Wouldn’t it be game changing for businesses not receiving customer feedback, to do so? The June release of David Mihm’s local search ranking factors has further highlighted the importance of native Google reviews.
In combination with Google’s social-local mash, reviews will become vital to keeping those business phones ringing. So often, physical businesses have trouble soliciting reviews from customers online, and for obvious reasons. However, establishing a strong social profile allows prospective customer to gain better insight into the strengths of a business through marketing’s most powerful tactic: amplified word of mouth, as some call it.
For the business out there uninformed about Google Plus, these will need to own or register a Google account, by using this guide you can increase the chance of receiving feedback from valued customers, even promote a closer connection, between so called “brick and mortar” establishments and the clients that are their lifeblood. Local reviews are one way sure fire way to “fast forward” traditional companies into digital ones.
Setting the Review Stage
“We want people to get ratings, reviews, and recommendations that are relevant, helpful, and trustworthy. To protect both business owners and customers, we have systems in place that may remove individual reviews”
– Google’s review criteria
Google wants reviews which improve the users search experience and help them to find the best service provider; this excludes all forms of forgery or bias. So you know by seeking forged reviews, you’re opening your business up to a local snake pit of end fighting, don’t consider this. However, you can improve your rankings and appeal and keep in Google’s good-books with these five tips:
1) Just Ask for Them
Just like the feedback cards of yesteryear, by asking and encouraging customers and clients to leave a review, you are able to get a better insight into your business’ strength and weaknesses while also engaging with your customer base. And too, by suggesting users use Google Plus, you will be reinforcing the entire G+ ecosystem too. That’s a Win-win!
2) Use Your Testimonials
Most businesses receive a bunch of unsolicited words of praise or testimonials. Don’t just leave them sitting doing nothing in your email inbox. Now that you now have a happy customer that has provided you a genuine raving review, reply or phone the customer and ask if they’d be happy to re-post the review on your Google+ Local listing. Be mindful that these reviews should not appear anywhere else on the Web as Google tends to remove these from your page.
Whether your business has a physical location, a dynamic one, or delivers online, ensure to promote reviews throughout all three platforms:
- Design a creative and appealing counter-top card directing customers to your Google+ Page.
- On completion of your service, give your customer a hand out detailing the significance of their feedback. Here’s my shameless plug for an excellent step-by-step guide on how to get reviews that you can provide to your customers, free of charge.
- Attach directions to your Google+ page to any invoice, receipt, or order outgoing order
4) Keywords In Reviews
I have seen such keywords have a positive impact on rankings and help Google to associate various products and services with your listing, as noted by the ‘At a glance’ section. By simply asking customers to mention the product or service they used within their review, your +Local page remains Google and customer friendly.
5) Boost Internal Recognition and Promotion
Make sure your staff proactively inviting customers to leave a review on your Local+ page? As reviews continue to become more important, educate your employees on the how-to and the significance in great customer feedback online. A steady flow of reviews will assist your business in avoiding the dreaded Google review filter.
Simplify and Enhance Customer Service: Google+ Local
With these easy tips, hopefully, you’ll soon start to see your business gain not only visibility, but renewed business as well. Be appraised though, the work of engaging via the web does not end here.
Google reviews also helps to identify and correct weaknesses at your service and product levels. If you receive a negative review about your business, you can use Google’s business owner response to reconcile the situation with the customer. As a verified business owner, you can publicly respond to reviews posted directly on Google in an effort to show off your fantastic customer service skills. When replying to customers in the public eye, keep these strategies in mind:
- Appreciate: If somebody has made a conscious effort to share their thoughts about your business, thank them. This appreciation goes a long way to encourage future reviewers. Even negative reviews can help your business to grow, thank these people, as well as an experience with your improved business might just make them a customer for life.
- Designate: Whether it is yourself or a senior member of staff, delegate the role of replying to reviews to one person. This ensures clean and consistent responses throughout the page.
- Don’t aggravate: Don’t enter an online battle for righteousness. With the Internet, it is possible to receive exaggerated or false reviews. Whatever the case don’t burn bridges, and if you think the review is inappropriate, then flag it to be removed by Google.
As businesses are of necessity thrust into this social revolution, the importance of reviews will continue to grow too. Please let us hear of your feedback successes and failures in the comments. I’ve provide the video below from Google to catch you up on just how Google Places for Business can help your business.
Subscribe to SEJ
Get our daily newsletter from SEJ's Founder Loren Baker about the latest news in the industry!