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James Carr

In the world of local search, your Google My Business profile is one of the first things that searchers see. This means that it is likely to be central to your online reputation and influence your customer experience.

Key among the features of Google’s business listings is customer reviews. Recent research from My Testimonial Engine states that “82% of customers won’t take action before they read some reviews”. In addition, data gathered by Review Trackers shows that “63.6% of consumers visit Google to check for reviews of a business”.

Combine those two stats and you start to get a picture of how important reviews on Google are. However, there is another side to this story that few business owners fully take into account.

“30% of customers feel positive about a business which responds to online reviews”

How to respond to positive Google reviews

positive review

Receiving positive reviews is a strong sign that your product or service is being well received by customers. However, to further build on the positive feeling for your brand, you need to respond to reviews. To reply, just follow the series of steps below:

  1. Sign in to your Google My Business account (business.google.com).
  2. Click the burger menu (three horizontal lines) at the top left of the screen and choose your listing.
  3. Click “Manage Reviews” in the menu.
  4. Open the reply text box by clicking the reply button.
  5. Type the text that you would like to respond with.

Even though the process for positive review responses is simple, there are a few tricks to responding to a business review. We recommend using the tips below to base your response around:

  1. Address the reviewer by name – This shows that you see them as an individual and not a faceless customer.
  2. Thank them for their review – It takes effort for someone to write a positive review, so thank them for it. Try to include thanks that are based on their review.
  3. Give something back – Show your customers that you really appreciate positive reviews by offering them something extra. Perhaps you have some bonus information about their product, a valuable add on, or maybe you can give them access to further customer service?

Responding to positive reviews helps to show that you care about all of your customers. It also helps to show that you aren’t just trying to prevent damage to your brand’s reputation. However, remember to make each response bespoke. Sending a “one size fits all” reply can make your responses seem robotic and ungenuine.

This approach can help to turn happy customers into brand ambassadors. These people may be happy to spread the word about your service to their friends and families. If you need help replying to reviews, see the example below.

Example for positive Google review responses

“Hi [insert name here].

Thank you for taking the time to leave us positive feedback. We really appreciate your thoughts on [insert information about product or service here] and we’re really pleased that you [insert summary of their review].

As a thank you for your review, we would like to give you [insert valuable item here]. Please could you email me at [insert email address here] so that I can sort this out with you?

All the best, [insert your name and job title here].”

How to respond to negative reviews

negative review

While the process for responding to bad reviews is the same as good reviews (i.e. log into your Google My Business account, etc). There is real value in learning how to respond to Google reviews of a less positive nature.

We’ve put together the following negative review response guide to help you understand why and how you should respond in a certain way:

  1. Assess the situation – It is important to take a bit of time after reading the review before you respond. Someone has been negative about your business and you’re probably worried about the detrimental effect that their review may have. However, that doesn’t mean you should immediately respond and try to prove them wrong or belittle them. Take some time to think about your response so that you don’t further anger an already disappointed customer.
  2. Respond publicly – Don’t try to hide your response from other customers by trying to privately contact the customer. Responding publicly shows people, especially the reviewer, that you care about customer opinions and are attentive to their needs.
  3. Address any positives – If a negative review contains a positive point (i.e. “I received really great service until…”), make sure that you specifically thank the reviewer for this part. This will help to show that you value their response and recognise that they have previously been a happy customer.
  4. Say sorry – Most negative reviews are likely to be from people who are disappointed or frustrated. An apology that their experience wasn’t as they expected can calm the situation and allow a constructive discussion to take place. It can also show that you value all of your customers and are willing to improve based on feedback.
  5. Offer a solution – It’s easy to respond to bad reviews and say sorry, but even this can come across as ungenuine unless you offer a solution to the problem. Showing that you’re willing to help find a solution shows that you care and could make them change their review.

If you’re not sure how to start responding to negative reviews, see our example below.

Example for negative Google review responses

“Hi [insert name here].

Thank you for taking the time to leave us feedback. I’m sorry to hear that you had a bad experience with [insert information about product or service here].

We’re committed to trying to improve our service based on customer feedback, so if you could please email me at [insert email address here] I will be more than happy to personally work with you to find a solution to this issue.

All the best, [insert your name and job title here].”

Summary

Google reviews are vital for customer trust, great for local SEO and can affect how much traffic reaches your site. They’re also a fantastic way to gather customer feedback and show that you’re committed to improving your service. We therefore recommend that all businesses take the time to respond to reviews, whether positive or negative.

If you would like help optimising your Google My Business profile, call us today on 0845 322 2312. Our local SEO team will be happy to help you with any enquiries that you may have, including:

  • Maximising how often your profile is seen during online searches.
  • Leveraging customer reviews.
  • How to use questions and answers to your benefit.

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