Everyone likes to be heard and responded to. There’s no denying it.  So it’s no surprise that in Google’s ongoing push to put user experience at the forefront of marketing strategy, their search ranking practices echo this very human sentiment. In doing so, they place a very purposeful focus on how businesses respond to company reviews – particularly through Google My Business. But before we go any further, let’s assume that we’re operating on two assumptions (which have been widely proven by the marketing & seo community)

Truth #1:

Google actively uses your ‘My Business‘ listing to help rank your website for local search queries.

 

Truth #2:

Google actively refers to how often you respond to reviews to aid in ranking your website above or below local competitors

Today…

The treatment of online reviews has all but changed consumer expectations and put a new burden on businesses to be present when customers have something to say.

Why? Because on one level, ignoring reviews can pose a technical risk for your digital marketing wellbeing (Thanks, Google). On another level, when a client is comparing two potential providers – your review responses give a clear early indicator of how your company operates. So, when it comes to your brand and reviews – silence is never golden.

Positive or Negative: You Need to Respond

How to respond to a positive review

Consider a positive review the same as a ‘thank you’ note for your business. Pat yourself on the back on a job well done, but don’t stop there! You still need to respond to the review, both for the benefit of search engine robots – because they care about that sort of thing – and for prospects, because they notice as well (for different reasons), and will be actively comparing you to your competitors.

Sample response: 

Thank you so much for your kind words. We’ve been working hard to make this process more streamlined and we’re so happy you noticed. If you have any other recommendations, please feel free to email us at [email].

How to respond to a negative review

The way you respond to criticism online reveals just as much as it does in the real world. But how can you do it gracefully when online reviewers are so quick to spin the story in their favor? You remove your feelings, focus on facts, and strive to either solve the problem or fix the process that created it. 

Remember: a negative review is an opportunity to improve (and maybe even win a new customer) taking it personally, fighting fire with fire, and passive aggressive responses never end well.

Sample response:

Thank you for bringing this to our attention, what you describe isn’t the type of service we strive to offer and we’re sorry you’ve been having these issues. Would you mind calling (team member name & phone number) so we can try to find a resolution that works out for you?

How to get more positive reviews…

Ask! A large part of getting more positive reviews is simply to make a point of asking your customers for them. But there are also tools available to make the process faster, more streamlined, and less uncertain.

“How do I know they’re going to give me a good review?”

You don’t. There’s no telling what a customer is going to say about you unless they’ve explicitely said “I want to give you a good review”. On top of that, with more services like Google, Yelp, and Facebook proactively asking customers what they thought of businesses – being proactive pays.

For this reason, reputation management tools – including Innovia’s reputation management program – solicit reviews from clients proactively in order to give you the opportunity to respond & resolve negativity before it becomes a matter of “public record”.

How do you respond?

In addition to tools and automations that make reputation management more streamlined, Innovia members come together like no other CAM industry group to share expertise, tactics, and insights.

Have questions? Contact the Co-op