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The Power of Having (Google) Reviews

Customer review concept on tablet screen with office objects

Contributed by Alyssa Peiser 

When I am looking to purchase a product, find a new hairdresser or dentist, one of the first things I do is check the reviews – what are other consumers saying their experience has been. I tend to read them all – the highs and the lows to get a really good sense for the product/service. I tend to take people’s reviews pretty honestly – there is little they gain from fudging a review (whether negatively or positively). And if a business has no reviews, I am less likely overall to purchase.

How many people look to online reviews to guide their decisions? A 2017 BrightLocal  study shows that 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations – and positive reviews make 73% of consumers trust a local business more. Having positive reviews, particularly on Google, is one way to set yourself apart from the competition. It takes very little effort and is a no cost marketing strategy. Win-win!

Here are a few tips we recommend when it comes to Google reviews. (These apply to ANY review site – Yelp, Facebook, etc. but focusing on Google as it is one of the more prominent).

  1. Ask for reviews! The majority of people that are asked for review will leave one. One caveat: do not “bribe” for reviews – this is against Google policy.
  2. As in-house: if a patient had a good visit or a customer was satisfied with the product you provided, ask them as soon as you can. Being proactive is always better than having to be reactive.
  3. When you do have to be reactive (it happens to the best of us), address the issue and seek to understand and fix it. Do not engage negatively – respond graciously, offer to address or make the issue right, but don’t start a Twitter fight.
  4. In the event of a poor review/issue, this is a perfect time to restate your brand values and your core mission. In fact, if I see a negative review has been addressed by someone from the company, I’m more apt to give the benefit of the doubt.
  5.  Be active in responding- not just to negative reviews, but thanking clients for positive reviews as well.
  6. Consider sending a follow up email or implementing a review management system (or utilizing your marketing team to monitor). Google will flag an IP address so you can’t ask for a review on site. You can easily make a short link (like Bitly) and stick it in a branded email – some software management systems have these kinds of emails built into their programs.

If you aren’t already implementing a review campaign, we strongly recommend this! These can be some of your best referrals – your current client base sharing their positive experiences. Lots of people have positive experiences and would happily be your ambassador – all you have to do is ask!