Google Allows Businesses to Respond to Consumer Reviews

Life-saverTo any company, reputation management is an immensely important part of online marketing. With the accessibility consumers have to reviews for products and services, all it takes is one “slightly unsatisfied” customer to make a major dent in your online marketing efforts. The development of consumer-driven forums that are designed to increase consumer-to-consumer referrals are a double-edged sword. If your customers are happy with your business, they could influence other potential sales, but if you have left just one customer wanting more, their review could draw more negative attention to future prospects than 1,000 positive reviews can.

Google Places

Google features one of the largest forums for customer reviews through its Places Pages on Google Maps. This function allows consumers to search through listings for local businesses that are assembled on a search list according to the keywords a consumer enters into a search query. For example, if the consumer lives in St. Paul, Minnesota and enters the phrase “Plumbers” into Google, a separate section of the results will show plumbers that are located close to the area of where the search was initiated, before it shows the standard search results. These listings come equipped with customer reviews that are usually written by customers in the area.

Before, the customer reviews were subjected to the opinion of the consumer. This put a huge risk on company reputation management, because if one customer wasn’t happy with your business, everyone would be able to read why and there wasn’t a lot you could do about it to counterbalance the negative review and protect yourself as a business. Even worse, if a competitor wanted to tarnish your company reputation, all they would have to do is write a review stating that they were displeased with your services. The majority of people online value negative reviews more than they value positive reviews, which means that one little blurb could mean a significant amount of ruined sales attempts with potential prospects.

How You Can Improve Your Reputation

As a way to balance out the distribution of power for customer reviews, Google now includes a section where a business could respond to any reviews on their listings. This means that if you receive a bad review, you can take the time to correct it, so that future potential customers can see that customer service is your top priority. You now have the means to avoid any complications that might be a result of a negative consumer review. No longer are customer reviews the end all factor that decides your business’ fate. Take a proactive approach to the customer reviews that are featured on Google’s local listings and preserve the integrity of your business.

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