Responding to your customers’ reviews is a great way to build brand loyalty and trust. Here, we’ll examine how to respond to Google reviews.
If you have been wondering how to respond to Google reviews in the most effective way, you’ve come to the right place. Finding and viewing your Google My Business reviews isn’t hard, and responding to them doesn’t have to be, either.
We’ve got you covered in your review management strategy, from finding where to respond to online Google reviews to handling negative, positive, fake, and neutral reviews.
Benefits of Responding to Google Reviews
Responding to Google reviews accords your business various benefits regardless of whether it is a positive, neutral, fake, or bad review. Here are some significant benefits you can tap:
Ranking Higher in Local Search Results
Google acknowledges that using Google My Business (now known as Google Business Profile) is a good way to boost your ranking for Google local searches.
To claim this benefit as a business owner, you must open a Google My Business Profile account and use it to bank on local SEO strategies like adding your business name, products, services, location/address, and hours of operation.
Building Trust and Credibility
Most customers look at up to 10 online reviews on average before deciding to engage with you for the products or services they need.
Besides looking at both negative and positive reviews, future customers also check whether and how you respond to different types of reviews.
As such, you’ll want to keep your review response strategy intact for the best customer experience, whether or not a customer is engaging with you for the very first time.
If a potential customer finds genuinely positive reviews and satisfactory responses, they will herald you as credible and be more likely to trust you with their time, money, and projects.
Enhancing Customer Satisfaction
A customer may be upset after an encounter with your local business.
However, you can use their neutral or negative review to turn their experience around by apologizing and offering a solution to their predicament.
Attracting More Google Reviews
Undoubtedly, proper online review management will lead to even more Google reviews, which is good for your small business.
According to a Harvard Business Review study on the results of replying to online reviews, responding to customer reviews can result in up to a 12% increase in reviews.
You could also boost your star ratings by about 0.12 stars on average within six months after responding to the first online review.
How to Respond to Google Reviews
When responding to Google reviews, it’s important to access and answer them correctly. Here’s how to do that:
1. How to Respond to Google Reviews on Desktop Through Google Business Profile
- On your desktop, visit www.business.google.com and sign in to your Google My Business account.
- Click on “Reviews” on the left sidebar.
- Scroll down to a review to respond to and click “Reply.”
- Write your response in the message box.
- Make your response live by clicking “Post Reply.”
2. How to Respond to Google Reviews via Google Maps
- Visit https://www.google.com/maps.
- Look up your business.
- Click on the Maps listing for your business.
- Click on the “Reviews” icon.
- Choose a review to reply to and click “Reply” to type your response.
- Make your response live.
3. How to Respond to Google Reviews via Google My Business App
- On your tablet or mobile phone, open the Google My Business App. If you don’t have the app already, you can download it from the Apple App Store for iOS or Google Play Store for Android devices, then log in to your account.
- Click on “Customers” on the navigation bar at the bottom.
- Tap the specific review to which you want to respond from the list of recent reviews that appears.
- Write your response in the message box that opens.
- Make your reply live by hitting the “Send” icon located on the app’s upper right-hand corner.
Types of Review Responses
As there are different types of reviews, there are also different types of review responses, such as:
- No response
- Positive-positive response
- Negative-positive response
- Barely there response (minimal effort when replying)
- Robo response (detached response made by a human using a template or by a review response automation process)
- Eager-beaver response (all over the place with positivity, life, and ambition – might be dangerous if overdone)
- Keyword-less response (no keywords are included in the response)
Best Practices for Responding to Online Reviews
Here are some processes or best practices to follow when responding to an online business review.
Best Practices for Responding to Positive Reviews
Ideally, you’ll want every happy customer to leave your business a good review.
According to a 2022 local consumer survey, 67% of customers consider leaving a positive review if they have had a positive experience. Here’s how to handle positive feedback:
- Refer to the customer by their name to enhance the human touch.
- Respond quickly. (55% of customers hope for a review response within a day; 30% hope for a response within three days.)
- Thank the customer for their kind review but don’t exaggerate the gratitude.
- Include keywords in the response. The reviewer doesn’t have to know, but you shouldn’t stuff the response with keywords at the expense of ingenuity.
- Share your core values.
- Mention the relevant product or service.
- Mention other products or services you offer that will be beneficial to the customer.
- Record the customer’s feedback for future referencing, if possible.
Best Practices for Responding to Negative Reviews
Most businesses are afraid of negative reviews. As much as 40% of customers consider leaving a negative review if they had a negative experience, while 45% say they would visit your business if you respond to negative reviews.
However, a negative Google review can be a way to improve your business and customer service standards, since negative feedback is better than no feedback at all.
Here’s how you can politely respond to negative reviews:
- Assess the negative customer feedback internally and come up with a suitable way to respond.
- Respond publicly to the review.
- Stay professional.
- Do not discredit the negative feedback or the reviewer’s dissatisfaction.
- Be transparent and acknowledge that mistakes happen.
- If the customer has not left enough information to go on, don’t speculate. Instead, politely ask them to provide more information about their experience, with the promise that you’ll personally look into it.
- Apologize only for the customer’s frustration.
- Present your facts.
- Suggest a productive way forward, such as resolving the issue offline via text, email, or phone calls. It could also be an incentive, such as a product replacement.
- Share your core values and dedication to them, such as unbeatable customer service.
- Ask the unhappy customer to consider updating their review once their issue is resolved to their satisfaction.
- Sign off with your name and designation at the end of the response.
Best Practices for Responding to Fake Reviews
With a fake review, your first step will be to flag and report it to Google Business Profile support, saying why you think it’s fake.
However, a fake customer review doesn’t always get removed, especially if Google doesn’t feel the review violates its standards.
When this happens, you can politely reply to the comment, presenting your facts and explaining to potential customers why you think it’s fake.
Helpful Tips for Responding to Online Reviews
The following tips come in handy when responding to online reviews:
- Avoid repetition. If you copy and paste the same response to every positive Google review in your Business Profile, existing and potential customers may see you as lazy and undedicated. The rule of thumb is to take your time to respond to each review. That’s why it’s essential to address each customer by their name. This enhances the human touch at a time when automation takes the human feel out of almost every aspect of modern business.
- Always acknowledge repeat business or customer loyalty if the reviewer has mentioned it.
- Make all your responses conversational. Make your human appeal felt by addressing the reviewer by name, thanking them, inviting them to a personal online conversation, and even signing off with your name.
- Enlist the help of a digital marketing or online reputation management company like Canopy Media to help you design a reputation management strategy or repair your reputation if it has been damaged on the Google review platform.
Finding and responding to your Google reviews doesn’t have to be a chore. The first step is to know which platform you would like to use to access the reviews and then professionally respond to the negative and positive reviews.
You can use your Google Business Profile account, Google My Business app, Google Maps, or even Google Search to view and respond to each Google review, whether it is a positive, negative, or neutral review.
- Widewail: How to Respond to Positive and Negative Google Reviews
- Hubspot: How to Respond to a Google Review: The Ultimate Guide
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- Checkfront: How to Respond to a Bad Google Review