Think back to the last time your business got a negative review. Chances are, you ignored it and prayed for more positive reviews, so the negative one does not show up on Google business reviews.
Google business reviews are the most common source of customer reviews online, as Google holds the title for the most used search engine in the world. People will often search for a local business on Google to find all information they need about the company and its services. Their research into a business often includes customer reviews of the company and this can influence their decision to engage with the brand or not.
Getting low Google ratings and negative reviews may seem like the end of your online reputation, but this is far from the truth.
You can improve your Google online reviews with one online reputation management strategy that does not cost a dime: responding to online reviews as soon as you can.
Here are the most common reasons why responding to reviews promptly is essential:
Improves Google Ranking and Local SEO
Responding to online reviews improves your local SEO. This means that your business has a higher chance of showing up in Google’s Local Pack, which is the top three spots that appear below the map of a local search result.
A Moz study showed that review signals (review quantity, review velocity and review diversity) make up 15.44 percent of Google’s Local Pack ranking factors. With this information, your business is guaranteed to get a better ranking when you respond frequently and quickly to Google online reviews.
Google itself confirms that responding to reviews improves your local SEO. On its Google My Business page, it says:
“Responding to reviews shows that you value your customers and the feedback that they leave about your business. High-quality, positive reviews from your customers will improve your business’s visibility and increase the likelihood that a potential customer will visit your location.”
With this information, one thing is clear: Businesses need to respond and communicate to customers in reviews.
Builds Customer Trust
Responding to reviews as soon as possible is a reliable indicator of excellent customer service. When businesses give a timely response, customers feel that their opinions are valued.
Customers also expect businesses to reply promptly to their reviews. A 2018 survey conducted by Review Trackers showed that 53.3 percent of consumers expect a response to reviews within seven days.
When businesses respond fast, customers take notice. Another statistic from Google says that businesses that respond to reviews are 1.7 times more trustworthy than companies who don’t. It’s not a big jump, but it’s a significant one.
Bright Local’s survey says that 89 percent of consumers read a business’s response to reviews.
When you reply to your customer reviews, you’re not only helping the customer who wrote it, but you’re making an impression on everyone else who reads it.
Can Change Existing Negative Reviews
When businesses respond to feedback such as Google online reviews, there’s a higher chance those who have written negative reviews will change their minds and turn them into positive ones or delete the negative review.
This is what a Harris study found recently: According to the survey, 33 percent of customers who left a negative review turned it into a positive one after getting a response and 34 percent simply deleted the negative reviews.
The key point here is, negative reviews are not necessarily bad for business. People are more likely to trust a company with a few negative reviews than one that has zero. Most importantly, negative reviews are an opportunity to turn disappointed customers into happy ones.
Prevents More Negative Reviews
Big companies have suffered the consequences of ignoring negative feedback. For instance, Nestle ignored negative comments about their environmental practices. Instead of the negative feedback going away, more people took notice and the issue blew up on social media. Nestle eventually recognized the problem and published an apology.
The lesson? Don’t pretend that negative reviews don’t exist. If you get one negative review and ignore it, there’s a higher chance that you’ll get two more the next day and 10 more a week later.
When you respond to negative reviews timeously, you are sending an assurance to the reviewer that you are paying attention. At the same time, people who see your responses are less likely to write another negative review because of the way you responded to the previous one.
Increases Overall Review Rating
Responding to online reviews can also increase your Google ratings and reviews. People who see that a business is responsive are more likely to share feedback via reviews.
A 2018 study conducted by TripAdvisor showed that responding to reviews increased their review quantity by 12 percent and increased their ranking by 0.12 stars. The numbers may be modest, but it proves that responding to reviews has a positive effect on review quantity and ratings.
Get Real-Time Customer Feedback
Whether you get positive or negative reviews, you should always respond quickly. Responding in a timely manner shows the customer that you respect their time and are thankful for their review.
Fast response time to Google online reviews can also result in a live interaction with your customers giving you the opportunity to gather more feedback about your product or service. You can ask them about certain aspects of your business requiring much-needed feedback and gather valuable information you won’t find anywhere else.
Companies have two options when it comes to online reputation management: implementing online review response systems or hiring a third-party online reputation management company. Hiring an online review response service is how you guarantee communication with your consumers is personable, engaging and timely.
By allowing an online reputation management company to handle your reviews, you can rest assured your audience and consumers’ comments are being tended to quickly, saving you time and resources. Sophisticated technology is used by review response professionals, which offers insights into your customers’ brand experience and allows you to improve your customer relationships.
With all the research that proves the importance of responding to reviews quickly, no business owner should hesitate to prioritize responding to their online reviews.
Responding to online reviews not only improves local SEO and Google rankings but also establishes your brand as trustworthy and dedicated to serving customers with honesty.