If you haven't already heard about Google's new review policy, Google has recently changed the way they handle your business's online reviews, and if you're unaware, this could negatively affect your online reputation.
With the new policy, you cannot discourage your customers from leaving you negative reviews or selectively solicit positive reviews for your review website.
This is called a "sentiment check", which means that when you ask your customer for reviews, you cannot first ask them if they had a positive or negative experience.
Instead, you need to give them the equal opportunity to provide their feedback, positive or negative, on whichever listing they choose.
Under the policy change, Google can remove the reviews from your Google My Business listing if they catch your business performing a sentiment check.
We know that this sounds scary, but we're here to assure you that this isn't the end of the world!
Today, we're going to talk about what your business can do to manage your online reputation under the new Google review policies.
Rethink Your Review Marketing Strategy
If you've been using automation to get new reviews, or even respond to new reviews, it's time to rethink how you use it.
Just because Google is strict on how you ask, it doesn't mean you can't still ask using an automated process.
However, you'll need to have a partner monitoring that automation to ensure everyone is given the opportunity to express their opinion.
Suggest Your Customers Reach Out to You Directly
In addition to asking your customer to leave you a review on Google or Facebook, you can also provide the option for them to contact you directly when soliciting a review.
Having a customer contact you directly allows you to be able to solve any problem that your customer may have through an offline conversation.
But remember, you still need to provide equal opportunity for all review websites to be selected.
Make Sure You Respond to All Reviews
Unfortunately, unhappy people leave bad reviews for a number of reasons. We know it's discouraging to receive a negative review, and it's even worse when it shows up on your Google My Business reviews for anybody to see.
But, the last thing you want is to lose all of your reviews because you were filtering out negative feedback. Negative reviews offer your business a chance to showcase your strength in customer service, so you need to start responding to your reviews regularly, especially any negative ones.
It won't make a negative review go away, but if you offer a solution to your unhappy customer's problem, this can help you in three ways:
- Your customer will be satisfied and may continue to purchase from you
- Other potential customers will respect your business for taking the time out to help your customer
- The unhappy customer may change the star-rating of their review
Many websites, such as Google, will even take the time out to email your customer after they've left a review to check in.
Just make sure that you don't ask your customer to consider changing their review. Not only will Google penalize you for this, but it looks unprofessional and may turn away other customers.
We understand that the new Google review policies may seem troubling to your business, especially if you've been automating your review process. However, it's not too late to make changes to your reputation management strategy to align with the policy change.
Just make sure that you start following these tips to avoid having your Google reviews removed and you'll have nothing to worry about. And, if you need any additional help, check out our review and reputation management platform, Renown!