Google Maps Reviews: Now a 2-Way Conversation

Filed in Featured, Google, Local Search by Matt McGee on August 4, 2010 6 Comments

google-maps_logoNice move on Google’s part today to give local business owners a way to respond to reviews that users write on the business’ Place Page. That solves a pretty common frustration that I’ve heard from business owners over the years — namely, that reviewers can say whatever they want and the business owner doesn’t have an easy way to respond.

But a few words of caution are still in order, I think.

Responding to reviews is generally a good idea (though not always), but you have to be careful how you go about it. A little over a year ago, in an article called 5 Ways Negative Reviews are Good for Business, I wrote this:

A negative review is an opportunity for you to shine, to show you care about making things better — not only for the customer who left the negative review, but also for the countless others that are reading. There are plenty of negative reviews out there, but far fewer stories about how the small business turned the negative review into a positive. If you can do that, people will notice. They’ll tell their friends what you did, how you turned a bad experience into something good. And you’ll be better off in the long term because of it.

Along with today’s news, Google has written a pretty good guide to help local business owners respond to reviews. I would suggest reading that, and also read Scott Clark’s article, 15 Tips for Responding to Google Place Page Reviews, that he just published today.

I should add, in case Google’s announcement didn’t make it clear, that you can only reply to reviews left directly on your Place Page — you can’t reply to the reviews from 3rd-party sites that Google shows. And, this is only available to business owners who have claimed their Place Page.

Comments (6)

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  1. John says:

    This could also be a good way to offer promotions to customers who may have seen the negative review. Offer a discount or a giveaway if the customer mentions the review. Often times business owners can explain away their mistakes but if they truly screwed up, this is one way they can make up for it.

  2. I totally agree with John on offering promotions when left a bad review – it builds trust and shows that the company has instilled great customer service.

  3. Elijah says:

    Great idea – and a really great way to keep tabs on clients who may not have had the best experience and engage them.

  4. Jeff says:

    I agree with Elijah…as part of our reputation monitoring for clients we have told them for years now to be aware of the good the bad and the ugly on local review sites. Interesting how Google picks up feeds from other review sites if there is non of their own to show for a local business.

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