In Part One of our Google Search for Businesses series we talked about claiming and optimizing your listing, and the importance of accuracy and updates. For part two we’ll discuss how online reviews play a big part in a consumer’s path to purchase journey, as well as the importance of monitoring franchises’ reviews closely.

google my business infographic reviewsClean Up Your Franchise Coordination

Your business will look messy and unprofessional if some franchises are interacting with customers and have a strong connection through social media but other locations are virtually invisible. When potential customers see a uniformity throughout franchises’ online presence they are more than likely to trust that business over the competition.

One Bad Egg Can Take Away Business

Similarly, if one franchise isn’t responding to customers as others are then potential customers could see that as a problem stemming from corporate. that will lead them to the competition. In this digital age, one franchise’s problem doesn’t solely affect that singular location, one Google search can color someone’s decision, even from the other side of the country.

You Can Be Certain – They’re Reading You’re Reviews

Online reviews affect Google’s search rankings, which influence consumers on whether or not to choose your business. Monitoring your online reviews AND engaging/responding to them is vital to success.

You may even be able to turn a negative review around! When potential customers see that the business owner took the time to address both happy and unhappy customers, and they typically come to the conclusion that the business cares about its customers, thus encouraging them to visit your business.

5 Tips for Responding to Online Reviews

Responding to positive reviews is the easy part. How you respond to negative reviews is crucial to bringing in new customers. Here are a few tips to get you started.

1. Respond in a Professional Manner

Reading a negative comment about your business probably causes your instincts to rush into “fight-mode.” It’s only natural to want to defend your business, but lashing out definitely won’t help you.

Whatever you do, don’t blame anyone involved. Respond in a balanced, appropriate and professional way. Potential customers will appreciate that you responded professionally and consider this when making a purchase decision.

2. Be Brief in your Response

Try a simple “We apologize for your experience. Please contact us at xxx-xxxx and ask for a manager so we can assist you further.” You have now taken action toward moving the conversation offline, which can help avoid problems down the line.

3. Consider Each Review

It’s crucial to investigate reviews that raise any questions, because it’s plausible that a customer interaction could have gone poorly. Talk with your staff about the review and make note of any suggestions, tips, questions or problems that arise. After all, your customers might be giving you some valuable information that you normally overlook.

There's nothing a customer wants to see more than those 5-star ratings in search Click To Tweet

4. Designate One Person to Do Your Responding

Designate one trusted employee (if you don’t personally handle it) and go over how you would like them to respond to each type of review. This will keep the headache away from you until it is necessary to intervene.

5. Bonus: Google Delivers all Your Google Reviews in One Place

If you have more than one location, Google My Business 3.0 now allows you to log in to one portal to manage reviews for additional locations.

And don’t forget: your customers can now review your business on multiple platforms such as Yelp, Trip Advisor, Zomato, Angie’s List, and many more. Be certain you are paying attention to each site, because customers will be looking for 5-star ratings in their search.

Don’t worry if your current rating is 3 stars, you can quickly turn that around by asking your customers for online reviews. You might be surprised that a customer will give you a great review just for being kind and helpful during a bad experience.  Here are a few tips from Google. 

Next week we will finish our Google Search for Businesses series with Part 3: Achieving the “Three-Pack” listing on mobile search.

Looking for assistance with your online reviews and reputation? Contact us today to get started.