8 Tips for Making the Most of Your Google Customer Reviews
Google reviews can be one of your business’s most valuable assets. According to a survey by Yeah Local, 91% of people read online reviews before deciding to contact a company. Because Google reviews are so prominently displayed, many potential customers are turning here first.
However, if you only have a handful of reviews, you’re going to inspire about as much confidence in your office than if you had a smattering (or avalanche) of negative reviews. Potential customers might wonder if your customers are staying quiet because they’re not moved enough to say something positive, or perhaps your office is too new or inexperienced to have gathered testimonials.
Either way, the number and content of your reviews can help inspire customers to press the click to call button or keep scrolling for another provider.
People also tend to trust reviews. They view them as unbiased, unlike advertising, which has a clear agenda and promotional message. When a potential customer reads a review, it’s almost like they’re getting inside information from a trusted friend. Reviews can be a powerful form of word of mouth that allows you to reach more people in a shorter amount of time than you could by merely relying on customers to sing your praises.
Generally speaking, the more reviews you have, the better, but you don’t have to have pages upon pages of testimonials before prospective customers click to visit your site. Most people will skim the first few reviews and make a decision. However, it’s also important to note that if your testimonials are old, customers will think twice about whether they should trust you. Therefore, we suggest having a long-term strategy go continuously work on getting reviews from customers.
There are a lot of clever ways to encourage customers to leave positive reviews, and there are numerous strategies you can use to distribute those reviews to a local audience. We’ll share our top tips in this guide on how to get the most and make the most out of your Google customer reviews.
Reward Employees for Reviews Mentioning Them Specifically
If you’ve ever read reviews for other businesses, you’ll often see mentions of employees who go above and beyond to provide a VIP customer experience. If you notice that one of your staff is consistently mentioned in reviews, consider rewarding them with something special that’s meaningful to them. It could be a gift card to their favorite restaurant, a certificate for a massage, or a day off with pay.
Not only do you get to recognize and reward employees who are exceptional at what they do, but you’re also letting them know that their exemplary service doesn’t go unnoticed or unappreciated. As a result, your staff will be even more motivated to roll out the red carpet for your customers.
Market Research About Customers’ Preferences
You might have considered conducting surveys among your customers. While these questionnaires can provide you with valuable information, how do you know if you’re asking the right questions or getting sincere and honest answers?
With a Google review, your customer is providing an unfiltered, open-ended answer to a question you might not have thought to ask. You’ll find out if the flowers in your lobby are appreciated or causing allergies. You’ll get insights about everything from your waiting room to the wording of your appointment reminders. Over time, you may even notice patterns emerge or common complaints or compliments about certain aspects of your business.
Consider this market research and learn from it to keep getting better and better.
Don’t Forget to Ask for Specifics
Though it’s frowned upon to incentivize customers to leave a review, there’s no rule against asking someone to write a review of your business.
Google reviews that are specific are going to benefit your business far more than a review that says, “this place is great”.
Often, people don’t think to share their feedback unless they’re upset. By asking satisfied customers to share their experience about a specific service you’ll get reviews that help potential customers make the decision to become a customer, and specific reviews will also help improve your ranking in Google Maps for that term as well.
If you want to gather specific data about an aspect of your office, consider adding prompts in your message that requests the review. For example, you could say something on your flyers or in your emails like, “What do you think of our new office location? Let us know by sharing a review!”
Share Reviews on Your Social Channels
Just because a customer left a review on Google doesn’t mean you can’t repurpose it. Why not share it on social channels like Instagram, Facebook, Google My Business Posts and LinkedIn. In addition to sharing the reviews as a status update, you can also work with a graphic designer to create images with snippets of the testimonial.
As you compile your social media calendar, you may even want to have one day a week that’s designated to a customer success story or a testimonial from a happy customer. It could be Testimonial Tuesday, for example, and you could share it as a post or even have one of your staff members or business owners share the testimonial on video and use it as an Instagram or Facebook story.
As the social media algorithms begin to favor video over images or text, you’ll stand out from the competition and get more organic reach by sharing these stories in video.
Include Reviews and Testimonials on Multiple Pages of Your Site
We mentioned repurposing your reviews for social media, and we also suggest displaying them on your website. You can even take it a step further and place them in strategic places throughout your site so that prospective customers can read reviews that are relevant to the service they’re seeking or any objections they might have prior to booking their first appointment.
For example, if you are a family dentist, you most likely have a page on your website that discusses kids dentistry. On that page, you can share one or more reviews from parents with kids who had a positive experience at your office. This will help put parents at ease when they schedule an appointment with your clinic. They’ll be reassured that the visit will be relatively painless, and their child will leave the office with clean teeth and a smile on their face.
Having reviews on multiple pages of your site also ensures that prospective customers will read glowing stories about your office no matter what page of the website they visit. Many potential customers won’t go out of their way to click over to a testimonial page, but if they’re looking at the page that has your office hours or directions to your clinic, they’ll probably also read a review, especially if it’s prominently displayed.
Provide a Link to Your Reviews on Your Web Site
Having your testimonials on your website is helpful, but we also recommend having a link to your reviews on Google. The reason is that the information on your site can be seen as biased, filtered or censored. As customers navigate your site, they’ll expect to see positive reviews, and they may even wonder if the reviews are legitimate or from verified customers.
We recommend having a badge or icon on your site that says, “Take a look at our Google reviews” with a link that takes site visitors to Google. It’s a lot harder to game Google reviews than it is to simply ask your web designer to include positive testimonials on your site. Therefore, a page of Google reviews that are overwhelmingly positive helps customers know that your office genuinely provides excellent service and care.
Share Reviews in Your Email Campaigns and Newsletters
Most likely, you’re sending customers and email subscribers weekly or monthly email newsletters with relevant information about your office. Why not share some of your recent reviews as well? By including snippets from Google reviews in your email campaigns, you’re helping to remind your customers why they came to see you in the first place. Including the reviews may even inspire your current customers to refer new clients to your office.
Respond to All of Your Reviews
Many offices make the mistake of thinking of reviews as a one-sided conversation where the customer shares their story, and that’s the end of it. However, we believe that reviews are an opportunity to share your side of the story as well. This concept applies to both positive and negative reviews.
Avoid only responding to negative reviews. You should also reply to positive reviews with a sincere thank you and a personalized message. For more information about best practices, refer to our article: How to Respond to Google Reviews for Your Business.
It goes without saying that the best way to ensure you get plenty of five-star reviews is to provide excellent service. When you and your staff are 100% committed to creating a VIP experience for every customer, people can’t help but want to share how much they love your office.
As your number of reviews grows and you begin to repurpose and share the content, keep in mind that this isn’t a “one and done” process or a “set it and forget it” model. Continuously collecting stories from your customers should be a top priority. Not only will it provide you with fresh content for social media and customer outreach, but you’ll also be able to confidently say that your service is the best in town.