With zero-click searches — where the results are solved directly on the search engine results page — rising to almost 65% in 2020, it now means that Google Customer Reviews is the biggest source of online reviews.
In this guide, we focus on Google Customer Reviews and how you can respond to reviews there. But first, let’s start with an overview of what Google Customer Reviews is.
What is Google Customer Reviews?
This program allows employers to collect feedback from users who've made purchases on their websites. A company's Google Customer Reviews rating helps users recognize which businesses are reputable and quality.
My favorite restaurant in Boston is Montien Thai Restaurant, which is shown in the example above. As you can see, when you search a business on Google Maps, you can immediately view their rating — which, for Montien, is a pretty impressive 4.2 stars — and the number of Google Customer Reviews written. Upon clicking on "687 Reviews," you can view the bar chart that displays approximately how many one, two, three, four, and five-star ratings this business got. Below that chart is a list of all the reviews any user can read.
How Does Google Customer Reviews Work?
After a customer purchases on your website, they will receive an option to opt-in for an email from Google requesting feedback on their experience purchasing from you. If the customer decides to opt-in, they may receive an email after their order has been delivered to comment on their experience using the purchase.
Each rating is collected and added to your overall rating, which is displayed on your optional website badge, in your Merchant Center dashboard, and in other areas.
There are four main features in the Google Customer Reviews program.
1. Google Customer Reviews Opt-in
This option is offered to all customers after completing a purchase on your site. In addition, all customers who opt-in may receive a follow-up email post-purchase.
2. Google Customer Reviews Survey
After opting in, customers may receive this survey in an email. The survey is formatted as a brief questionnaire that helps customers rate their experience with the store.
3. Google Customer Reviews Badge
You can place this optional badge on any page of your site to help visitors associate your company with Google. It will show a rating between one and five stars.
4. Seller Ratings
Seller ratings are the total rating score that appears on Search Ads, Shopping ads, and the optional Google Customer Reviews badges.
Seller ratings are an extension type that automatically reveals advertisers with higher ratings. The data for seller ratings are gathered from reliable customer review sources—such as Google Customer Reviews—and help customers find quality and trustworthy businesses.
Now that you understand how influential Google Customer Reviews is, it's all the more essential that you follow practices that will garner you the best possible reviews. Here are some steps you can take to ensure you provide a great customer experience and, thus, get as many positive reviews as possible.
How to Set Up Google Customer Reviews
It’s pretty straightforward:
- Sign in to your Merchant Center Account or create one.
- Then choose Merchant Center Programs from the dropdown menu on the top right-hand corner.
- Click Get Started in the Google Customer Reviews card and agree to the Program Agreement.
- Add the survey opt-in code to your website
5 Simple Steps to Getting Positive Google Customer Reviews
We’ve talked about how to ask for and get customer reviews in an earlier post, but here’s how to get Google customer reviews:
1. Respond to all reviews immediately.
Regardless of whether the review is positive or negative, you should have a designated person or team who's in charge of responding to Google Customer Reviews as soon as possible.
While not as urgent as negative reviews, you should respond to positive reviews quickly. You want to show that you are grateful to the customers who took the time to fill out the Google Customer Reviews survey and give you a glowing review. A simple "thank you" can encourage them to make a repeat purchase.
Negative reviews require thoughtful, immediate responses. The longer a negative review sits without reply, the more prospects will read the review and make up their own opinions about your business based on it. The best thing to do with a negative review is to thank the customer for taking the time to give feedback and offer to move the conversation off of Google Customer Reviews and onto a phone call or email exchange. That way, prospective customers will see that you weren't quick to point fingers, but you can also move what could be an angry conversation onto a private platform.
2. Create social media accounts to connect with customers.
If your customers can only base their review on their experience with your site, it can really be a hit or miss. However, offering other options for interacting with those customers will give them more to discuss in their reviews.
Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are great platforms for answering questions and responding to customer complaints. Using social media helps you communicate better with your customers and increases your chances of getting positive Google reviews.
3. Aim for a percentage, not a number.
The more reviews you get, the higher the chance of negative ones. No matter how hard you work to provide a satisfactory customer experience, there will always be some people who have had one negative experience or make mountains out of molehills.
As your number of reviews grows, allow more flexibility in the types of reviews you're receiving. And that’s why it's best to maintain a goal percentage of positive reviews rather than a goal number.
Let's say your company wants to attain 80% positive reviews. Whether you have eight out of ten glowing reviews and only two negative ones — or 800 out of 1,000 with a whopping 200 complaints — you can feel accomplished in hitting and maintaining your target.
4. Display the Google Customer Reviews badge on your site.
Google Customer Reviews gives you the option to add a badge to any page of your website, showcasing your average rating. Simply seeing that impressive number on your site will surely entice many prospects to trust and purchase from your business.
Naturally, if your rating is not-so-great, you may not want to place the badge on your site. However, a low rating should only light a fire under your business to do more for its customers. By striving to reach the day when you can proudly display the badge on your website, your company will continue to reconsider its customer experience strategy.
5. Be kind and patient.
Remember to always remain kind and avoid going on defense when someone leaves you a harsh review that hurts your rating.
Instead, step into their shoes, and try to imagine what could have led them to give you such negative feedback. Often, this kind of feedback helps companies re-align their objectives and attain greater success. So, always thank them and actually consider their feedback.
In addition, be as patient as you can. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and companies don't receive stellar ratings overnight. It takes hard work and a lot of dedication to your customers to get a five-star rating.
Great Google Reviews Come With Time
While you wait to build your rating, resist the urge to hunt for new tricks to convince customers to give you positive reviews.
Manipulation isn't going to get you where you want to be. Instead, steady perseverance, belief in your cause and products, and a genuine desire to improve the lives of your target audience will.Editor's note: This post was originally published in October 2018 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.