In last week’s post, I explained how important it is to manage online customer reviews about your business. Reviews improve customer loyalty, revenue and your position on search engine results pages. Check out the post to learn more. Now, I’ll show you how to respond to reviews on Google and Yelp.
Managing Online Customer Reviews on Google
Businesses used to manage online customer reviews through Google Places. However, functionality to respond to reviews is no longer available there. Instead, you have to use Google+ Local.
Keep these tips in mind when setting up a Google+ Local page.
- Every business must have a personal Google+ Page, so begin by setting that up.
- When setting up your business page, you’ll be asked to select a category that best describes the type of page you want to create. Select ‘Local Business or Place’. According to Google, “Selecting this category will allow your Google+ Page to show up on Google Maps and you’ll be able to respond to reviews. To have a Local page, you must have a storefront, or location must be important to your business. Once you’ve created your page you won’t be able to change the category, so be sure to select carefully!”
- For better results, fill out your entire profile.
- Don’t forget to verify your business page. Google will send you a postcard with a PIN verification code on it. Once you receive it, go to the URL listed on the card and input your code to verify your page.
- If you don’t have time to manage your page or reviews, you can ask someone else to do it for you and give them permission to manage your page.
How to Respond to an Online Customer Review
Thank the people that post positive reviews. It’ll show the community that you appreciate their feedback and business. Spread your gratitude further by giving staff mentioned in a positive review a perk or some kind of recognition. Other staff will want to get in on the game and you may see that your customers receive better service.
You should also respond to complaints. Avoid blame, shame or negative comments. Tell your side of the story but keep commentary positive and stick to the facts. Admit fault if it’s true, but counter with a solution. Many businesses have been able to turn bad reviews or experiences into positive public relations. Here’s a video of a local business owner who has a good track record of spinning bad reviews around.
Ask Happy Customers for an Online Review
Stack the odds in your favor by asking happy customers to post positive reviews about their experiences. If you give away a free service or product don’t forget to ask for a positive online testimonial. Make it easy for customers to do this by sending them to your website or giving them written instructions on how to post the review.
The Unseen Bean in Boulder, CO, makes it convenient for customers to provide feedback by putting links to online review sites right on the coffee roster’s website. Customers only have to go to one place to access five review sites. This has the added benefit of increasing website traffic and exposing customers to your products or services one more time.
An alternative is to give these written instructions to clients that are willing to write a review. Insert your business name where instructed.
- You must have a Google account to write a review, so log into your account or set one up here.
- After you’re logged in, visit plus.google.com/local and search for (insert your business name here) and the location.
- Click on (insert your business name here) to go to our page.
- Click the “Write a review” button next to the cover photo.
- Rate different aspects of your experience using the 0 (poor) to 3 (excellent) scale, and write any information you think will be helpful in the text box.
- When you’ve finished, click “Publish”.
- You can also check out Google’s tips for writing great reviews to get ideas on what to include in your review.
Managing Customer Reviews on Yelp
- Begin by creating a Yelp Business Account.
- You can respond to reviews publicly or privately. I suggest that you post a public response so other people can see how you handled the situation.
- One of the beautiful things about Yelp is that people can change a rating so it’s worth your time to respond to a negative review.
- Follow these instructions and tips on how to respond to reviews.
How to Write a Review on Yelp
Hand these instructions to customers that are willing to write a review on Yelp.
- You must have a Yelp account to write a review.
- Visit http://www.yelp.com/writeareview and search for (insert your business name here).
- Rate the business using stars.
- Add a review.
- If you have a Yelp account and are logged in, click “Post”.
- If you don’t have a Yelp account, click “Sign Up and Post” and you will be able to create one.
Remember that having a dialogue with your customers on a review site will go over better than not responding at all. And you now have the tools to do that.