Google is one of the most powerful information sources on the planet – and it could crush your business in a day.
A 2013 BrightLocal survey with 2,100 responses found that 85% of people use online reviews to research local businesses. Even more important, Zendesk found that 90% of people are actually influenced by those online reviews.
So the question stands, how can your local business acquire positive reviews on sites like Google?
There are no secret tricks or black hat tactics that your business can practice in order to get better Google Reviews. It really boils down to your business brand – which leads us to our first tip.
DON’T ever let finances or operations get in the way of running a customer-first business.
As a business owner or manager it’s [really] easy to get wrapped up in the day-to-day hustle and bustle – but you can never forget about your customers.
While our team at Good Monster is all for transparency and honesty, you can never let the ups and downs of business negatively affect your business ability to serve your customers.
And don’t ever let your emotions come into play when responding to social media or online reviews.
If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all. Think of something quickly, before they go to your competitor.
DO operate as a customer-cherishing business
The most important thing that your business can be, is caring for its customers. It is THE most important thing.
Solving people’s problems comes before making money, reducing costs, marketing, sales, and just about everything else.
In fact, if your company is not solving problems – you might want to start looking for a new job.
DON’T beg for good reviews
This is just a bad idea all around.
First, it shows your customers that you have a hidden agenda and are apparently using them for their reviews. Second, if you do it publicly (ie. give a good review and we will give you a prize) it shows everyone else that you have to ask for reviews, and cannot get them organically.
DO let your customers know that they can review your business on Google
I am not saying you can’t ask for reviews, you just have to do it in person or privately – and you should piggyback on people’s great experiences. For example, if you own a gym and someone just lost 50 lbs after 3 months of working out, you should say: We are so proud of you – would you want to share your story with the world in a Google review by chance?
Hopefully they will say yes because they are pumped about their results.
DON’T get in a digital war with anyone who gives a negative review
As I said earlier, don’t let your emotions get in the way of loving your customers. I know you are passionate about your business – I mean it’s literally your whole world. But if someone leaves a bad review, you absolutely can NOT retaliate.
Any weaknesses in your customer service department will open more than just a can of worms. People will feed off the negativity and dish it right back 1000 fold; especially online.
DO offer something amazing to people who had a bad experience at your business
Instead use this as an opportunity to show that person, and the entire online community that your business cares more about them than anything else in the world.
If they received a broken product, send them two new ones in the mail free of charge.
If they had a hair in the food, reply that you are requiring all cooks to wear hair nets from now on, and you are giving them and two of their friends a free 3-course meal.
If they had a car repair done at your shop, and their brakes failed – you might want to call a lawyer.
DON’T make it hard for your customers to communicate their problem with you
Make it as easy as possible for people to directly contact you or your customer service department. The longer their problem goes unattended, the more likely they are to go to Google to vent their frustrations for everyone to see.
DO be transparent with your efforts to fix their problems (it’s good PR)
As I said above, be transparent in your efforts to fix their problem. Remember, the more public your efforts, the more people can see how much you care.
This above and beyond attitude towards your customers will pay off in branding and eventually, sales.
DON’T leave the customer service up to the personalities who work for you
Everyone has their own personalities and agenda, and it’s nearly impossible to know what sets people off. Leaving customer responses up to an untrained customer service team is a disaster waiting to happen.
Make sure that everyone in your company who has any contact with potential customers is well-trained on not only how to handle different situations, but more importantly, what your company’s core message is.
A core message is a simple description of your company’s purpose in life.
DO demand that your employees follow strict customer interaction guidelines
In the book Made to Stick, author’s Chip and Dan Heath explain how Southwest Airlines’ core message, THE low-cost airline, shapes their entire business – from corporate investing all the way down to in-flight food.
Make sure your entire company eats, breathes, and lives by your core message to ensure that your customers get the same love no matter who they speak with.
By simply paying attention to your customers – their problems and what makes them happy – you can greatly increase your chances of getting great reviews on Google.
If you get a negative review, which you probably will at some point, respond with grace and authenticity to turn their frown upside down.
Go way beyond an apology, and you will probably get a new customer (and their friends) for life.