Getting rated – and staying well-rated – on Google is not quite as simple as it seems – if you don’t want to harm your business’s reputation in the attempt.
Like a lot of decisions in business it boils down to ‘Do we do it ourselves or do we retain professional help?’
So here we examine the alternatives – and their pros and cons:
Doing it yourselves
In the same way that some businesses do their own accounts or manage their own legal issues, it is possible to do your own review management. Here’s how:
Strategy: Invite all your customers to write a review on Google
Pros: by inviting all of your customers to write a review you will avoid accusations of cherry-picking.
Cons: human nature being what it is, your dissatisfied customers are much more likely to write a review than your happy customers. If you hand-pick happy customers to write reviews it won’t be long before you find your competitors are pointing that out.
We have seen refinements of this approach. Some businesses have worked out that they can invite customers to write reviews to an independent review site and then invite those who have written positive reviews to copy them to Google. This strategy is simply a refinement of cherry-picking (and, as such, just as vulnerable to criticism).
Remember: it is your business’s reputation that is a stake. Be very wary of adopting any short-term strategy that may backfire in the medium to long term.
Adopting professional review management
Strategy: Invite all your customers to write a review to your own website. Then invite them to copy that review to Google.
Pros: you get independently verified reviews – as opposed to testimonials – to show on your own website; you get an opportunity to engage with reviewers who have posted inaccurate or misleading reviews pre-publication (although the reviewer must always retain the right to publish) and you get credible reviews on Google.
Cons: if you don’t look after your customers properly this strategy will backfire – you will get negative reviews.
Remember: You need to be sure your own customer relationship management is in good shape before you embark on this strategy. Not perfect – no business is, and professional review management allows for this, but as good as you can make it.
What else will a review management consultancy do?
Like any other professional service, they make it their business to understand, and be up-to-date with, all areas of their expertise:
- understanding Google, G+, Google for Business and how they all relate to reviews
- knowing how all the independent reviews sites operate – from massive sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor to specialist sites focusing on specific business niches
- knowing response and appeals mechanisms inside-out
- being constantly aware of the strengths and weaknesses of all the alternative solutions
- being ahead of the curve with new techniques and solutions
Ultimately, it is very simple:
We need to be able to reassure our clients that, month by month, year-on-year, that they are far better off employing a professional review management service. Our review management service.
We want you to feel like Paul Grover at Winkworth: