In our last blog, we talked about strategies for increasing your businesses' positive Google Reviews. Our next step? Making sure you know how to manage them once they start coming in.
As I mentioned in my last blog, not all reviews will be positive. Regardless, it's crucial not only to respond to each review but to do it in a professional way, whether the information is true or not. So, let's get started with some best practices to follow.
The easy part . . .
Designate a person to handle responding to your reviews so you know one will never be missed.
Note: If you haven’t already, make sure you’re set up to receive automated notifications on your computer and phone once you do get a review. That makes it even easier to respond quickly.
2. Respond to each review in a timely manner (ideally within 24 hours)
3. Make sure your responses sound human, take on the personality of your brand and aren't the exact same every time. Aim for 2 to 3 sentences on average.
To further elaborate:
Mix up your responses and make sure always sound conversational and address anything specific they say about your experiences.
Easy tip: Always use their name, that’s an instant way to connect with people. You can also include your name to further make that connection.
If you’re delegating this responsibility to another member on your staff, I recommend writing several basic templates where specific information can be plugged in to make it more personable.
And now, the tougher part, managing those less than pleasant reviews . . .
Before we get into tips on how to handle negative reviews, there's not a simple "delete" button to remove the review. There are ways to flag reviews and in some instances Google will delete them but it's best not to depend on that.
Now that we've covered that, regardless of the situation, your best strategy is to take the conversation "off line" (IE – via phone, email or anywhere that’s not in a public space) as quickly as possible. But, it first must be acknowledged online.
Think of it as a formula:
Wrap up with next steps
Before responding, do your research. Did the situation described actually happened? If you weren’t there, get as much information from other employees as possible. The information you find out will help you determine how the next part is handled.
The review is correct. If this is the case, then it’s important to publicly apologize, admit and/or explain the mistake and if it’s appropriate provide a small amount of background information that might make another potential patron feel better about visiting your business.
If you have their contact information, call or email them (a call is preferable) to further show your sincerity. Some sort of discount or freebie can also go a long way to turning the situation around. If they seem satisfied with how you’ve handled the situation, you can also kindly asked them to remove the review.
The situation was a misunderstanding and while some of the information is true, it’s not exactly as they have reported it. In this case, a shorter answer is usually better online,
“Thank you so much for notifying us of your experience, however it does sound like there was a bit of confusion. Customer service is our number one priority."
(If you have their contact information) Your satisfaction with our service is important to us so we will call you to see what can be done to clarify the situation.
(If you don't have their contact information) "Please call us at your earliest convenience at (insert phone number) and ask for (insert name) so that we can clear things up as soon as possible."
Again, If they seem satisfied with how you’ve handled the situation, you can also kindly asked them to remove the review.
It's a false account. Whether it's from an actual customer who visited your business or you can't find any record of them having any interaction with your company. These can be the trickiest to handle and require extra patience and due diligence on your part.
If the customer did actually visit your business but is giving a false report of their experience, then it's best to keep it short and sweet. And remember, regardless of how unprofessional they are, the way that you handle these reviews is so crucial.
"Hi (insert name), while we appreciate your sharing your feedback, we've gone back and researched the situation and what you're reporting doesn't appear to be accurate. (Depending on the situation, it's up to you as to how much information you want to share but remember, stick to the facts). And then, go back to one of the responses from Situation B.
If you can't find any record of the customer, again, keep your response very short and sweet.
"Hi (insert name), we can't actually find any record of you visiting our business. Could you please call us at your earliest convenience at (insert phone number) and ask for (insert name) so that we can get some additional information about your experience? Customer service is our top priority so we look forward to hearing from you.
As we mentioned, there are steps to take with Google to have it removed from your profile but it’s not always easy. This is why it’s crucial to respond to each review so future customers can see that you monitor and care about your customer’s experiences.
Questions? Send me an email at kellywooley@314-solutions, I'd love to help.
Missed Part 1: How to increase your businesses positive Google reviews?