The Importance of Responding to Positive and Negative Google Reviews
So your accounting firm has loads of Google Reviews. High five to you (or at least a 4.8)! But did you know that responding to your Google Reviews (positive and negative) is just as important as getting customer reviews in the first place?
In case you weren’t aware, as a business owner, you have the distinct privilege of engaging directly with your clients by responding to Google reviews. The exercise of responding to Google Reviews is not only polite etiquette on your part, it directly impacts the success of your accounting practice in more ways than you may realize!
Responding to Reviews Improves Local SEO
Historically, word-of-mouth has always been critical to the success of an accounting firm. Today, word-of-mouth has taken on a whole new form - online reviews, and specifically, Google Reviews. Google is (still) the top review site with more users than ever reading Google reviews from search results.
Google’s primary goal is to deliver the best match for a particular search query, such as “best accountant in Atlanta”. And just how do they do this? Google uses the same factors a potential client would use in evaluating and choosing a local accounting firm. You see, the objective of the search engine and the user are one in the same. It’s no surprise that review count and review score factor into local search rankings. More reviews and positive ratings improve your local ranking.
But let’s take it a step further. Google’s support page specifically spells out how to improve your local search ranking. Updating your Google Business Profile info is vital to visibility, and how often users find your business in local search results. Google offers up five ways to improve your local ranking, one of which is to manage & respond to reviews. Whether a review is positive or negative, leaving a response is beneficial to your business, which brings us to our next point.
Responding to Reviews Shows You Value Your Clients
According to the Google Business Profile support page, businesses are encouraged to “interact with customers by responding to reviews that they leave about your business. Responding to reviews shows that you value your customers and the feedback that they leave about your business.”
Think about it, your clients have taken the time to write a review, and the least you can do is acknowledge their efforts.
While you are at it, make sure you respond within a reasonable amount of time. A timely response is a good indication of good customer service. In fact, a recent survey by Review Trackers showed that 53 percent of consumers expect a response to reviews within seven days. Faster review response times are closely correlated to a positive reputation.
If a potential client sees that you are taking the time to thank someone for a positive review, it infers that customer appreciation is a top priority at your practice. In the event of a negative review, taking the time to address a problem, and offer a solution, will demonstrate to prospective clients that customer satisfaction and retention are held in high regard.
Responding to Reviews Solidifies Your Online Reputation
What clients say online can have a significant impact on your accounting practice. According to BrightLocal, 79% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal referrals. You may not have control as to what is being said about your business online, but you do have control over how you respond to and manage your online reviews.
One of the worst things you can do for your accounting firm's online reputation is doing nothing at all. Unanswered reviews, especially negative ones, leave potential clients wondering what action, if any, was taken to remedy a problem, or if the client was ever acknowledged.
Responding to a negative review can actually perpetuate a positive result. Statistics show that 33% of the customers who received a response from a business after posting a negative review ended up posting a positive review, and 34% deleted the original negative review.
Failing to respond to reviews could potentially cost you the clients you worked hard to get, as well as new clients.
Managing and responding to your Google reviews positively impacts your search rankings, customer experience and online reputation. Click here for instructions on reading and replying to Google reviews.
If you would like more information on how Build Your Firm can help to manage a customized Google Review campaign, contact us at 888-999-9800, ext 1, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about our accounting websites and marketing services for accountants.