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It’s a fact: businesses need to utilize Google reviews, and it’s because of Google’s massive influence on customers.
Survey data shows 63.6 of consumers check Google reviews (which is more than any other review site) before visiting a business.
On top of that, 21 percent of consumers believe Google reviews to be one of the most important factors when searching online for businesses.
To put it simply: Google reviews have a huge impact on consumer decisions.
Businesses need to use those reviews to their advantage in order to gain additional exposure, customers, and more importantly, revenue. In this post, we’ll cover everything you need to know about Google reviews including:
- Managing Google Reviews
- Where to Find Your Google Reviews
- Tracking Your Google Reviews
- The Best Practices for Google Reviews
- Responding to Reviews
- Generating Reviews
Managing Your Google Reviews
Getting Google reviews requires you to first claim a Google listing, which requires the following steps:
- Log in to the Google My Business (GMB) website (a Google business account is required).
- Use the search box to type in the business name or address. Choose your business from the search results. If it’s not listed, you can click on the “Add Your Business” option to create the listing.
- Verify your ownership or management of the listing. In most cases, Google will send new listing owners a pin by mail, which will need to be entered on the Google My Business app to complete the process. However, “select businesses” can get verified instantly, by phone, or via email.
How to Find Your Google Reviews
With a verified GMB account, you can finally take advantage of the reviews submitted by customers. On the GMB dashboard, click on the “Reviews” button on the left-hand side of the screen.
This section will show all of the reviews and ratings for your business, which can be sorted by date (with the most recent review first) as well as by the lowest or highest rating.
On the public-facing end of your listing, Google ratings and reviews will mainly show up in two places: Search and Maps.
How to Track Your Google Reviews
If your business is in its infancy, you’ll need reviews to be more visible on Google. Reviews will literally put you on the map. Specifically, you’ll need to have four to five reviews and ratings to have customer feedback show up on search results pages and you’ll be much more likely to show up on a Google Maps search. To stay visible, you’ll also need a steady stream of new reviews each month.
You can easily keep an eye on every review that comes in for your business. Google will automatically send an email alert to you for every review and rating submitted to your listing.
However, email review alerts aren’t available for everyone. A recent forum thread within the GMB community revealed that businesses with more than 100 locations can’t get email alerts. There doesn’t seem to be an official fix from Google for the issue, but any business can sign up for review alerts through a third-party online service to get instant notifications for every new review.
Best Practices for Google My Business Reviews
Each review added to a listing isn’t just there for decoration. As the listing manager, you’ll need to engage with reviews and customers alike in order to maintain a constant stream of feedback and a positive online reputation.
Responding to Google Reviews
Online review data from 2018 revealed that a staggering 63 percent of consumers said that a business never responded to their reviews.
With a well-planned review response strategy and some well-crafted templates, you show consumers that you are active online and greatly value their feedback regardless of its sentiment.
To respond to any of the Google reviews on your listing, you’ll need to log in to your GMB account and select the specific listing which contains the review in question. From there:
- Go to the “Reviews” tab of your GMB home page or the public-facing reviews section of your business’s listing.
- Each customer review will have a “Reply” button underneath the review text. Find the review in question and click the button.
- Type your response in the text field. Be aware that your response will be public and is subject to Google’s local content policy.
You can also make additional changes to your response after its submission by clicking the “View and edit” button underneath your response.
Similar to review notifications, Google will also notify customers when you respond to their reviews. That notification is sent five minutes after you submit your response, which should provide you with ample time to make any last-minute changes to the response before the customer is aware of it.
An overwhelming 94 percent of consumers say that a bad review convinced them to avoid a business. With a well-crafted response, however, you can still have a bad review and reduce the likelihood of customers converting to a rival business.
In fact, responding to a negative review makes it more likely for 45 percent of consumers to visit the business. By engaging with customers and resolving their issues, you show people that they’re more than just a customer; they are investors in the success of your business.
Generating More Google Reviews
Responding to current customer feedback in only one facet of your Google reviews. To continually increase your exposure to prospects, you’ll also need to find ways to generate more customer reviews.
Having more reviews makes your brand more trustworthy while also serving as valuable social proof to prospects who are about to make a purchase decision.
Don’t believe us? Consider this: Four out of five American consumers read reviews prior to their purchase decisions. Another survey revealed that 23 percent of consumers need up to four reviews from multiple sources before they make a purchase.
Thankfully, there are a plethora of viable methods for review generation.
Email requests for Google Reviews
If you prefer the digital route for review generation you can send emails, which are a popular method for review generation. In fact, as much as 70 percent of online reviews from post-visit review request emails.
SMS requests for Google Reviews
You can also try your hand at SMS messaging. With 56 percent of local search already conducted through mobile devices, you can easily reach your customers after they exit your doors.
SMS requests lend themselves to easy automation. Sync your CRM to a messaging service to text your customers after a transaction and ask for a Google review.
Links and Landing Pages to Ask for Google Reviews
If your message includes a link to a page where people can leave a review make sure that the review request landing page is not only easy to understand but easy to use for submitting reviews. You’re already asking people to take valuable time out of their day to give you feedback so don’t make the review submission process extremely complicated.
Getting More Google Reviews via your POS System
You can also encourage or get feedback during or immediately after the transaction. You can implement a review submission system through your point of sale system or an in-house tablet device, put up appealing posters or stickers with help from the Small Thanks with Google assets, or by simply asking customers to leave a review on your Google listing.
Be Transparent and Timely
When asking customers to leave a review, make sure that you’re transparent about why you’re asking for their feedback (feel free to use one of the many stats here). If you’re trying to get their email or phone number for post-visit review requests, make sure to tell them why you’re asking for their information, and when you plan to send the review request.
Speaking of timing, there actually is a “best time” to ask customers for a review. Based on ReviewTrackers data, we found that customers are most likely to leave ratings or feedback between the hours of 2 – 3 p.m. and 6 – 7 p.m.
Combined with an outstanding experience or service, these review generation efforts will yield notable opinions for you and your prospects.
Getting Help from Google
In some cases, such as when a review is viewed many times or gets enough likes, Google will send the reviewer a notification about the activity. Seeing all the attention garnered through a few reviews is enough to motivate anyone to submit more reviews for the businesses they visit in the future.
A Better Business with Google Reviews
Your Google reviews do more than affect your brand’s online reputation. They also can reveal valuable insights into your operation and show where you can improve customer service and experience.
By taking note of these valuable pieces of feedback you can continue to improve your business, which in turn brings more customers, better reviews, and ultimately, more revenue.