Some time ago, Google made a very subtle change to its results page. Say you do a search for “rental companies san francisco” — now, in addition to the search results, you’ll see a summary of consumer reviews submitted.
This is a bigger deal than it seems. Think about how you look for services — you won’t Google the name of a company, you’re likely to Google the category: “chinese food san francisco” or “workout clubs los angeles.” Now, presented with a list of companies — some with amazing ratings, and some with lower ratings — you’re probably more likely to click on the listings with higher ratings.
As a business, you’ve got to be actively on top of those ratings — claiming your business in Google Reviews, Yelp, and other review sites, then responding quickly to feedback. Not responding and leaving a negative comment to stand on one of these sites looks like you’re either apathetic, or your company couldn’t care less about its customers.
Yelp has some great tips on responding to negative reviews:
1) Check Your Reviews Regularly
It’s important to respond to negative reviews in a timely fashion. If you respond quickly, the person who wrote the review is more likely to respond positively because you showed that you care. Also, other Yelpers who are reading the negative review will have the opportunity to read your comments and see how you responded.
2) Thank the Reviewer
We should always thank Yelpers for taking the time to share their experiences. Often, they are providing valuable feedback and suggestions. Treat your negative reviews like a suggestion box. In some cases, they can help you improve upon your customer service or business.
3) Acknowledge the Problem
If the gripe is legitimate, apologize for the situation and invite the reviewer to come back after you have rectified the problem. You may offer them a refund or an incentive on a future visit [if the situation warrants this type of action.]
Here’s the article.
By engaging and becoming an active participant on these important sites, and responding to criticism in a transparent manner, you’ll be more likely to land valuable customers.