It must be said, however, the ability for the general public to leave a review of your business can sometimes be a double-edged sword. 93% of consumers say that reviews affect their purchasing decisions, so how can you ensure your reviews are working for you – even if you get a bad one?
Why should you really care about reviews?
For starters, it’s important that you reply to every review that comes through, especially on Google. This shows Google that you’re active on the listing and engaging with your customers, which is a ranking signal for local SEO that may push your listing above some others that have been sitting untouched for years. It also helps you meet your customers expectations.
In the digital age, there’s really no excuse for letting a review go unanswered – particularly bad ones. How many times have you heard of someone tweeting their problem at a company and it being resolved pretty quickly? It’s not only because they don’t want the bad publicity, but in these times when all eyes are on your every move, you can’t afford to not act and respond.
It’s easier than ever for customers to leave a review about your business, and Google especially is consistently adding new features to improve this process. For example, the latest updates include a series of attributes that customers can choose from when leaving their review. These are available when leaving a one or two, or four or five star review, however are only shown if you have a service-based business.
There are several sets of attributes, and the ones displayed to the customer will depend on the primary category of your listing. The idea of these attributes is to create less reviews with a rating only. They increase the data Google has to differentiate businesses and will likely be used to help Google decide which business is most relevant to the searcher and have some impact on the local rankings.
Google has also introduced a new feature that pulls what it thinks are keywords relevant to the customer experience from the content of the reviews and displays them at the top of all reviews. This allows customers to potentially navigate straight to reviews about the particular service they’re interested in.
In this example for our Google Reviews, you can see the keywords include things like ‘results’ and ‘strategy’. If a potential customer was looking at our listing before reaching out, they would be very interested to read the reviews that include ‘results’ to be able to see what other customers think of our services without scrolling through all the reviews.
Receiving (and replying to) Positive reviews
A positive review is what every business owner is looking for. Those 5-stars that show potential customers that your business is trustworthy, quality, and worth their money. You may think that these speak for themselves, but writing a reply is equally as key in both the eyes of Google and the eyes of your potential customers.
Replies to good reviews should be upbeat and positive, and ideally include the keywords for your business, and a location as long as it doesn’t sound out of place. That is, if someone leaves you a review talking about how happy they are with the service you offered and they’ll recommend you to anyone, then your reply should specify what service they received. For example, your reply might be something along the lines of:
“Thanks for your review, we’re really happy you’re satisfied with your air conditioner repair here on the Gold Coast, and now you can enjoy your cool air all summer!”
Receiving positive reviews, luckily, doesn’t need a lot of management on your end. A genuine thankyou that includes those keywords and you’re good to go.
Try these templates:
Dear [Reviewer Name],
Thanks very much for your review of [business name]. I’m glad you felt [positive detail from their review] was well done. We’ve worked hard on offering great service, and we’re pleased our efforts resonated with you.
We’ve taken your thoughts to heart and will review if any of our internal processes can be updated based on your feedback, for even better interactions in the future.
I appreciate your kind words and look forward to working with you again in the future.
Dear [Reviewer Name],
Bad experiences with [industry type] like yours are far too common. I’m so glad we were able to help you feel comfortable, and that we were able to help you resolve your problem quickly and easily.
Thanks for placing your trust in us and your willingness to share.
Receiving (and replying to) Negative Reviews
When you receive a bad review, the most important thing is to respond to it, and in a way that paints your business in the best way possible. Customers are more likely to understand and forgive a bad review that the owner has responded to and personally taken accountability to resolve the concern.
The reply should:
- Thank the customer for their feedback
- Sincerely apologise for any mistake or acknowledge their concern
- Make a clear attempt to put things right
- Encourage the client to contact you directly and add your name.
It’s important to remove all emotion from the reply to make sure it doesn’t come across as defense, condescending or accusatory. Negative reviews can be a powerful tool to show potential clients when things don’t go right, you’re there to help, and if you can resolve your clients complaint quickly, they could become one of your businesses biggest advocates.
An example reply to a bad review might read something like this:
“We sincerely apologise about the bad experience you had when our technician was unable to complete your repair today. We pride ourselves on respecting the time of our clients and make a point for each of our technicians to be on time. We’ll be investigating to see what caused our technician to miss your appointment, and implementing further training and procedures to ensure this doesn’t happen again. Please feel free to reach out to us directly at email@example.com so that we can work with you directly to reschedule your appointment and get your air conditioner fixed.”
In this response, the owner apologises for the event that sparked the bad review, and then went on to provide examples of how they would prevent this situation from happening again, before providing a direct line of contact for the customer to resolve the issue. This type of reply is a great example of showing potential customers that even if something does do wrong, you’re willing to admit it and take the steps necessary to resolve the issue.
Try one of these templates:
Hi [Reviewers Name],
[Name] here, I’m the [title] at [business name].
I’m so sorry we let you down.
We’ve taken your feedback, and the feedback of other reviewers, on board. As such. we’re in the process of making some major changes so that this doesn’t happen again.
[Specific yet concise list of changes]
We would also like to rectify this situation with you specifically. Is there anything we can do to make this up to you?
I’ve included my best contact number, so please feel free to reach out to me directly so that I can solve this problem for you.
[Manager name | contact number]
[Reviewers Name], I’m sorry.
You expected [result], and you should have received that but that’s not what we delivered. If I were in your situation, I’d be pretty upset too.
Simply, we missed the mark on this.
We should have caught this earlier, but unfortunately, we didn’t. These mistakes have been hard (and expensive) lessons to learn. As a result of your feedback, we’re going to [concise list of changes].
We’d also like to make this right with you personally. Please reach me directly at: [best contact] to discuss how we can correct this mistake.
[Manager name | contact number]
How to ask for reviews
Asking for reviews may feel like a bit of an imposition on your customers, but most will be happy to do it. The key is volume – the more requests you send out, the more likely you are to get those reviews. Another key to getting reviews is personalising your request. This encourages a better response rate as it shows that you’ve put some effort in, rather than sending out a mass email. For personalised requests, it might help to provide some prompts for your client to think about. This can include questions such as: ‘What service did we provide?’, ‘Were any of our staff particularly helpful?’, or ‘What did we do well?’.
There are a few ways you can then send your Google Business Profile (formerly Google Business Listing) review request to your customers. The first way is always to ask in person, or over the phone, and follow up later with an email. Additionally, you can generate a short link for the listing and include it in your email signature or any invoicing and receipt communications you have with your clients. The option to review should also be prominently displayed on your website. The key is to make it as easy for clients to leave a review as possible.
Here’s a sample email template you can use:
Hi [client name],
It has been our pleasure to assist you with [product or service], and now I’m hoping you can spare a minute or two to write a brief review for [business name].
Reviews are key to helping us maintain our Google rankings, and provide potential clients with insights into what they can expect from our team. To make it easy for you, all you need to do is click directly on this link [hyperlink your short URL] and make sure you’re signed into your Google account. Then, it’s as simple as:
- Input your rating – we aim for 5 stars
- Input a couple of sentences regarding your experience with our team such as:
- What did we do well?
- What service did we provide?
- Did any of our staff perform particularly well?
We would also like the option to include your review as a testimonial on our website. Please reply to let me know only if you do not want your review included. If you have any questions or additional feedback you would like to discuss, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
Thanking you in advance,
[Owner/manager’s name | Contact number]
The exception to this is if you’re in an industry that prevents you from soliciting reviews, such as many medical industries. This is because the regulations around reviews in these industries are very strict – reviews for medical services cannot talk about the service itself, or the outcome. As services and outcomes vary so much from person to person, it would be irresponsible to promote a certain result that not everyone can achieve. Businesses in these fields can however sometimes display reviews talking about the atmosphere of the practice or the attitude of the staff.
The number one thing to remember when asking for a Google review is that customers must have, and be logged into, a Google account. If they’re not, Google will ask them to either login or create an account before they can leave the review.
Reviews can be a great asset to your business, as long as you handle them correctly. At Digital Surfer, we take the steps to help each of our clients understand the importance of reviews, and how to answer them, as this is a skill we believe is critical when you have an online presence. We also cover the importance of reviews in our Accelerate Local Leads DIY course. For more information, make sure you get in touch with the local SEO Gold Coast team today.
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