January 6, 2021

How to Respond to Google Reviews

an image of speech bubbles coming from a computer screen

Learning how to respond to Google reviews is a must for any brand with a Google My Business (GMB) account. According to customer reviews data, 76% of all reviews are now on Google and 63.6% of consumers will check Google reviews before they visit a business.

When consumers visit your listing, they’re not just looking at the online reviews from past customers; they’re also looking at the way businesses respond to reviews, which can set expectations for the customer experience even before people walk through the door.

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3 Easy Steps to Learn How to Respond to Google Reviews

You can easily break down the process of responding to Google reviews into three simple steps:

  1. Log into GMB and go to the “Reviews” section.
  2. Find the specific review that requires a reply
  3. Click on the “Reply” button below the review and write your response.

The “Reviews” section will be on the left-hand menu when you log in to GMB. In that tab, Google makes the review response process even easier by allowing you to filter reviews so that you only see the ones that received or have yet to receive a reply (by default, Google shows all reviews with the most recent feedback at the top of the page).

a screenshot of the reviews page on a google my business account

Please note that your reply will be displayed publicly on Google and must comply with Google’s local content policies. Once you’ve responded, you can edit your response to clean up typos or delete it entirely if you want to make a new response.

a screenshot of the view and edit button on a google review response

To help keep you informed of new reviews, Google will provide email notifications whenever new feedback appears on your GMB listing. The email notification includes useful review information like the reviewer name, star rating, a portion of the review text, and a link to the review on Google.

Most GMB users can get notifications whenever a new review appears on their listing. However, those notifications are automatically disabled for GMB accounts that have over 100 locations for a single business.

For these brands, there is reputation management software available that provides notifications for all new reviews and the ability to respond to reviews on Google from a single dashboard.

Best Practices How to Respond to Google Reviews

With all the reviews coming in it’s only inevitable that a negative review will pop up at some point. But don’t let it discourage you. It’s what you do with it that will determine if a business can attract more customers. Learning how to respond to negative reviews as well as positive feedback can be the difference between a loyal customer or a one-time visitor.

Say Thank You

A simple thanks can carry more power than you might realize. People spend time conducting research, looking at your online reviews, and researching the competition before they decided on buying something from you. Taking the time at the top of each review to give thanks sets the tone for the rest of your response.

an illustration of a man responding to multiple reviews on a laptop

Apologize

In negative reviews, it’s okay to apologize for their experience. If anything, it shows that you’re humble and willing to recognize issues in the operation. Of course, you don’t have to apologize in every review, but if the issues presented by the customer are correct and you’re in the wrong, own up to it and apologize.

Add Personalization

You should also personalize the response as much as possible. Include their name when you address them or mention the specific product or service they bought from you. These small details show that you’re taking the time to personally address the reviewer’s feedback, which only increases the perception that you’re willing to engage with consumers outside of the usual transaction.

Why Should You Know How to Respond to Google Reviews?

In short, responding to reviews, on Google or on any other review website, can help businesses protect their online reputation and even improve customer acquisition and retention. In other words: how you respond to what people are saying online will have a bigger impact on your reputation than what is being said in the first place.

Consider this customer reviews data: 44.6% of consumers are more likely to visit a local business if the owner responds to negative reviews. By taking the time to carefully and respectfully respond, you provide the social proof needed for consumers to convert to your brand.

Final Thoughts

Google reviews are more than just a customer’s thoughts on a product or service. They’re a barometer of the business’ performance.

Overwhelming positive reviews and ratings mean that the current workflow is optimal while negative reviews can reveal major pain points.

Responding to both review types shows that a business cares deeply about each person’s opinion of the customer experience. Treat each response with equal weight, and you can get better customer engagement and brand awareness.

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