Whenever you are doing a location search or a near me search what is the first thing that you check after checking the distance - It is "Ratings and Reviews", Isn't it?
Thus managing Google reviews & Ratings are a critical factor for any brand that has an offline location whether it is an SME or a National Brand with Multiple Locations.
Ideally, the aim of every Store/Clinic/Centre/Gym is to rank on Page 1 on Google search results but it's difficult to follow each task simultaneously to perfect the digital marketing in locations especially when you know Google keeps changing/adding the algorithms anyway. Hence the first step that Brands with Locations should do is to manage and monitor the reviews/sentiments of their products/services for each location to appear better than their competitors on search engines.
But first, let's start with Basics:-
Create your Google My Business Page also referred as GMB. It's a free location-based platform launched by Google that contains your information like Company Name, Business Category, Products/Services, Phone Number, Business Hours, Business Description which helps you rank you higher in search results when a user is searching in the vicinity. What's more, Google has also made it possible to let users rate and review your business for that particular location which in turns becomes an important factor in your search rankings. But like they say everything has its pros and cons, here also reviews and ratings can make or mar your brand reputation.
So how do you optimise Google Reviews and how to manage it?
1. Create/Claim & Verify your Google Business Listing
If you haven't created and verified your business listing till date before creating one just search your business name on google chances are it may be already created Either by your team member/ co-founder or as an orphan listing. Sharing an example below of difference between orphan vs claimed business listing wherein an Orphan Listing you will find Own this Business Text as compared to a claimed listing where only suggest an edit text will appear. Own this Business means no one has claimed it. And if this is your business you can click on Own this business fill in the details, if incorrect edit the information (Mentioned above) and you will get a physical code couriered at the address mentioned to verify. The same applies if you wish to create a new Google my business Listing
2. Google reviews
After you have created or Claimed your Google business Listing, another crucial factor from the digital aspect of Brands Location is the Reviews and Ratings as they act exactly how a satisfied or unsatisfied customer's word of mouth marketing works.
The customer's probability of interacting with a brand particular location's Reviews and Ratings depends majorly on the Reviews/Ratings. Imagine you search for ice cream cafe near me and you get two cafes.
Reviews of Cafe 1 says: Poor quality, the staff was rude, the place is very untidy as compared to another Cafe 2 whose reviews says: Excellent Taste, Amazing Quality and a lot of flavours to chose from, Staff are very warmly. Which one do you think would you chose to opt?
3. Manage your Google reviews/ Google Ratings
Online review management and reputation management has become an integral part of any digital strategy for brands that want to acquire customers locally. And no matter how good you perform there will definitely be few negative sentiments or reviews. It is nearly impossible to delete them unless the contributor decides to take it off, however, to manage the good average store rating, ensure you are collecting positive reviews and not neglecting the negative reviews. Find below how you can make sure you are managing the negative reviews effectively.
Respond Immediately – Make sure that any negative comment/review is considered and responded immediately to make the consumer feels that the brand values them and is genuinely interested in customer service.
Respond Appropriately – As a consumer, we all hate messages like "Apologies for the inconvenience caused" as these appear ingenuine especially at the time when the consumer is not satisfied with your offering and has openly posted negative sentiment towards your brand. At this level bring the human effect and try to take it offline to private contact. You will be surprised how many times a single simple call may help resolve a query and could even convert a dissatisfied customer to a loyal one for a lifetime.
Location Search Optimisation(LSO) Enthusiast
Craazea Technologies (www.craazea.com)