If I had a penny for every time I mentioned to somebody that they ought to respond to reviews or comments wherever they may appear I reckon I’d have close to 76p. I’d probably have another 73p every time they said they don’t want to.
I have some sympathy with business owners and their pained expressions when you tell them they have no control over what is said about them online and that they must involve themselves in conversations – good or bad – mentioning them.
That’s just the nature of the beast.
Ignoring addressing comments or reviews online is your choice, but to not have that choice to respond as said reviews accumulate under your business listing is a bit rum.
So it’s nice to hear Google are allowing business owners to reply to Google reviews that collect under local listings. From last week’s announcement on Google’s LatLong Blog:
Starting today, if you’re a verified Google Places business owner, you can publicly respond to reviews written by Google Maps users on the Place Page for your business. Engaging with the people who have shared their thoughts about your business is a great way to get to know your customers and find out more. Both positive and negative feedback can be good for your business and help it grow (even though it’s sometimes hard to hear). By responding, you can build stronger relationships with existing and prospective customers.
Yes, it’s only for reviews written exclusively through Google, so other reviews pulled from the likes of Yelp, etc. you can’t reply to.
But, it’s more than a welcome step in the right direction, and you can read Google’s recommendations as to how to reply properly here.