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Responding to Google Reviews

January 8, 2020

Responding to Google Reviews (or any reviews, really)

I was in one of my Facebook women entrepreneur groups one day, when I saw this post from a gal venting about a negative Google review she received. She was so angry and felt like the review was unfair, and then continued to explain that she doesn’t respond to any reviews, so she knew she wouldn’t respond to this one.

Two redflags went up for me! First, I was taken aback that she thought she didn’t need to respond to her negative review. Second, I was even MORE taken aback when she said she didn’t respond to any of her Google reviews! I immediately commented on her ranting post (calmly and nicely) that it’s really important to respond to ALL of her Google reviews, definitely not only the bad ones, and definitely not only the good ones. She responded back saying that in her market (a coffee shop), she doesn’t need to respond to them because she takes care of her customers in person.

Ok, I can see her point. However, this made me start thinking about the entire situation from a potential customer’s point of view instead of a business owner’s point of view. Put yourself in the perspective of someone who’s not local, searching on Google for the closest, best, local coffee shop. They come across this specific shop, and look at the reviews just to see what pictures are there, what people have said, etc. You come across all these great reviews, which is what you hope to find. So perfect. Then you see the negative one, and think to yourself, well, not everyone is going to like everyone or everything so that makes sense. But you look at the fact that no one responded to that review, or any of the others, and you start thinking to yourself that this business doesn’t put forth the effort to appreciate the people who are taking their precious time to leave a positive review of this coffee shop. So you look at the next coffee shop that’s close, with good reviews, and notice that someone at their shop does respond to all reviews, and responds to them all with appreciation and class. You decide to go there instead.

Is it the end of the world if only one person thinks through all this and so decides to go to another coffee shop? Nah, not really. But what I’ve come to realize lately in my readings on marketing, and generally just my overview of society these days, is that we’re actually quite social beings, who enjoy seeing the good in people. We absolutely need to see the good in people in person, but it’s also so important to see it happen in the internet space. Sometimes that’s the first place it happens before it can even happen in person.

So here are my biggest takeaways from this:

  • Respond to all reviews left for you, whether it’s on Google, Yelp, TripAdvisor, Angie’s List, whatever review platform your business is on.
  • Create relationships with your previous customers so you can promote the relationship of a future customer.
  • Don’t be complaining and ranting about someone’s negative review of you in a Facebook group, or any other visible platform. It puts a bad taste in people’s mouths.
  • Don’t take bad reviews personally! They’re going to happen because #realitycheck not everyone is going to like you or your business. (And honestly, I need to hear this for myself because sometimes it’s difficult for me to take criticism.)

Why responding to Google reviews really matters:

  1. It’s actually beneficial to your local SEO to respond to reviews. Google sees it as a good thing, and when you use the keywords you’re trying to rank for in your response to the review, Google sees that too. So if for no other reason, do it for your SEO.
  2. It’s going to show off your business’s character too. When you thank people for leaving a good review, you’re proving that you’re a business who cares about the time and effort people took to leave you a comment.
  3. It confirms that you’re an open, active and available business. When you respond to reviews, it makes you look active in your business so people know you’re up to date and current in all that you’re doing.
  4. You can clear up any issues. This is so so important!! When your business receives a negative review (or at least not a great or excellent review), you can respond in a way that shows you take pride in your business and want to do the best thing possible for your customers.

Which takes me to my next section…how to follow-up with negative or not-so-good reviews.

It’s not always going to be easy, and it is going to feel personal at first.

  • I recommend starting by taking a few hours, maybe even a day before you try to form a response. The last thing you want to do is feel fired up when you’re responding to a negative review. Especially if what the reviewee said is completely and utterly wrong (this may very well happen too).
  • Next, sit down and write out what you want to say on a piece of paper or in a Word or Google doc. Literally write down anything and everything you wish you could say. This will help you vent in a very private space that no one else can read. It’ll let you blow off some steam first.
  • Now delete it. You don’t need it. It’s not going to do you any good sending any of that response out, BUT writing it out first will likely help you feel a bit better, and will help you work on what you should actually say in your response.
    In a new doc, craft a response like this: “We are so sorry to hear about your negative experience with us. We strive to provide the best experience possible, and are disheartened that you did not feel that way. Please feel free to return to our store or give us a call so we can chat with you in person about how we can remedy this situation.”
  • Leave it at that. Don’t give them a specific solution in the review (like 10% off their next visit or anything like that) as you don’t want to set a precedent. But, you do want people reading your reviews to realize that you’re willing to work with them to fix the unfortunate situation.
  • As soon as your response is polished up (and maybe read by a few other people to ensure that you do not sound defensive in any way), officially leave your reply on the review and walk away.
  • Ultimately, you’ll feel better about the way you handled the situation, and proud of yourself for responding in such a professional and non-defensive manner.

Respond to the positive reviews too!

To end this post on a happy note, when you get great reviews, I recommend continuing the relationship you already built with this customer by thanking them warmly for their review, mentioning why you’re grateful to them for leaving such a nice comment about your business. Make it personal, because it is. To both you and your customer.

I hope this is helpful to you! I’d love to hear any review stories you have to share! Put them in the comments below. As always, if you’re looking for any assistance on your website build or rebuild, we would love to be a part of your journey. Contact us today! 🙂

About Megan Collier

Hey there! I'm Megan, one of the owners of JnM Web Creations! I love to share information with you about how to find your business's voice, how to find your ideal clients, how to talk to your ideal clients, and then how to get them to your business! I also dabble a bit in some basic SEO knowledge. I really dislike cleaning, but I really enjoy writing, reading, hanging out with Josh, creating with Josh, and spending as much time with our precious babies as I can! Follow us on social media, and you're bound to see the kiddos pop up from time to time. :)

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