3 Overlooked Features on Google My Business

The Google My Business platform is a valuable, free marketing tool that any local business or chain store can use to improve its presence on Google Maps. The very basic functions of this platform allow people to find the location of your business and read/write reviews . However, many businesses fail to take advantage of some of the most beneficial features on Google My Business and do not unlock its full potential. Let’s fix that!

1) Reviewers Get Notifications When You Respond

In the event that your business receives a negative review, the best move is always to respond in a way that is professional and timely, while addressing the customer’s complaint. Doing this gives you a chance to win back your customer while projecting a good image to the public.

The Google My Business feature now sends an email notification to reviewers once the business has responded, increasing your chances of having your response being seen and your customer’s mind being changed. Here’s a screenshot of what that looks as discussed on Google’s Community Forum:

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When you post a response, the notification from Google will reach the customer’s inbox after five minutes. During this 5 minutes window, you can make any changes to your response in case you notice any mistakes or simply want to alter your response.

2) Google Questions and Answers

If left unnoticed, Google Questions and Answers can hurt a business, but it can be used in your favor if managed properly. Google Questions and Answers is a relatively new function that allows users to post their questions about the business on a public forum and for others to provide answers.

Many business owners are unaware of this feature or simply don’t bother to respond. The danger with that is potential misinformation being posted if a user answers a question inaccurately (which happens surprisingly often). This can cause a customer to be deterred from your business or to approach it with false expectations. In any case, whether misinformation is being told about your business or not, not responding on this function is a missed opportunity to engage with potential customers and draw in business.

Another tricky aspect of this feature is the fact that Google does not send businesses notifications on new questions. Fortunately, Reputology’s system can send you alerts any time a new question is posted. If you are able to answer questions politely and quickly, ideally before misinformation is posted, you can expect to see those people turn into customers.

3) Google My Business Descriptions

This feature is seeing its resurgence by Google and should appear on your Google My Business dashboard soon if it hasn’t already. As a business owner, this is your chance to use up to 750 characters to make a statement that will draw in customers. This function is different from a meta description; it will appear right below the reviews section on your business listing and can be more detailed and creative.

This description is a golden opportunity to really sell your business to a potential customer when they may not have actually clicked to view your website before. If writing isn’t your strong suit, and if you don’t have any internal writers within your company, you may want to consider hiring a copywriter to write your description for you. You want to make sure the description concisely and accurately advertises key selling points to readers, while being compelling and engaging. By posting a description with keywords geared towards your market, you will also give your SEO a boost, allowing potential customers to find you before your competitors.

Any opportunity for free marketing ought to be used to its full potential. By taking full advantage of the features on Google My Business’ platform, you can build your company’s reputation, win customers, and watch your success story unfold.

“Not a normal human being” (How NOT to respond to negative reviews)

Watching a business owner meltdown over a negative review is one of those unique phenomena that can make you cringe, laugh and feel embarrassed all at once. In our blog series – “How NOT to respond to negative reviews” – we’ll take a look at some poor responses and breakdown what to do/what not to do with bad reviews. That way, your business never shows up on here. 😉

This ugly interaction between an unsatisfied traveler and hotel owner has more than its fair share of problems.

Problem 1: The response is rushed. Everything about this response, from the tone it takes to the numerous typos, suggests the owner didn’t take the time to think about an effective response. It reflects poor professionalism to anyone reading the review. (Now, this might have been intentional because the owner wanted to be nasty, and we’ll get to why that’s not a good move next).

Give yourself a moment, then respond. Yes, time is of the essence when your business’ reputation is on the line. Calm down, think of a response that reflects the values you want others to see in your business, and proofread it.

Problem 2: The owner gets hostile.  “There must be something wrong with you.” Yikes. The owner makes public what should have just stayed in his head. The reviewer is clearly being irrational complaining about the hotel not having a bathroom for his/her dog, yet the owner manages to make him/herself seem just as irrational with the response.

Take the high road (even though it’s hard). Again, this discussion is public, so calm down. It will only look good to prospective customers that you can handle a negative review with grace. You might dislike the reviewer and don’t want to say sorry because you weren’t wrong, but you can express regret for the bad experience. That way, you’re also showing empathy and not being fake about it because you do regret that someone wrote a 1 star.

Problem 3: The finger pointing. The rest of the owner’s response mostly consists of accusations (not to mention the impossible claim of having zero complaints in 18 years). This shows immaturity and can exacerbate the issue, potentially leading to a back and forth argument.

Respond with the facts, politely. In this case, the owner should have highlighted the hotel’s commitment to quality and outlined the policies in a matter-of-fact fashion. This approach works in defending the reputation of the hotel, without coming off patronizing or defensive. Any other discussion of what may have happened during the reviewer’s stay is subjective and should be out of the public eye.

It’s fair to assume this hotel owner lost the business of this reviewer and potentially anyone who came across the response. If you run into a similar situation, try to remember these tips or use this handy infographic to figure out the best way to respond to a negative review.

 

Example of A Good Response to a Negative Review… Almost

Welcome to the 3rd installment of “How NOT to Respond to a Negative Review” – a series of blog posts in which we analyze actual online interactions between business owners and their patrons to help you navigate what to do (and what not to do) when it comes to proper management of reviews. We typically provide examples of bad responses to negative reviews, but today we wanted to mix things up by showing you an example of a (relatively) good response to a bad review & explaining how and why it works.

You’ll find a lot of good points made in this response, though it’s certainly not without its flaws. Let’s dive in and take a look at the Pros and Cons of this Eurocar owner response.

PROS

  1. The owner conveys a general sense of politeness and respect. While they employ a succinct and firm tone, this owner has been careful not to veer into the pitfalls of labeling or emotionally reactive behavior.
  2. The owner addresses the issue head-on. The customer’s concern is straightforward: prices are higher than competition. Here, we can see that the owner jumps right into the reply without tip-toeing around the matter at hand.
  3. The owner asserts product quality and offers conflict resolution. They are able to tout premium quality of their parts while simultaneously offering to price match competitors—notice the catch here is that the owner is confident that comparable businesses are in fact using inferior parts, hence why their prices are lower.

CONS

  1. The response is untimely (getting back a year later simply doesn’t cut it). Reaching out in a thoughtful and productive manner is only half the battle—make sure to do so quickly, or your response may fall on deaf ears.
  2. The owner fails to show gratitude for the review. While doing so may require you to swallow a bit of pride, demonstrating your gratefulness for any feedback on your company will show others openness and class.

The big takeaway from all this that you don’t have to be so eager to make pesky reviews disappear. Getting creative with your approach to review management can be an invaluable asset. At the very least, poor reviews can provide a good learning experience for you and your employees. And oftentimes, in cases such as this, they can be a way to showcase some of your company’s greatest strengths.