What sells you on a business? If you are looking for a new restaurant to check out, is it word of mouth, advertising, or social media? When it comes to testing out a service, we are more likely to trust the word of strangers than we are close friends when it comes to online reviews. How often do you check out Google reviews before making a purchase or booking an appointment? In this blog, we are going to take a look at what value a Google review can have for your online reputation, how to spot a fake, and best practices for responding to Google reviews.
Why are client testimonials good for business?
A testimonial encompasses a customer’s overall experience with a product, service or interaction with your company. One of the most commonly viewed testimonials online is Google Reviews. But what makes them powerful on their own?
Google reviews and testimonials provide you with a snapshot of what to expect from start to finish. Turning to Google for answers can feel similar to questioning an 8-ball, but it can help you answer some common concerns such as:
- What is their customer service like?
- What is the lifespan of the product?
- What does a service include?
Taking time to write a Google review can not only encourage future business but also save you time with higher-quality leads. Other benefits of Google reviews include:
- Managing your online reputation: When it comes to managing your business, knowing what people are saying online can help you address problems early, while also showing that you care about your customer’s needs and experience. It is better to see it for yourself rather than hear about a bad review secondhand.
- SEO: If you want to continue to add value to your website, google reviews and commonly asked questions about your business online can be a great starting point for choosing blog topics and developing an FAQ page.
- Boost staff morale: Does your team need a pick-me-up? Not every Google Review is negative, and they can help with recruiting down the line as people look into your values and what the company is known for. When in doubt, be sure to share positive feedback with your team!
- Consistent trust signals: A Google Review can serve as social proof for the promises you make to your customers for quality products and services. Because Google Reviews are not paid sponsorship, people are more likely to trust the truthfulness of the content. Reviews can then be pulled for use on your home page or in your sales deck.
The biggest myth surrounding Google Reviews is that they have to come about naturally. While honest reviews are what you strive for, it’s okay to ask for client feedback and testimonials online. Not sure where to start? Check out our Google Review checklist!
- Casual conversations: Read the room and your customer’s experience with your business. If it comes up naturally, don’t be afraid to ask for a testimonial.
- Monthly Newsletters: Sometimes a reminder isn’t a bad thing! Your monthly or quarterly e-newsletter can include a call-to-action to leave a review on Google.
- Point them in the right direction: If your customer has shared positive feedback in person, encourage them to talk about it online or in their community. Google reviews are not limited to just written forms, they can also include videos.
Spot the Difference: How to tell if a Google Review is Fake
While it is best practice to give everyone the benefit of the doubt, getting duped by fake reviews can happen to everyone. The reasoning behind creating a fake Google review can vary from taking out personal frustrations on a business to creating backlinks or increasing one’s exposure. When it comes to spotting a fake, Google reviews can come in the form of paid slander against your brand or trying to mislead online users into choosing another business over another. Don’t fall victim to fake reviews, it’s time to put on your detective hat and look for warning signs.
- Look for details: If a negative review contains no information about the product or service and is a bit too detailed about things that have nothing to do with the complaint, it may not be real.
- Check out the profile: Where else has the reviewer struck on Google Reviews? Is there a consistent theme of negativity? When in doubt, take a look at the avatar and the name to identify their online presence
- Word choice: Fake reviews are more likely to use “I” and “me” and avoid more complex vocabulary.
- Rating but no comments: If a Google Review has only a star rating and no comment for context, flag it to Google.
Can you report a bad Google review?
The benefit of registering your business through Google My Business is that Google will have your back in times of need. You can report bad Google reviews, as long as they have a cause. However, reporting a review just because you don’t like the poor rating is not a legitimate reason.
That being said, we encourage you to report Google reviews that contain inappropriate comments or fit the fake review criteria we outlined above. Once a comment has been flagged to Google, you will receive a follow-up survey to provide more information.
Tips for Responding to Google Reviews: Do’s and Don’ts
Following a strategy for responding to Google reviews can help to provide you and your team with the tools to respond accordingly. Your response to negative reviews may mean the difference between keeping a customer or losing potential business. When it comes to responding to negative reviews, we have a few recommended best practices to keep in mind.
How to Respond to Positive Google Reviews
- DO thank them for their positive feedback and for continuing to trust your business
- DO make it personal and include some of the key takeaways from the review in your response
- DO encourage them to consider your business in the future
- DON’T be lengthy, keep it brief and professional
How to Respond to Negative Google Reviews
- DO acknowledge their feedback, apologize if necessary and try offering a solution or invitation to discuss the issue further. This demonstrates a commitment to customer service and can help mitigate any potential damage to your business’ reputation.
- DON’T engage in a public back-and-forth argument with a dissatisfied customer online
- DO take the conversation offline either by a follow-up phone call or email to resolve the issue
- DON’T play the victim in the situation as it can appear unprofessional to your customers and create the impression that you are unwilling to acknowledge problems
- DO consider how the review can be used as an opportunity to learn and grow in an area of weakness
- DO consider the credibility of the review and look at your files for additional information and context