You’ve heard it before — these are uncertain times. It seems almost everything has been canceled, from graduations to sporting events to simple dinner plans with friends and family. And those are just the personal events we were looking forward to. Many business owners are facing exceptional challenges because of the coronavirus pandemic. If your business has been directly — even profoundly — impacted by current events, then you’re not alone.
An important component of your business is customer opinions and reviews. While the publication of Google My Business reviews is currently facing changes, the opinions of your customers are not on hold. It is important to continue taking steps to capture your customers’ valuable feedback, especially now that you may find yourself with more downtime.
Below we’ve outlined the Google review-related changes during this time and provided recommendations as you navigate online reputation management during this time.
What’s Going on With Google Reviews?
Google has joined the hundreds of thousands of businesses following recommendations of public health industry professionals by employing work-from-home policies and practicing social distancing. This means that Google, like many businesses, is drastically limiting the number of employees in its offices. The result is that some Google features or services are limited or delayed and this includes Google My Business reviews.
At this time, Google reviews can still be posted and current reviews remain visible to business owners and listing site visitors. However, the publication of new reviews and review responses is suspended until Google resumes business as usual.
Additionally, Q&A on Google My Business listings is also suspended, as there is not enough staff to oversee responses. While this may seem like bad news at first glance, leaving Q&A functionality on Google My Business virtually unattended could have severe consequences when the verification process is limited.
What Does This Mean for Your Business?
While Google My Business is a major online review source for many businesses across various industries, it is not the be-all and end-all of online review-generation opportunity. You can still get new reviews for your business during this time. Also during this coronavirus disruption, there are digital marketing ideas you should consider exploring.
Tim Clarke, an industry expert and Senior Reputation Manager at Rize Reviews, wants to assure business owners that these changes are a minor hiccup in the grand scheme of their overall online reputation.
“Google remains the premier source for business reviews and has the biggest impact on local SEO for businesses,” Clarke said. “This temporary change isn’t ideal, but it will not be noticeable to many users who publish new reviews.”
Also, because many of your customers are stuck at home, the likelihood that they are checking emails more frequently is high. Now is a great time to connect with your customers digitally and request valuable and insightful feedback through a Rize review generation campaign to amplify your online reputation.
How Can Rize Reviews Help Your Business Right Now?
1. We can still help you acquire more Google reviews. They will simply be publicly published at a later date, according to experts. We can also continue to help you gain more Google reviews that will be published within the usual timeframe if you are a healthcare provider or another essential business.
2. Get some love on Facebook, TrustPilot and other platforms. Google is not the only review source out there. We can help you focus your review acquisition efforts on other platforms. This includes Facebook, TrustPilot and the Better Business Bureau. We can work with you on many other industry-specific review aggregators, such as Houzz, Lawyers.com, Capterra, TripAdvisor or Healthgrades.
3. Use our drip campaigns as a versatile marketing tool. While review generation is our bread and butter, Rize email campaign templates are not unifunctional. They are fully customizable and able to project any messages you’d like to get out to your customers. Many businesses, as you’ve probably already noticed in your own inbox, are using this time as an opportunity to showcase their responsiveness to challenges such as COVID-19. You can use Rize to issue a similar message to the customers on your email list. You can also communicate directly to your subscribers highlighting any running specials, changes in operating hours or new curbside and delivery services.
There are a lot of unknowns right now and that can be scary. One thing we do know, which is apparent during this time, is that we want to feel connected to one another in this time of uncertainty. Luckily in this digital era, we have so much technology at our disposal to do so. Giving your customers this opportunity to connect with you lets them know you value their continued business and their voice.
At Rize, we’re rooting for you!