Google announced today that they are now allowing businesses to respond to reviews on Google Places.
This is great news, because online reviews are increasingly important for consumers. The ability to respond gives you some control over how your business is portrayed.
One caveat is that this only applies to reviews written on maps.google.com – if the review was pulled in from a third party site, you will need to address the issue there.
How To Respond To Reviews
This is a two-part answer – first we’ll look at how to access and write your response, then consider what you might want to say.
Creating a Response In Google Places
Google’s describes how to create a response here.
You need to login to your Google Places Page (the place must already be claimed). Scroll down to the reviews section, and there will be a link to Respond Publicly as the Owner. The screen will look like this:
What Is a Good Response?
Google also has a helpful guide for how to respond here.
Essentially, you want to stay professional, and be careful with negative reviews.
A few ideas for how to respond based on the type of review:
- For negative reviews – You’re unlikely to change a customer’s opinion, but can at least show that you care. Apologize for any problems or for their having a bad experience. If you did something to fix the situation or have subsequently improved, you can mention this – just be careful not to sound combative or to portray the customer in a negative light.
- For positive reviews – Many of the best businesses are very good about offering a thank you for the review, perhaps adding something about a highlight the customer mentioned.
- For middling reviews – Thank the reviewer for doing business with you, and consider addressing negative issues (for instance, I’m sorry service was unacceptably slow, we always strive to serve customers as quickly as possible. I’ll look into what happened that night to make sure we are in the future).
As another option, remember that you can also report reviews as inappropriate. Google will not allow you to remove reviews just because they are critical, but will take off reviews that violate their guidelines.