As a starting point, we strongly recommend getting into the habit of responding to Google reviews. Irrespective of the negative or positive nature of the review, it’s important to consistently provide professional responses without exception.

The way you respond to the review can and often will have a bigger impact than the content of the initial review itself. Particularly when turning negatives into positives, which can make you appear more trustworthy, credible and honest with every response provided.

So for those interested in capitalising on the power and influence of professional responses, here’s how to respond to Google reviews like the pros:

1.First of all, you need to ensure you post your response as quickly as possible. The longer you leave it, the more potential customers will read the review and assume it has been ignored. Reputation management means keeping a constant eye on what’s being said about you across as many channels as necessary.

2.One of the best ways to start each reply is to thank the customer for taking the time to leave a comment. Even if the comment is somewhat scathing, you should still show your appreciation for their feedback. This instinctively encourages others to do the same.

3.Under no circumstances should you ever use scripted or copied and pasted responses. The first time such lazy tactics are detected is the last time your words will be viewed with any credibility whatsoever. Take the time to reply to each review individually, or don’t bother at all.

4.It’s also good to leave things somewhat open-ended, rather than bringing the conversation to an end. For example, directly request that the customer in question get in touch, or provides you with recommendations on what could have been improved. Rather than leaving it as a simple ‘thank you and goodbye’, try to keep the conversation going.

5.Avoid writing responses to particularly negative comments in the heat of the moment. Always give yourself time to cool off and remember that it isn’t worth risking your reputation for the sake of one frankly ghastly customer. And take your time and kill them with kindness, as they say!

6.Last but not least, always ask at least one other person to read your response before it is submitted. Ideally, your response should be drafted, left to one side and read again a short time later, in order to ensure you haven’t said anything you might regret. Once again, it’s important to respond as quickly as possible, but never in the heat of the moment.

Perhaps most importantly of all, you need to take the time to determine whether there are any patterns emerging in the comments you receive. In terms of negative and positive feedback alike, Google reviews are pure gold for determining your strengths, weaknesses and opportunities.

After all, who better to tell you what your audience responds positively than the audience itself?

Author's Bio: 

Chris Jenkinson is UK marketing consultant providing marketing support to businesses.