How often do you check the reviews for a business you’re considering visiting? Do you also look at the reviews for other businesses that offer a similar product or service? Let’s say one of the businesses you hadn’t initially considered was receiving consistent five-star reviews, while reviewers of the business you first considered shared more negative experiences than positive ones. How would your purchase decision be affected?
The Undeniable Power of Customer Reviews
Customer reviews carry a lot of power. The power of great reviews can instill confidence in prospective customers, improve your business’s reputation, and — ultimately — earn you more business. Negative reviews are just as influential. They can cause consumers to avoid your business altogether, damaging your reputation and hindering your business growth. With nearly nine out of 10 consumers checking reviews for local businesses prior to making a purchase, managing reviews is an opportunity your business can absolutely not ignore.
The Importance of Monitoring and Responding to Reviews
When you think about your business’s digital marketing efforts, social media, paid search/organic search, and blogging are probably top of mind. If it’s not already, review management should also be a top item on your digital marketing priorities list. This is because reviews are an integral part of your business’s marketing efforts.
Customer reviews are a form of earned media. Earned media is any material created about your business that your business hasn’t paid for or created. According to Nielsen, earned media is the most trusted form of advertising that exists. This is because people rely heavily on the opinions and experiences of others to influence what they should do.
How do reviews influence potential customers?
Reviews for local businesses are more influential than you initially may think. In fact:
- 86% of consumers read reviews for local businesses (including 95% of people aged 18-34)
- Consumers won’t engage with any business less than a 3.3 minimum star rating
- An average of 10 online reviews are read before a customer feels confident in trusting a local business
- 63.6 percent of consumers say they are likely to check online reviews on Google before visiting a business
- 57 percent of consumers will only choose a business that has four or more stars
- 94 percent of consumers say an online review has convinced them to avoid a business
- 93 percent of consumers say online reviews impact purchase decisions
- 89 percent of consumers read a business’s responses to reviews
How do reviews improve online visibility?
Reviews are Keyword Rich
When leaving reviews, customers write about your products and services to Google. Those reviews include keywords that help boost your local SEO efforts.
Reviews Boost Click Through-Rates
Reviews can play a big role with click-through rates, especially if your business is receiving positive reviews regularly. Research shows that ratings and reviews are the number one factor consumers refer to when choosing between local businesses – and more than 50% of consumers pass up companies with less than a 4-star rating. Ultimately, the better your reviews are, the more enticing it is for consumers to go to your website and complete a conversion.
How to Respond to Reviews
While some businesses are aloof to their reviews, responding to reviews gives you important opportunities – including fostering positivity with delighted customers and resolving conflict with disappointed customers. Responding to reviews, while time consuming, is essential to connecting with your customers and easing unmet expectations. But, you need to know how to respond in the right way.
How to Respond to Positive Reviews
If your business has received a positive review, you’ll want to craft a response by following these three steps:
Step 1. Respond Promptly
It’s crucial for your business to be regularly monitoring your reviews so that you can respond in a timely manner. As a best practice, your business should respond to reviewers within 24-48 hours of the review being posted. Timely responses to online reviews show that your business is listening and active with your customer base. A prompt response also shows that your business cares about quality and customer feedback.
Step 2. Show Appreciation
An appreciative response doesn’t need to be lengthy to be effective. You should thank the reviewer and acknowledge something that is specific to the review.
Step 3. Reinforce Positivity
When responding to a positive review, identify specific things that the customer enjoyed most about their experience and mention them in your response. This gives you the opportunity to subtly market a specific product or service to the happy customer.
How to Respond to Negative Reviews
If your business has received a negative review, you’ll want to craft a response by following these four steps.
Step 1. Respond Promptly
You must respond promptly (within 24 to 48 hours) to negative reviews. In fact, not responding to negative reviews sends the message to consumers that you don’t care about your customers’ experiences. Responding quickly to unhappy customers shows that you care about resolving the issue and earning their business.
Step 2. Apologize for the Negative Experience
The satisfaction of your customers should be your number one priority. When a customer is upset with your business, be humble and apologize. Empathize with them and show that you’re making an effort to understand where they’re coming from.
Step 3. Reassure the Customer and Work Toward a Solution
Research shows that 89% of consumers are open to changing a negative review based on how the business responds. The most effective way to handle a negative reviewer is to offer reassurance and to deliver on your promise to make things right. By offering reassurance and actively working towards a solution, the customer may even change their review to share about how your business went above and beyond to make things right.
Step 4. Offer a Way to Connect
You don’t want the negative review thread to get too lengthy. Provide the negative reviewer with your contact information so that you can discuss their poor experience further.
How to Reply to Google Reviews from Google My Business
Ready to try all of this for yourself? Here’s how to respond to reviews on Google My Business:
- Sign into your Google My Business account
- Open the listing you’d like to manage and click Reviews on the left hand menu
Note: Your business must be verified in order to reply to reviews.
- Click Reply to respond to a review
- Write a response and click Post Reply
The Symphony Agency Helps You Manage Reviews
If your business doesn’t have the time or resources to manage reviews, we can help. Our digital team implements industry best practices to ensure that no negative review goes unreplied and that your brand reputation is kept polished online.
Contact us or email your success manager for more information.