So you’ve started your new local business, all the paperwork is done and you are ready to take on the responsibility of being your own boss. But how will you get the word out? Typically, one way of letting people know you exist as a business is setting up a website and advertising how you’re better than the competition. Voila, this means you’re now accessible through Google. That could be true, but if you’re not on the first page for what people are looking for then it won’t matter. Google analyzes not just your content and traffic but also your reviews.
Google Reviews affects both the search results for your business and the potential growth of customer engagement that you could be missing out on. Whether you have small business or a large corporation, a Google search could be the first encounter with a new customer.
Here are some of the things you need to do.
Verifying your business
The first thing you need to accomplish is setting up your Google+ page, getting familiar with the ins-and-outs of the layout. The second thing you need to do is verify your business using Google My Business. This process involves setting up the location and confirmation of your business. After this process Google will send you a verification code either by postcard or phone. Google also provides a help page for more information on Google My Business.
The Review Process
Once you’ve claimed your business, next comes the review process. These reviews are a guidelines from your customer feedback on how you can improve as a business. Be open minded, negative reviews can help you lead to a better customer experience. Let’s say, for example, your staff isn’t being sociable enough to customers, you can use that opportunity to encourage the staff to be more outgoing and friendly with a small, hands-on lesson. Remember that there is no bad press, as long as you can ask customers to leave a review. Customer reviews promote a willingness to improve by getting customers involved.
Asking the Customers
Getting good reviews can feel rewarding for your efforts, it demonstrates that your business is doing well and looks good for your search results. This does not mean you should ignore any negative feedback. These reviews are obstacles for a business to grow and generate better customer satisfaction. To overcome these you need to engage the customer directly, ask them what you can do next time to improve their overall satisfaction. Your efforts to engage both positive and negative comments will show that you are willing to get to know them as an individual. However, refusing not to reply is worse than not responding at all. If you do not reply, this shows you are unwilling to cooperate and lack customer interest.
Promote your Google+ page
This can be done at your business or your other social media channels. In the example of a restaurant, you could have a link to your Google+ page on your menu or for a hotel, you can leave a note asking how their experience can be improved. If you have a Twitter or a Facebook page, then promote your Google+ page there as well by asking your followers how your business can improve. You especially want to make sure that your website has a call-to-action that encourages visitors to leave a review. Make sure that their time is worth the effort. Reward your customers such as offering a discount for their next visit, but do not provide offers on discounts for proof of reviews. This violates Google’s policies and they will remove your business.
By now you should understand the importance of Google reviews. It reflects your customer satisfaction rate and your willingness to engage in customer interest. A little effort can lead to a big change.