Google reviews, actually all reviews, help our brain make choices. For example, they help us determine whether a product or company suits us. Is the price/quality ratio okay? Does the company value service highly? In this article, we dive deeper into reviews in general and then more specifically into Google Reviews.

Why are reviews important?

Before we dive into the technical how and what of reviews, it’s good to understand why reviews are important. Our brains have developed in such a way that we no longer take things for granted. We no longer blindly trust product descriptions in online shops or the texts on the website of a local carpentry company. Much of that information we automatically question. Yet we would like to buy something or hire someone for something. So how do we make that choice? We rely on the experience of others with the same product or service. And that’s what we find in reviews, among other things.

The Social Proof Principle

In the book Influence: The Six Secrets of Persuasion written by Robert Cialdini, he describes the Social Proof principle (which is also called social proof).

CRO tool explains social proof as follows:

“Imagine you are walking down a street in a city you don’t know well, looking for a restaurant to get something to eat quickly. You come across two restaurants that are across the street from each other. In one restaurant, people are already sitting down to eat and drink. The other restaurant is still completely empty. Which of these two restaurants would you choose? The restaurant with people or the restaurant without people? Most of us will choose the restaurant with people without thinking. This tendency is called “social proof” in human psychology. If a restaurant is pleasantly full, the quality will be fine.”

The MBTI Model

You may now be wondering aloud if this is also relevant to your visitors. Let’s get into that. Have you ever heard of the MBTI model? This model classifies your visitors into different groups. Below you can see an image of a simplified version of the MBTI model:

Google Reviews MBTI model preview

Thus, there are people who are more inclined to base their opinions on facts and people who rely more strongly on their feelings. In addition, there are people who predominantly decide quickly and people who usually need a little more time. Reviews are especially important for the methodical and humanistic visitors to your website, but also a little for your spontaneous visitors. The spontaneous and humanistic visitors decide based on their feelings. Reviews have a direct impact on that. The methodical visitors take their time to decide and rely on facts. If many visitors say similar things, this group will take that into consideration. The competitive visitors are less concerned with reviews, there is little chance that they will take the time to read them extensively.

Of course, some websites have a lot more visitors per day than others. But in general, you can assume that all these types of visitors visit your website. And so a substantial part of your visitor’s reviews weighs into the choice to do business with you or not!

Google reviews

There are various platforms that collect reviews/records. Think of Trustpilot, which you often see on the site of webshops, physical stores, and business-to-business services. Or Yelp, which specializes in restaurant reviews. But there are many more.

One well-known and important review platform is Google. Nowadays, this is linked to Google My Business. So you can consciously start collecting reviews. Google My Business ensures that you are easy to find, especially locally. If you are a local bike store, garage, hairdresser, or mortgage broker, this is very important.

The other day I had to take my car to the garage for an MOT and major service. Since my car is pretty important to me, I obviously didn’t want to leave it at a “flop” garage. So I checked the Google reviews of garages in the neighborhood. I paid attention to the average rating (number of stars), how recent the reviews were and whether the company had responded to the review.

  1. Average grade/number of stars
    Make sure your average rating on a scale of 1 to 5 never falls below 4. With a rating below 4, people are already starting to doubt your reliability. Even a 4 can be risky, so you better show a 4.1 than the number 4. After all, it already feels better if it is a 4.1 than a hard 4. You cannot remove bad reviews. So the only way to influence the rating is by providing good quality and service.
  2. Recently added
    Old reviews really have less value to visitors than recent ones. Although negative old ones can hurt quite a bit of course! So encourage your customers regularly to leave a review on Google My Business.
  3. Reactions to review
    A negative review. That can happen to anyone. And it doesn’t have to say everything about your company. You can even turn a negative review into a positive one if you, as a company, leave a well-thought-out response. Never put the blame directly on the person who left the review! You can for example respond with something like: “What a pity you had such a negative experience with us, that was obviously not our intention. How could we improve this in the future?” With such a last sentence you involve the reviewer in the improvement process. You even have the chance that this person will come back to you. It is not for nothing that they say every complaint is an opportunity.

Ask Customers To Write A Review

With online shops, it is quite easy to send someone an automatic message a few days after buying a product asking what they think of the product. This can be done with a plugin or with an external service like Webwinkelkeur. In this way, you can fill a webshop with reviews fairly quickly. If a product gets only bad reviews, you might consider removing that product from your shop. Ultimately, of course, you want the quality of your shop as high as possible.

With services, it works a little differently. Especially when it comes to physical services and services with which you enter into a longer partnership. Three tips for actively collecting reviews for physical services:

  1. Ask visitors to leave a review before they pay
    When it comes to services, you often see that someone first receives a quote, upon approval the work is performed, and then the invoice follows. There is often some time between performing the work and sending the invoice. Try using that time to collect reviews. If you do that after paying the invoice, people are sometimes less positive. Some people don’t like the feeling of seeing less money in their accounts. Fortunately, there are also many people who pay their bills with a big smile because they feel they got a good deal.
  2. Make it easy on your visitors
    Have the first important jobs in a longer collaboration been completed? Then that might be a good time to ask your customer to leave a review on Google. You can send them a link via email where they can leave a review directly. If you use WhatsApp in communicating with customers, you can use that to send the link.
  3. Remind your customers to write a review
    You will find that some customers promise to post a review, but simply don’t get around to it. Not a big deal at all to send those people a reminder. It could also be that they are not that crazy about Google Reviews. In that case, you can also ask for a review on your Facebook business page or LinkedIn profile.
    Bonus tip: do you really want to turn customers into fans? Send them a nice card or small gift when they have left a review.

Conclusion

Hopefully, this article has given you the feeling that reviews can be of real value for your company as well. They can boost your reputation and increase your conversions. Of course, with too many negative reviews, the opposite happens. That makes it quite exciting. But it also helps you stay focused on quality. If you do it right, reviews on Google My Business can bring you a pleasant stream of traffic to your website, leads, customers, and sales.