of the negative review. The truth of the matter is, there is no limit. If you have one negative review that’s three paragraphs long, you’ll want to match that with as many positive reviews as you possibly can. You don’t just stop when you hit say, 20.
The real way to get more Google reviews is to get a system going and ask every happy customer you see for a review.
Not so simple? Ok, hear me out:
You’ll want to make the process for customers to leave a review as simple as possible. We like to do it by texting them a link to our review sites so they can get to it in a couple of clicks.
Then, you’ll want to have all your employees on the same page. When they finish servicing a customer and know that they are happy (or at least, not upset) with your service, open the invitation for them to leave you a review, and let them know how much it will mean for you they do.
A go-to for our employees is, “Hey [name], glad I could help you today. It would mean a lot to me if you could leave me a review. I can text you the link right now if you have a cell phone to send it too.”
If you’re a happy customer, how can you say no to that? If you’re only open five days a week and see 20 customers a day, if you can close just 2 of those customers into a positive review, you’re looking at 520 positive reviews by this time next year.