Online reviews have an enormous impact on how consumers make buying decisions. For example:
- 93% of Internet users have made buying decisions based upon an online review. (source: Podium)
- 86% of users will think twice about buying from a company with negative online reviews. (source: Invesp)
- Nearly half of all Internet users post online reviews every month. (source: GWI)
- 57% of customers would stop using a brand if their negative review is left unanswered. (source: Fundera)
That’s why the method you choose to respond to consumer reviews reflects greatly on your business and can either gain a repeat customer or turn them away forever. How you handle Google reviews is perceived as a direct reflection of your commitment to customer service. That’s why you need to always respond promptly and thoughtfully to online reviews. That goes for both positive and negative customer feedback.
The Importance of Responding to Google Reviews
Responding to Google customer reviews – both positive and negative – is an essential component of online reputation management. Online reviews offer a great opportunity for your business to engage with customers and build long-term loyalty. According to Google, “Not only does responding to reviews support trust-building, it also gives you an opportunity to humanize your business, show customers you care, and demonstrates professionalism.”
To reply to your reviews on Google, you’ll first need to claim your Google Business Profile (GBP). This will give you access to respond publicly to all your Google reviews.
Bottom line: Whether you receive a positive or negative review, you should ALWAYS provide a prompt and thoughtful response.
How to Respond to Positive Google Reviews
Responding to positive online reviews helps enhance your online reputation, build credibility, boost customer retention and attract new customers. Positive online reviews can also be an important part of your local SEO strategy.
Use these tips when responding to positive Google reviews:
- Express Appreciation for the Review: Let the customer know you value their feedback and business in your customized response.
- Be Specific in Your Response: Avoid a simple generic “thank you” in response to the positive review. Instead, tailor your response to all of the positive feedback highlighted by the customer in the review.
- Don’t Make Your Response too Sales-Oriented: Although you might use your response to share new or relevant information about your business, don’t get too salesly. Keep in mind that they’re already a happy customer!
- Share Your Positive Feedback: After you respond to the positive review, make sure to share it on your social media feeds or as a testimonial on your website.
How to Respond to Negative Google Reviews
Even the most well-respected businesses receive negative feedback from customers from time to time. However, believe it or not, 75% of businesses don’t even bother responding to negative online reviews (source: Womply).
This is a big mistake! Unanswered negative reviews can have a big impact on the future success of your business. According to Forbes, “A company needs to be very careful in crafting responses to negative reviews to send the right message not only to the reviewer in question, but also to readers who will take note of how well your company handles customer service.”
Therefore, you should respond to EVERY negative customer review in a productive and appropriate manner. Here are some essential tips to effectively respond to negative Google reviews:
- Respond Promptly: Don’t delay! Customers appreciate a fast response to negative reviews. According to ReviewTrackers, 53% prefer a response within a week of posting a negative review.
- Personalize Your Response: Address the reviewer by name and thank them for leaving a review. Acknowledge their key points and show empathy for the customer. Sign off with your name, so the customer knows a real person is listening to their issues.
- Keep Your Response Short and Sweet: Even if you believe the review is unfair or inaccurate, always be professional, employ respectful language and avoid taking the negative feedback personally. Apologize for their negative experience, but don’t make paltry excuses. Always keep in mind that your response will be on permanent public display.
- Take It Offline When Appropriate: If the situation cannot be resolved in your online response, provide the customer with the opportunity to reach you directly offline via email or call to sort out the issue. In addition, if you decide to reach out to the customer directly, make sure to mention this in your public response to their feedback.
After the issue has been successfully resolved, reach out to the customer and ask if they will update their formerly negative review to highlight the steps taken by your business to achieve a resolution. One of the biggest digital marketing wins possible for your business is a negative review turned into a positive review. That’s what high-level customer service looks like in today’s digital world.