How to ask customers for Google My Business reviews
In a perfect world, consumers—recognizing their own desire for reviews when they shop—would leave a review for your business with no prompting or request required after interacting with you. This often isn’t the case, so you will need to know how to get Google reviews without falling foul of Google My Business policies concerning review gating.
Google will remove reviews that it considers to be fake, spammy or in violation of its content policies, so rather than wasting your time trying to shortcut your way to local business reviews, read on for a step-by-step guide to generating Google reviews the right way.
Step 1. Fold Google My Business reviews into your process
As much as GMB reviews benefit your brand from a search perspective, they’re also incredibly useful tools for staff training and product development. You can use the comments submitted within a review to improve the overall customer experience and pinpoint consistent niggles or customer favorites over time.
This will allow you to steadily improve your offering, making changes when needed, to further cement positive relationships with your customers. These benefits can only be accessed, however, when make a review request a standard part of your process whenever you close out a sale with a customer.
Step 2. Don’t assume your customers know how to leave a review
It’s a mistake to assume that your customers will know how to leave Google reviews simply because they found you via the search engine. Provide an easy-to-follow guide on your website and/or within your review request, with screenshots and easy-to-follow instructions for anyone not familiar with Google reviews.
Step 3. Use a variety of request methods
When you hit on a request method that results in a quick spike in your local business reviews it can be easy to become reliant on that method alone. Try not to get stuck in this mindset as it can mean you’re not reaching some customers—just because one client clicks on a standard email request, it doesn’t mean the next one will. Try phone calls and face-to-face requests, too, to ensure that you’re using a variety of communication channels.
Step 4. Respond to all reviews
Once your reviews start to build, setting aside time to reply to all comments becomes more important. When you have the odd review, it’s easy to quickly respond, but if your review generation strategy is successful and your reviews grow in number, it’s useful to set aside a fixed period of time each day (such as first thing in the morning or right before the afternoon coffee break) to respond to the latest reviews.
The speed with which you respond to a review, and the number of reviews with responses, has been shown to be a local pack ranking factor. It also demonstrates to others who may be considering leaving a review that their feedback will be acknowledged and appreciated.
It’s much harder to respond to negative reviews than it is to deal with glowing recommendations but that shouldn’t put you off leaving a polite, professional response.