Google Now Offers Various Ways to Handle Online Reviews
If you’re in business long enough, you’re bound to get some feedback—some of it positive, but some of it negative. And, in the era of online review sites, that feedback can be tough to ignore. As such, business owners are smart to consider different strategies for responding to their online notices—including both the flattering and the not-so-flattering ones. Indeed, Google now offers some expanded options for weighing in on your reviews.
Responding to Google ReviewsThanks to some recent changes, businesses can now reply to their Google reviews on the desktop version of Google Maps. Before, it was only possible to reply on the Google My Business website or on the Google My Business app. In other words, there are some new ways to directly comment on the reviews your business receives—though some of the same limitations still apply. (Your business profile has to be verified by Google, in other words.) If you do log in to respond to one of your reviews, you may also notice that Google’s produced a new guide to help deal with negative feedback; it’s definitely worth a look.
The Best Ways to Respond to Bad ReviewsWhat the Google document will remind you is that just because you get bad reviews, that doesn’t mean you have a bad business. The customer may have had the wrong expectations, or have been having a bad day. No matter how unreasonable you think your reviews are, however, it’s important to always respond with professionalism. Simply put, flying off the handle and yelling at one of your customers is only going to make you look petty, and your business could suffer as a result. As for what Google specifically recommends, here’s a summary:
- Don’t attack the reviewer personally, or disclose their personal data—but do invite them to contact you directly to work out the problem.
- Investigate some of the reasons why the reviewer may have a bad impression of your business.
- Take responsibility for anything you did that may have been wrong, but don’t apologize for things that are beyond your control.
- Apologize for the bad experience, being as empathetic as possible.
- Sign the review with your real name or initials, showing that you’re a real person!
- Remember to be polite! No lashing out or being mean!
- Respond to negative reviews as quickly as possible.