Today, about 90% of consumers say they trust online reviews just as much as they trust personal recommendations. This plays a huge role in your brand’s success, which is why review management should be one of your top priorities. It also plays an important role in how Google ranks your business, accounting for about 15.44% of your ranking according to Whitespark’s Darren Shaw– an increase of about 5% since 2015.
The Official Stance Taken by Google When Responding to Reviews
The Google My Business support page recommends businesses engage with their customers who leave reviews by replying to them. This type of review management shows lets your customers know that you value them. Google My Business also admits that positive reviews improve your visibility in local SEO and thus may increase the amount of traffic you receive from it since you’re building trust. Remember, Google strives to only share highly credible businesses and by responding to both praises and complaints you’re showing that you’re credible. Google will then respond favorably by encouraging people to visit you.
Responding to Every Review
Clearly, the best way to build trust with your clientele is to reply to their reviews – both the positive and the negative ones. This demonstrates that you’re committed to providing customer satisfaction. When you don’t respond to these reviews, your customer churn may increase by 15%. Customer reviews clearly are no longer just a one-way flow of information. You must be willing to interact and engage with customers though.
When you reply to negative reviews, you may create positive results. According to research, 33% of customers who got a reply to their negative comment eventually posted a positive review and 34% of them also deleted their original review.
Creating Your Review Management System
Trip Advisor conducted a study in 2018 showing that hotels who responded to their reviews received an increase of .12 stars or 12%, which reaffirms the importance of replying to reviews. Doing so increases both customer retention and local SEO rankings. However, your business must do more than simply respond. Yotpo’s conducted a consumer loyalty survey in 2018 whereby they found that customers expect a response from the brand within 24 hours. This requires you to have a solid strategy with the right tools in place. Once you do, you’ll want to make sure that you:
- Thank your customer for their compliment, their business, and the time they took to write you a review
- Be specific because customers appreciate a personalized touch
- Encourage customers to return for new products or simply tell them you’re anxious to see them again
- When it comes to responding to negative reviews you should:
- Tell them thanks for providing you with their honest feedback, apologizing for their unsatisfactory experience then use the information to help improve your business
- Remember you’re in public so you don’t want to blame or argue with the customer
- Encourage the customer to talk with you offline where you can get additional information to make sure the situation doesn’t occur again and give them help to rectify their issue
- Only say what must be said so that things are handled as nice and as fast as possible
Taking the time to create and invest in a review management strategy is the best way for you to improve your local SEO so you can move up in the SERPs. Google confirms that this will happen so you should take them seriously and make sure you have the tools you need to accomplish this. The Local SEO Company has helped brands and businesses screen and manage their reviews for quite some time now. When you’re ready to put a review management system in place and watch your local SEO improve, contact them.