Studies have shown that 91 percent of consumers read reviews before visiting a new business. According to Inc., 84 percent of these buyers believe that reviews are just as trustworthy as getting a recommendation from a friend. With statistics like these, it’s critical for small and medium-sized businesses to accumulate as many online reviews as possible.
Google My Business is especially useful for local companies, but it’s common to hit roadblocks when seeking reviews. To help you avoid the confusion and frustration that typically accompanies this process, we’ve put together an informative, step-by-step guide that is virtually guaranteed to boost your reviews and online visibility.
How to Get “Google My Business” Reviews by Simply Asking For Them!
The biggest mistake that businesses make is failing to ask for reviews. Consumers have limited time, and it’s easy for their attention to become redirected. Therefore, if you don’t ask them for what you need, your odds of getting a review are minimal.
Per The New York Times, only 1.5 percent of consumers actually write reviews. Even worse, they’re more likely to post an unsolicited online review if they’re unhappy with the service or product they received. This means that you must try to convert as many happy consumers into positive reviewers as possible. Additionally, you need to work on defusing upset buyers before they post something that hurts your reputation.
There is no single best way to ask for a review, but there are multiple approaches you can use to boost your review score.
Always Ask at the End of a Good Consumer Interaction
Teach your team members to look for opportunities to personally ask for a review. Be aware that asking too early can be detrimental, so it’s vital to learn how to pick the best spot in a verbal or written conversation. We’ve compiled several examples that detail when to ask and what to say to get the best results from a variety of typical business scenarios.
1. Ask at the End of a Transaction When the Consumer Has Been Complimentary Toward the Service or Products
Buyers give you the green light to ask when they make it clear that they’re happy with the service or products they’ve received. For instance, a consumer might say something like:
“Thanks again for all your help. This is exactly what I was looking for!”
At this point, a company representative could respond in a reaffirming, grateful manner that also includes a request for a review:
“You’re welcome! I’m glad I could help, and I’m always here for any of your future needs. I’d also greatly appreciate it if you would share your positive feedback online by writing a Google My Business review. Thank you!”
Businesses that physically meet with consumers can also benefit from printing up review cards that let buyers know exactly how to access the Google My Business review page for their company.
2. Email After a Positive Online Interaction
After you have a positive interaction with a consumer online, you can send a thank you message that includes a request for a review:
“It was my pleasure to assist you today. Please feel free to let me know if you have any additional questions!
I’d greatly appreciate it if you would take a couple of minutes to rate our company/our product on Google My Business. Your honest feedback is one of the best ways for us to continue growing and improving our services/products.
Thank you very much!”
Underneath this, be sure to include a button that links to your review page. It’s best if this final call to action is very simple and eye-catching. Use a bold colour for the button and text that says “Review Us” or “Click to Review Us.”
Follow-Up Strategies and Passive Requests
Even if you asked for a review during a positive consumer interaction, you can still ask again by following up a couple of weeks later. This is also something you should be doing with every single customer. Another way to seek reviews is by letting passive requests do some of the work for you.
Don’t let your fear of negative reviews prevent you from letting buyers know what you need. As we’ll address later on, there are ways to avoid negative reviews. Even if you do get some negative comments, they can have value too!
1. Send an Email A Couple of Weeks After a Product Ships
Any company can take inspiration from Amazon by waiting for two to three weeks to send a follow-up email that specifically asks for a review.
“Dear Valued Customer,
We’re grateful that you purchased X from our team. We constantly strive to provide the best service/products in the industry/area and would love to hear your feedback.
Please take a moment to let us know how we’re doing by writing a Google My Business review. Click the button below to get started!
Also, please don’t hesitate to reach out via email or phone if you have any questions or additional needs!
2. Ask on Social Media
When it comes to asking people on social media, it’s possible that people won’t want to be deluged with requests to post reviews or buy new items, so use this method sparingly. If you keep it to one post per month via each social media account, you’ll minimize the risk of irritating your followers. You’ll also have a good chance of increasing your reviews!
Here’s a sample script you can use for social media posts:
“Our customers are our most valued resource! Help us give you the highest quality service/products by posting a Google My Business review. Thank you!
3. Ask Everyone in a Passive Manner
Your company’s website should provide a link to your Google My Business reviews. Always include a “Review Us” button to encourage more reviews. You can also add that button or a text line asking for reviews to the signature line of every business email, along with placing it inside of every order confirmation and consumer newsletter.
If you see customers in person at a brick and mortar store or a warehouse, be sure to put up an easily visible sticker or sign that asks for reviews. You can place one of the previously mentioned review cards in each customer’s shopping bag. It’s also a good idea to put one of these cards into the package of every online order.
How to Avoid or Repair Negative Google My Business Reviews
Now that you have a better understanding of how to get Google My Business reviews, let’s look at how to avoid negative online feedback.
The truth is that no business or product that gathers the attention of a large group of consumers is going to be able to maintain a perfect 5-star rating from every reviewer. On the plus side, having a variety of review ratings actually makes your overall score appear more legitimate to most consumers. Having said this, you do want to take steps to minimize one and two-star reviews.
1. Address Complaints in a Timely Manner
Studies have shown that consumers are typically unwilling to wait more than four hours to get a response after making a complaint. This might not seem realistic to most business owners, but the reality is that buyers who are already unhappy become much more likely to post a negative review if they believe the company has blown them off.
The absolute best way to address this issue is by making it a company policy to respond to negative calls or emails within four hours, whenever possible. Keep in mind that how you respond is even more important than how quickly you reach out to a disgruntled consumer.
Always make it clear that you understand the customer’s concerns and you genuinely want to help them. For example, if someone calls to complain about an item that broke after one use, you could use this sample script to smooth things over:
“I’m very sorry you experienced that, and I can definitely understand why that’s so frustrating. We always strive to make durable, long-lasting products, and I’d really like to correct this issue for you. May I send you a free replacement?”
In some cases, consumers are going to demand a refund. However, offering a free replacement first shows that you have faith in the quality of your products. It also gives the buyer a second opportunity to form a good opinion of the product in question.
2. Be Conscientious When Responding to Negative Reviews
Some companies have a policy of not responding to any reviews. This might make sense for huge businesses that don’t have time to respond to thousands of reviews, but it’s not necessarily the right move for your small to medium-sized company. Instead of avoiding reviews altogether, you simply need to train your staff how to address reviewers in the best possible way.
Positive Reviews – You don’t have to say much to a positive review, but it’s always good to acknowledge the customer’s time and effort. Click the ‘like’ button and consider posting a personal thank you such as:
Thank you for your feedback, X! We appreciate it!
Negative Reviews – Take a deep breath before responding to negative reviews. If you’re angry, it’s better to walk away for a few minutes than to say something you’ll regret. Always Remember: There’s no guaranteed way to completely delete something after you’ve posted it online. That’s because many people will take screenshots of anything that has the potential to be controversial.
Once you’re in a calmer head space, you have a great opportunity to show other consumers how professional you can be. If you follow this very simple formula below and rise above any attempts to bait you into an argument, then the negative review can have positive overall effects.
5 Effective Steps For Managing Negative reviews:
- Acknowledge – The reviewer’s complaint needs to be acknowledged before you can achieve a positive resolution.
- Apologize – Even if you don’t think your company was in the wrong.
- Explain – In some instances, you’ll need to calmly and professionally explain your side of what went wrong.
- Compensate – It’s always best to compensate the consumer in an appropriate way.
- Invite – Ask the consumer to contact you offline or invite them back to resolve their issue.
Sample of a Negative Review and the Business Owner’s Response
I’m very unhappy with the service I received last night at XYZ Restaurant. The server was lazy and rude. It took 45 minutes to get our food, and it was disgusting! I’d give this restaurant zero stars if I could. Stay away!
Upon reading this, it’s natural for an owner to become immediately defensive. You must put those feelings aside or else you risk making the situation much worse. A calm, neutral approach is best.
Hi, X. I’m the owner of XYZ Restaurant, and I’d like to thank you for taking the time to let me know about your experience. I’m very sorry to hear that you were disappointed in your server and the food. We pride ourselves on having a diverse menu, friendly employees and quick service. On the evening of your visit, we had a much bigger crowd than usual due to the annual carnival. Despite this, we know that we can and must do better. I’d like to make this up to you. Please call me at X to discuss this matter further. Thanks!
As you can see, this sample response follows all of the guidelines posted above. It also doesn’t place any blame on the consumer, nor does it cast a negative light on any specific employees. No unreasonable excuses are offered, and there’s nothing emotional about the owner’s tone.
In most cases like this one, the consumer doesn’t end up calling the restaurant. But if they do, it’s wise to offer a free or discounted meal.
If the upset customer is pleased by their next visit, they might revise or delete their original review. Even if they don’t contact you or change their review, other consumers will be impressed by your response. Make sure to comment as quickly as possible for the maximum positive impact.
As you can see, getting more Google My Business reviews doesn’t have to be an extremely difficult or time-consuming process. As long as you get in the habit of consistently asking your customers for feedback, you should see an increase in your reviews. You can also turn negative reviews into a positive by keeping your composure at all times.
If you’re looking for an easy way to remember all of these steps, we suggest printing out the recap list below.
How to Get Google My Business Reviews in 5 Simple Steps
1. Ask at the end of every positive customer interaction. (this will make it easier for the client or consumer to leave one as they’re already in peak state)
2. Send an email asking for a review after positive online interactions.
3. Ask in a follow-up email sent two-three weeks after the product or service has been purchased.
4. Ask on social media
5. Ask passively via your email signature line. Put a review button on your website and in your newsletter. Use in-store stickers, signs or review cards.
How to Avoid or Repair Negative Google My Business Reviews
1. Address complaints within four hours, if possible.
2. Respond to negative reviews in a conscientious manner.
3. Acknowledge, Apologize, Explain, Compensate and Invite.
We live in a world where 68 percent of consumers read as many as six online consumer reviews before making a decision. With that in mind, we heavily encourage companies of all sizes and types to take the necessary steps to increase their overall quantity of Google My Business reviews.