With search engines, social media, and smartphones playing a key role in consumers’ day-to-day, there is no shortage of customer reviews floating around online. Whether you own a restaurant, or you’re a builder, electrician, plumber, or even a hairstylist, chances are you have a conversation already going on any one of the countless review sites online.
However, with Google being the search engine king and the internet now doing most of the selling for you, more and more energy should be put into ensuring that the next time potential customers google your business the first thing they see is glowing reviews.
And that all begins with channeling your energy into getting reviews on your Google My Business page.
Registering your business on Google (for the uninitiated)
When people search for a business on Google Search and Maps, the first thing that will pop up is a Google Business Profile on the right of the search results page.
Google My Business not only makes it easy for you to keep your info updated, showcase your offerings, and help potential customers find you, but it’s also a chance for you to expand the channels of communication between you and your customers. It’s here, where you’ll be the first to know when you get a new review so you can respond right away (more on this later).
To get your business listed in the Google search results, Google Maps and other Google services, you need to add or claim your business listing on Google My Business. Click here to get started.
2. Ask! Ask! Ask!
Once you got your Google Business Profile up and running, it’s time to get some reviews. Be polite—yet direct—and just ask! Start with your most satisfied customers. Whether in person or online, there’s no need to beat around the bush. Just being upfront is often enough, given your timing is right and you make leaving reviews super easy.
Since your customer may have yet to experience the full fledged benefits of your offering, you don’t want to ask too early. However, ask too late and risk having that initial sense of WOW long subside.
Furthermore, you want to create a shareable link that your customers can use (see Google’s guide on creating a link for customers to write reviews here), and integrate that with your marketing campaign. Send an email asking customers what they thought of your business, products, or services with a link to your Google My Review page. You should also optimize your website, blog posts, and social media profiles, so that leaving and reading reviews on Google, Yelp, Facebook, and even your own website, is a quick and easy process.
Tip: To entice customers into leaving a review, try offering a small incentive, such as a discount or coupon code, or entrance into a prize draw.
3. Please respond
So you got some reviews, now it’s time to acknowledge your customer’s extra efforts. Whether positive or negative, replying to reviews is a way to engage your customers through a two-way channel.
For the satisfied, a simple and sincere thank-you note is often enough to show your appreciation. On the other hand, a dissatisfied customer is an opportunity to not only apologize and explain how you intend to make changes based on their feedback, but doing so, will better your business in the long run.
Google reviews are an opportunity to demonstrate transparency and authenticity. With potential customers reading your customer’s reviews, as well as your response to said reviews, you have a chance to express your appreciation and demonstrate your commitment to customer satisfaction.
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