What the New Google Review Response Notifications Mean For Your Business
Google announced on the Google My Business Forum today (May 11, 2018), that when owners respond to reviews, the reviewers will now receive notification of that response.
Directly from the post:
We’re launching notifications to inform your customers when you respond to their reviews, with plans to release mobile push notifications at a later date.
When businesses respond to, or update responses to customer reviews, the customer now receives an email notification. The business’ response is published immediately and 5 minutes later, the notification is sent. This 5 minute delay allows time for the merchant to make any corrections to their response after submitting.
The notification email informs the customer of a reply to their review and contains a link to a page with the full owner response.
What This Means For Your Business
In one minor technical change, Google has significantly increased the value and importance of a business’ review response. Companies who are already replying to most reviews are now given the benefit of significantly greater exposure to this demonstration of engaged customer service. Companies that currently do not respond to reviews, on the other hand, will increasingly be seen as ‘actively ignoring’ their customer’s feedback.
Consumers will quickly be trained to expect these email notifications. Any business failing to live up to these expectations will be compounding negative review sentiment by ignoring complaints, and run the risk of tarnishing otherwise praiseworthy experiences by not providing the expected acknowledgment and thank you.
Rethinking Targeted Response Ratios
Many companies have in place targets for Google response ratios (e.g., 30% for 5-Star and 100% for 1-Star) that are below those of the social media accounts, as these have always been viewed as platforms for one-on-one engagement. Since the primary audience for the Google response content was the ‘next’ viewer of the Knowledge Panel, businesses would strive to respond to the vast majority of negative reviews but only and a smattering of positive ones to keep the review pack informative. Now, with the expectation of responses, businesses will need to think through what it means to not respond to any thoughtfully composed customer review.
Many Companies Still Do Not Have Response Systems In Place
Hundreds of large companies who received tens of thousands of reviews each year have made the decision, either actively or passively, to not value customer engagement via GMB Reviews. The costs to these companies of not responding have just increased significantly. Failing to meet these new expectations will shift customer loyalties to the brands that consistently engage.
Of course, these enterprises are not unaware of Google’s efforts. The challenge they face is how best to find the internal resources to provide timely, custom responses to 400-800 new reviews per day, every day.
When this update is viewed together with the other enhancements to the Knowledge Panel. it appears that Google is positioning itself to become the local platform of choice for both businesses and their customers.
Managing Review Responses At Any Scale
LocalClarity is one of the companies that have developed robust review reporting and response platforms that provide the tools necessary for brands or all sizes (from 1 to 20,000 locations) to actively take control of this entire process with enterprise-grade workflows, aggregated and individual store reporting, reply templates, reporting dashboards, and even sentiment analysis to identify the root causes of customer dissatisfaction. LocalClarity has even established fully managed programs that offer guaranteed response service levels of under 24 hours.
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