How To Respond To Google Reviews (Both Positive and Negative)
Updated: Aug 17
How do you respond to Google reviews as a business owner?
In this video, I share exactly how I respond to both positive and negative Google reviews.
Why get Google reviews?
Google reviews are a free and effective way to grow your business. They help you boost your online reputation, improve your rank in organic search, and increase revenue.
In 2020, 87% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses and 96% also read businesses’ responses to their reviews. Therefore, getting reviews and responding to them is critical for your business!
Google My Business 101
First things first:
You must create a Google My Business account (it's free).
You must follow Google’s terms of service.
You must verify your business on Google.
As a business owner with a Google My Business account, you have the ability to respond to all Google reviews on your business. This can easily be done on both desktop and mobile.
Personally, I like doing so through the Google Maps app. It's easy to use and can be done as soon as a review comes in. Also, you can set a weekly reminder to respond to reviews if you want to do so in bulk.
Should you respond to every Google review?
When it comes to reviews, I respond to every. single. one…good or bad. It shows current and potential patients that we take our ability to provide patient care very seriously and deeply care about their eye health, vision, and general well-being.
According to consumers, businesses that respond to reviews are seen as more trustworthy than businesses that don't.
Of course, if you're in healthcare, make sure not to violate HIPPA while doing so.
How do you respond to positive Google reviews?
Responding to good reviews helps you nurture the relationship you have with those who value your products or services.
Below are 5 tips on how to respond to positive Google reviews.
1) Do so in a timely fashion
It's really important that you respond to all positive Google reviews in a timely manner.
The last thing your customers want is a thank you a few months down the road. By this point, their experience is out of sight and out of mind.
Personally, I respond weekly (sometimes as soon as they come in). Get in the habit of doing so and your customers will notice!
2) Use their name in the response and thank them for the feedback!
Most people use their names on their Google accounts. Address them by name in your response and thank them for their feedback.
As a customer, it feels good to be acknowledged and appreciated for the feedback provided.
3) Take into account grammar, readability, and keywords
When you respond to a Google review you can actually use keywords to help you further optimize your business.
Of course, I highly recommend your reviews are well written with good punctuation and grammar. If somebody mentions something specific about your business and you want to amplify that keyword, utilize it in your response so you can optimize your Google My Business page.
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4) Invite them back soon and ask them to refer their friends
What good would a response be to a positive review if you didn't invite them back to your business and ask them to bring along a family member or friend?
Your response could look like this:
“Thank you so much for your feedback. We can’t wait to see you next visit. By the way, make sure you bring along a family member or friend. The more the merrier!”
5) Repurpose reviews on your website, social media, and internal marketing
After you've appropriately responded to a positive review, why not repurpose that review and share it on social media?
You can even utilize it through your internal marketing efforts and or even post it on your website.
Google knows this which is why they have a (free) small business marketing kit.
How do you respond to negative Google reviews?
Did you know that customers are 70% more likely to visit your business if your company responds to negative reviews?
Below are 9 tips on how to respond to negative Google reviews.
1) Take a deep breath and research why the bad review occurred in the first place
When your business gets a negative review, it hurts.
Take a deep breath, talk to your team to gain more information, and let your emotions cool down before your respond.
2) Reach out to them to learn more before responding online
If you have their contact information, reach back out and take the time to listen.
A lot of times negative reviews occur because people don't feel like they were listened to, respected, or served appropriately.
Take the time to listen to why the review occurred in the first place.
3) Ask questions to improve clarity
If there's a misunderstanding, ask what you could have done differently and listen to their responses.
Take the time to ask questions for further context with the goal of resolving the problem or defusing the situation.
4) Be professional and take ownership when you or your team was in the wrong
If you were in the wrong, own it. Mistakes happen and people appreciate a genuine apology when necessary.
5) Use their name in the response
After contacting the individual, you want to respond publicly through Google My Business.
Again, if their profile identifies them by name, use their name in their response and be professional when you do.
6) Promise to do better in the future
Personally, I always like to make sure our patients are heard if there was something negative that occurred that we could have prevented.
I like to let them know we are going to take their feedback into account and promise to do better.
7) Present the facts and clarify any misunderstandings (when necessary)
If the review was inaccurate or out of line, kindly respond by presenting the facts. This way those reading the review have a good understanding of where you're coming from.
To be clear, I’m not recommending you start a war online. However, it’s okay to stick up for your business in a professional way.
8) Leave a number or email for them to discuss things further
At the end of the response, I always like to leave our office number for the patient to follow up. Especially if I was unable to connect with them during my initial follow-up.
9) Sign off with your name or initials
Doing so lets them know that you're a real person on the other end of their complaint.
How to get customers to remove negative Google reviews
Ideally, you have many more positive than negative reviews, as this will reflect upon how you run your business. When someone writes a negative review, it's critical to contact them, listen, and learn.
If you're able to resolve the issue, apologize and ask if they'd update or remove the negative review. This is really the only way a negative review can be removed.
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