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 local businesses with no prompting or requests required. Of course, 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 Google 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 you make a review request a standard part of your process whenever you close out a sale with a customer.
Step 2: Use a variety of request methods
There are plenty of ways to ask for reviews. Some local businesses ask customers who visit the business to leave feedback while on-site using tools such as Kiosk Mode, while others focus on driving reviews using Reputation Manager’s Link Mode to capture feedback from receipts, via SMS, on your website, or beyond. Google has also recently relaunched their Marketing Kit, allowing local businesses to create social posts, posters, and stickers from existing reviews, as well as helping to get more Google reviews.
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 customer 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 3: 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 4: Respond to all customer reviews
Once your reviews start to grow, setting aside time to reply to all of the feedback 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 that contextualizes feedback for future readers.