Google Places is an excellent tool for customer looking for potential businesses or products, especially locally. But, it can also be the bain of your business and reputation if someone visits your page and writes a scathing review.
Luckily, there are several steps that you can take to encourage your customers to increase your nice brand reception when prospects search for your business. Now, all of these steps are assuming that your customer service and brand awareness is already on the up and up. If your customer service or employees attitude is just plain bad and that needs to be fixed before you try anything online.
Also, most of these steps require that you claim your business listing to begin with. This is a solid step to begin with as you can add more information to your listing and ensure it is as professional looking as possible.
1. If people or competitors are writing false reviews, report them
Google gives you the option of reporting scam and false reviews. While the chances of it getting taken down are unlikely, it’s worth it to try. Any negative reviews will stick out like a sore thumb and prospects viewing your page are unlikely to be able to differentiate between the truth and the lies.
Make sure that you provide as mush information as possible about the fake reviews to make your case solid with the Google Places team.
2. Engage any bad reviews
Personally, it means a lot to me to see that a company will engage a bad review or reviewer. That kind of conversation is never fun, so to see a company show that it cares even about those who are intentionally trying to hurt it shows a lot about the character of the organization. Google Places allows you to post a reply to any reviews so take full advantage of this tool.
You have to be careful in what you say here though; a single wrong word choice or negative tone could make the whole response seem petty.
3. Encourage customers to write positive reviews
It’s a truth that people don’t generally write a review if they’ve had a good experience. They just walk out and figure you did your job right. So, sometimes you have to encourage them a little bit. By providing some incentive (10% off your next purchase or entry to win a $50 gift card) you can incentivize people to write (truthful) positive reviews and give you more positive brand recognition.