Online customer reviews are one of the most vital parts of operating a business. Not only do they provide your company with invaluable feedback from a customer service perspective, but more than 60% of potential customers check Google reviews before they even visit your site. These online reviews and ratings are the first thing people see when they look up your business, so acquiring them is important. But what can you do when the feedback goes missing or has a negative effect on your rating?
Verify Your Business
Google Review is a free service that allows customers to leave their thoughts and opinions on the Google platform. All you need in order to do this is a Google account, and given the accessibility of the search engine, it is far more likely that a potential customer will see these reviews before any other. If you know how to utilize it properly, this can make for a valuable tool. Positive reviews can increase your ranking, improve your SEO, and establish trust in your brand.
If your business has been around for any length of time you most likely appear already when your name is searched. You may even have reviews that you never knew about! Before you go any further, be sure to claim your Google Business Profile so you can better optimize your online presence. This is entirely free to do and fairly user-friendly. Once claimed, you can verify that you own the business and make changes to the profile. Failing to verify your business can be one of the reasons that your reviews have gone missing. Adding elements like pictures, descriptions, hours of operation, and keywords will help boost your profile in local searches and give potential customers more to look at.
Understanding Google Reviews
Once you have the ability to moderate your business profile, it’s time to get folks to post reviews! This can be easier said than done. More than half of online customers admit to posting negative reviews about a business as they feel a responsibility to the online community. Most of these are not intended to be malicious. While negative reviews can be an opportunity to improve your customer service, it makes obtaining positive reviews more difficult.
The best thing you can do is encourage your customers to leave comments and rate your business. Get your customers to sign up for e-mail and text so you can prompt them to return and review. Create a basic template to help them along and be sure to drop a link to your Google business profile. The easier you make this, the more likely the customer is to respond. And be sure to thank your customers for reviewing you, even if the comments were less than glowing. This can help improve the customer’s overall perception of your business.
Reviews are important to your company. They reflect the customer’s satisfaction with your product and services. They boost your online presence and reflect your credibility. Which means you need to moderate your reviews. Google Review is not a perfectly functioning autonomous process. There is a risk of fake reviews, spam, offensive language, and missing reviews that is otherwise irrelevant to your customer and business needs. While Google does analyze comments for troubling content it can still slip through, affecting your overall rating and presence. Moderating your reviews on a regular basis is the best way to prevent these problems from creating an unflattering perception of your business.
This is not about deleting negative reviews. It is about knowing how to drive your business profile to create the best online presence for potential customers. Google has policies and guidelines that cover comments across its platform. It is a good idea to read through the prohibited and restricted content that applies to any reviews posted. Content deemed as harassment, details personal information, misrepresentation, contains adult themes, solicitation, or other problematic views is flagged and removed. If you see that a review has suddenly vanished, it might be that it violated a policy even if unknowingly.
You can help mitigate this through careful moderation to keep the reviews on your business helpful and relevant.
This can happen unintentionally. A business may change locations or expand to become a chain. You may be a public-facing professional that works out of multiple locations. Sometimes scammers will create fake listings in an attempt to pull customers away. Duplicate business listings throw a real monkey wrench in the middle of the review process. Not only are your customers posting on the wrong listing, but if they received negative service, bad information, or got scammed, it will reflect poorly on your business overall.
In any case, you want to make sure your customers are given accurate information from the start so you can streamline a satisfactory experience. If you see duplicates for your business, there are steps that can help clean up your online profile. If you have already verified your business through the Google Business Profile, you can check with Google My Business support to have old or inaccurate listings removed. This will help ensure that customers pay attention to the correct profile.
So you’ve claimed and verified your business. You’ve created a template to help your customers in the review process. You’ve taken the initiative to moderate your review section, and you’ve made sure to get rid of any confusing duplicate listings. But you still see reviews vanishing. What can you do?
Before you contact customer support, ask yourself the following questions:
– Were there any links listed in the review?
– Has Google Reviews been temporarily disabled?
– Is your business brand new and hasn’t been ranked yet?
– Has the reviewer gone inactive?
Any of these reasons could be why a valuable review has vanished from your business profile. In general, Google does not reinstate reviews that have violated their policy. However, you can still contact Google Support for assistance in recovering your lost comments and ratings. In the meantime, go back to step one and encourage your customers to review their experience with your business to keep those positive interactions flowing.