The Comprehensive Guide to Google Customer Reviews

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Swetha Amaresan
Swetha Amaresan



The latest research into zero-click searches — searches where the user does not click through into any search results — shows that 25.6% of desktop searches and 17.3% of mobile searches were zero-click in 2022. When users are looking at results rather than clicking them, tools like Google Customer Reviews become more crucial than ever.

google reviews

According to research from BrightLocal, 87% of consumers used Google reviews in 2022 to evaluate a local business — a rise from 81% in 2021. Couple those numbers with the fact that Google was cited as the most trusted source of reviews by consumers, and the importance of this platform for customer feedback is clear.

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 are.

Table of Contents

Download Now: 20 Review Response Templates

google customer reviews; restaurant rating for Montien Thai Restaurant

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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.

google customer review example

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Why Google Reviews Matter

1. Consumers trust Google reviews.

There are a ton of review sites out there where customers can leave their feedback. So, why are Google reviews so important?

Google is the most trusted source for online reviews. According to research from Reviewtracker, 63% of consumers read Google reviews, 45% go to Yelp, and a quarter refer to Tripadvisor and Facebook.

2. Your Google reviews influence purchasing decisions.

Reviews provide social proof and verification to consumers that the products, services, and businesses they’re considering are trustworthy.

Those Google reviews that customers peruse before making a decision have a direct impact on what they do next. Trustmary found that when website visitors see customer reviews on the site, online conversions for eCommerce websites were 67% higher.

3. Reviews influence other marketing channels.

The number and quality of your Google reviews directly impact your website’s position in the search results. This is true of both your local “Map Pack” listings and your site’s general position in organic search results.

Studies by Moz have found that your Google reviews account for approximately 15.44% of your overall SEO score, while negative reviews can hamper your search positions.

How do 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 and a product review.

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.

seller ratings on Google Customer Reviews

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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:

  1. Sign in to your Merchant Center Account or create one.
  2. Then, choose Merchant Center Programs from the dropdown menu on the top right-hand corner.
  3. Click Get Started in the Google Customer Reviews card and agree to the Program Agreement.
  4. 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.

When it comes to erroneous views, you’ll want to do all you can to delete the reviews from Google. A good example would be a customer mistakenly leaving a review for your business, when they meant to leave it on another Google Business profile entirely.

2. Create social media accounts to connect with customers.

If your customers can only base their reviews 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. 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.

How to Increase (and Improve) Your Google Customer Reviews

1. Provide exceptional quality and customer service.

When it comes to online reviews, there is no getting around the fact that your business needs to deliver on its promises. Negative experiences, whether it’s the quality and timeliness of your products or the service provided by staff, lead to negative reviews.

If you’re getting a steady flow of reviews but want to enhance your average rating, it’s time to turn the lens inwards. Pay attention to themes in your negative reviews, and address any operational aspects of the business that are contributing to below-average scores.

2. Ask for the reviews directly.

There’s nothing wrong with asking your customers for feedback directly. A large proportion of consumers are more than willing to leave reviews, even unprompted. A report from Service Direct found that 71% of consumers will submit a review after they’ve had a positive experience and if the business makes it easy for them to do so.

Asking for feedback and reviews in your email marketing after an e-commerce purchase or at the POS in your physical stores is a surefire way to remind willing customers to take that step. You can also train your staff to ask for reviews as part of their standard protocol when serving customers.

3. Make it easy for customers to leave feedback.

Don’t make your customers go hunting for a place to leave positive feedback. Make sure your business is easily found on Google, and include links and calls-to-action for your Google Business profile in your email marketing, in signage at physical locations, and on your website.

4. Show off your positive reviews

Many businesses find that reviews start out as a small trickle. But as the volume increases, the number of reviews becomes a regular, reliable flow to your Google My Business profile.

The more you can highlight that your business already has lots of positive reviews, the more encouraged your customers will be to leave their own reviews.

This can include printed signage of your most positive reviews displayed in your brick-and-mortar locations. It can also mean using a plugin to display your most recent Google reviews directly on your website.

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.

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