Google My Business reviews are integral to boosting your business’ reliability.
In fact, more people are relying on online customer-generated reviews when making a purchase decision, very similar to asking for a personal recommendation. And prospective customers want to do business with a brand that takes care of and listens to their clientele.
With Google being the fastest-growing review platform in the last couple of years, brands with a GMB listing are going to benefit from this. Just take a look at these stats and see just how important online reviews are.
- The average GMB listing has 73 reviews and a star rating of 4.08
- 82% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses
- 84% of people trust reviews just like they would trust personal recommendations
- People read around 10 online reviews before trusting a local business
- It takes less than 15 minutes of review-reading before a consumer decides to make a purchase
But you’ll need more than a few star ratings and positive reviews to really improve your local SEO, maintain trust and loyalty from your customers and outshine your nearby competitors.
Yes, you’ll need to acquire quality reviews in order to win big in search results. That’s why we encourage our customers to utilise Google My Business reviews for them to be able to rank higher and better than their competition. It’s also beneficial for their own customers to see that they’re the first choice within their location for their product or service.
If you want to optimise your reviews section and turn it into a lean, mean marketing machine, follow these tips to get the best out of customer feedback.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask For Reviews
Just like growing your business, you’ll need to put in some effort before you get a good amount of customer reviews.
And one way to get the reviews you want is by simply asking for one.
Did you know that asking for reviews yields more – and higher – ratings than those who wait for them? Yes! Around 68% of customers leave reviews on a business’ Google My Business listing when owners ask them to do so. You can post a link on your social media profiles or create a ‘Leave a Review’ button on your website that links to your Google My Business reviews.
Don’t worry about getting negative reviews even when you politely ask your customers. Use this feedback to improve your business. On the other hand, positive reviews help you better understand what you’re doing right. So ask away!
A Note on ‘Review Gating’
All business want to avoid flak and negative reviews expressed publicly but, as we mentioned earlier, this is one way to improve your business. Google actually prohibits the act of ‘review gating’ – telling your customers to leave positive reviews on your listing while privately messaging negative feedback to you. While we understand why you want to do this, you can still encourage your customers to write either positive or negative reviews because your public response to them is as important. Which leads us to our next point…
Respond to Reviews, Good and Bad
In order to remain a trustworthy brand, you need to let customers know you’re listening.
Responding to reviews is an important activity but business owners and even seasoned online marketing professionals tend to forget about. If you fail to respond to reviews, especially negative ones, in a timely manner, you will have to deal with an irate customer and, later on, loss of profit. If you favour responding only to positive reviews, readers might think that you don’t take constructive criticism well and would rather do business with a nearby competitor.
So it’s best to hit that reply button and write up a short ‘thank you’ note or an apology with a list of actions you will do to improve your product or service. When you write your reply, think of the things they want to hear:
- Their name
- Thank them for sending in their review – don’t forget to mention your brand name, service and location
- Highlight their favourite or heavily criticised things about your business
- Immediate value – send in your most feasible orders, depending on the complaint
- Thanks and/or apologies again, just to lock everything together
Your positive review template will look a little like this:
Thanks for taking some time to write about ACME Homes, the leading bed and breakfast in Sydney. We’re glad to hear that you enjoyed our 5-star service and meals, as well as our full city tour package during your stay in Australia. We’re also excited that you want to make a return trip here soon – we noticed how relaxed you look throughout your stay. Just send us a quick email and we’ll throw in a complimentary bottle of wine on your return and 10% off dinners throughout your next stay. Thanks again for your kind words. Safe travels back home and we look forward to seeing you again!”
… And your negative review template might look like this:
Thanks for sending in your review about ACME Homes. On behalf of the staff of our bed and breakfast in Sydney, I do apologise that our service was not up to par to your standards. Do note that we have taken your feedback into account, especially our dining facilities and reservation system, and we are changing some of our policies to meet your expectations. If you have other ideas you’d like to share, please go over to our website and send us a message. We’re always after providing the best accommodation for our guests. If you choose to book a stay with us in the future, please don’t hesitate to give your name and we will offer a free first night on your next stay – please email us separately with your invoice and passport for identity verification, and we’ll take it from there. We’ll wait for your response in seven days. Again, thank you for your honesty and my sincerest apologies.
Alex Gregory B&B Manager ACME Homes”
Humanising the Google My Business Reviews section and showing appreciation for your customers or clients, with the proper keyword planning, helps improve your likelihood to be seen on searches more and improves trust in your local business.
Google My Business Reviews Made Easier
Google is always enhancing the user experience when using Google My Business.
Recently, they’ve made it even easier for customers to write better reviews for local businesses. Customers can also include what they like about your business if they’ve indeed used your service or bought your products and what services you’ve performed for them. They can proceed to write something longer and more detailed.
This way, it will be easier for you to spot what service you can improve on or to highlight as your best-selling product. But this update doesn’t take away its most essential raison d’etre for Google My Business reviews: provide other customers with enough details to make a purchase decision and to give you actionable insights to improve your products or services and your business as well.
Take the reviews you get seriously and see your business reach new heights. If you have several locations and many customers sending in reviews every day, monitor and respond to reviews all in one place using the DigitalMaas Platform. Track your average star ratings in the last 7 to 28 days, easily search for that review which you haven’t replied to yet and sort all your reviews based on creation time, reviewer name and rating.
Sign up today and make the most out of your Google My Business reviews.