Reviews establish trustworthiness of a business and its products & services and also indicate credibility when people see your listings on search engines like Google as well as aggregators and marketplaces like Amazon. Fierce competition has kept e-commerce businesses on their toes to stay relevant in the market, carve a niche & fathom the customer sentiment through their feedbacks and reviews.
We recommend encouraging Google Review submissions as much as possible. Not only do positive reviews bestow credibility, but they also tell Google your company’s website is worth redirecting searchers to. It also gives the customers a way to express their opinions (& recommendations) about the products they have bought online. Google user reviews help to gauge how a product/service is faring among its users.
What is Google Customer Reviews?
Google Customer Reviews is Google’s free program which enables it to collect valuable feedback from customers. It allows the customers to rate & review their entire shopping experience with Google’s partners who participate in the program.
The feedback provided by the customers is used by Google to determine the seller ratings of merchants. Obviously, the higher the rating, the more credible the merchant is.
Importance of Google Customer Reviews
- Successfully leveraging Google Customer Reviews helps businesses build ‘social proof’ which draws more customers. It creates a positive image of your brand among people, a brand which they can trust & which can provide satisfying shopping experience.
- Customer feedback is vital to direct product improvement. The users of the product know the product inside out and they can help you identify shortcomings which may need patching.
- As a customer, the ratings garnered by the brands help you decide which brand to trust when buying a product or service. The star rating of a brand is a good indication of its trustworthiness and a good rating comes from a lot of positive reviews.
- The good feedback collected through Google Customer Reviews enhances the product rating which in turn appears in both organic as well as paid results.
- You can display your website’s aggregate rating as a badge which is, in a way, a proof of the authority of your business, instills trust among potential customers and drives conversion.
So how do I leave a Google Customer Review?
- After the customer has received the order placed by him/her online, Google sends them an email which asks them to opt-in to receive a survey specifically designed to gather their purchase experience.
- Those customers who choose to opt-in are presented with the survey which consists of a star rating (1 to 5 stars) system. In case the customer wishes to share more about the shopping experience, space for comments is provided.
- Finally, after the customer hits ‘submit’, Google aggregates the survey information furnished therein to form a star rating for the seller (or its product which you bought) which in turn is displayed on their website and also comes up in the organic and paid search results.
Google collects the customer’s order ID, email, Google account information, country, order delivery date and GTIN (Global Trade Item Number) included in the customer’s order. GTIN helps to identify the product the review data pertains to.
If the customer was signed in to their Google Account when the survey was sent, then the review provided by the customer gets associated with that account and it also appears publicly in Google’s Service across the web where others can view it.
If you wish to collect customer feedback about your product/service, you should have a Google Merchant account. Then, you need to add a few optional lines of code (which must be added to both your desktop and mobile sites) to integrate the survey opt-in module in your website.
A sample of the survey opt-in code is shown ahead.
This will enable Google to display the Google Customer Review survey invite to customers when they hit ‘checkout’ on your website.
You can even customize the placement of this survey invite although it is advised to place it at the page’s center.
What can I do with submitted Google user reviews?
Well, here are few suggestions for you.
- Put them on your website: If you have an abundance of reviews about your products/services, the folks at the best digital marketing companies would definitely suggest, for starters, to publish those reviews on your website.
It will help you garner customers’ trust & boost the transparency of your business.
- Business listings: Customers’ confidence in your brand increases if you include the Google Customer Reviews in all your business listings across the web on channels like Google My Business, Bing Places, Yahoo Localworks, Yelp, NextDoor etc.
- Find your niche & fortify it: Use the reviews to find where your brand belongs. The reviews coming from the customers from a broad spectrum of verticals will enable you to identify where the majority of your customer base is. Once you have identified the verticals, strengthen your brand’s bond with the customers already present on those verticals.
- Reinforce your SMM campaigns: As leads & customers are flocking the social media, it only makes sense to incorporate the Google user reviews in your SM marketing campaigns & leverage SM as a marketing tool. The team of experts at General Data, a digital marketing agency, can assist you to demonstrate the credibility & reputation of your business to potential customers.
- Include them into product roadmap: Incorporate the pain points raised in the Google customer reviews in your product roadmap. This helps to improve the market-fit of your product.
- Identify improvement areas: There are chances that your loyal users would’ve developed an expertise in your product’s features akin to that of your product managers. Such users’ reviews would give you priceless insights & new ideas which hitherto might have been unexplored by you or your teams. It would help your brand, occasionally, to stop brainstorming and heed to (& implement) those ideas/insights.
- Use the feedback to drive your team: Appreciation motivates like nothing else! If you come across a customer’s praise about a product’s feature, do convey that compliment to the team member who created that feature & ensure that the team knows it too. On the other hand, if the customer is griping about a feature, let the team member who created that feature directly talk to the dissatisfied customer. It will make the member feel in charge & also encourage him/her to take ownership in future.
- Prevent the churn: A negative feedback/review means the customer has expressed willingness to consider your brand and is outright willing to switch to another brand! Don’t lose this opportunity to check the customer churn by sweeping the negative feedback under the rug. Correctly addressing the issues underlying them can help you to convert the disgruntled customers into your brand’s vocal advocates. Take this as a chance to bolster customer relationship, as we discuss ahead.
Handling negative customer reviews
Although negative customer reviews can be detrimental to business, panic should not be the first response to those reviews.
The ideal response to a negative feedback/review is to not get one, but that is not just utopian but also unavoidable.
Experts at internet marketing services advise to consider those reviews as opportunities to demonstrate your company’s willingness & dedication to serve customers in the best way.
- It is crucial to acknowledge the negative review and get in touch with the concerned unsatisfied customer as soon as possible, ideally within 24 hours. If it is not acknowledged quickly, anyone reading it will end up believing it or forming an ill-informed opinion about your brand.
- Identify these aspects:
- Research about the customer (first-timer or a regular patron)
- What did they buy and when?
- Pull details of the relevant transaction history; go through the sale related email correspondence or customer service calls, if any.
- Respond promptly and keep to the point. Thank the customer for bringing the problem to your attention and giving you a chance to set things right. Take ownership of the issue, apologize to the customer, state how the issue will be fixed and follow through it till its resolution.
If needed, move the conversation to your customer care department where the customer can be given better attention & in a more conducive environment. Assure them that the issue won’t be repeated in future.
Be empathetic, pleasant & allow the customer to feel heard. It might even nudge the customer to change the review to a positive one in the end, turning into your brand ambassador.
- Google has posting guidelines to regulate inappropriate review content. If the review contains hate speech, threats, profanity or even violence, flag it & bring it to Google’s attention for removal.
- Advertising or spamming in reviews is not allowed. You can flag a review to Google for removal if it is marketing, say, a better deal offered by your competitor. You can also flag irrelevant (off topic) content.
- There are people who can send-in fake reviews also. Apologize for their dissatisfaction & state that there are no records of their transaction (or of them being a customer in the first place).
- You also have the option of submitting to Google a Google form for legal removal of a slanderous review. Positive reviews must outnumber the negative ones, so see to it that fraudulent reviews are removed.
Remember that it is not just about a particular negative feedback or review. Prospective customers go through these reviews & assess how you have addressed the issues.
It tells them about your reliability if something goes haywire. They see if you are leaving customers happy and satisfied. It is all about customer experience (CX) in the end.
Assisting businesses to leverage the power of Google Customer Reviews is accomplished daily by the experts at General Data. Our team can help increase the online visibility of your business & reach your business goals efficiently. Feel free to contact us to get a detailed account of the range of services (like SEO, DM, information management etc.) which we provide to organizations, enabling them to excel in their businesses.