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An In-Depth Guide to Google's Customer Review Programme

An In-Depth Guide to Google’s Customer Review Programme

Customer reviews have become invaluable sources of information for consumers when making purchasing decisions. By reading reviews, people can get a sense of others’ experiences with a product or service before committing to a purchase. With this in mind, it’s no surprise that businesses are eager to participate in customer review programmes to build trust and attract new customers.

One of the largest programmes is Google’s Customer Review platform, which allows companies to showcase reviews directly on their Google Business Profile. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explain everything you need to know about Google’s programme, including how to sign up, get reviews, and ensure they’re optimally displayed. By the end, you’ll have a solid understanding of how to leverage reviews on Google to boost your business.

How Google’s Customer Review Programme Works

Google’s programme utilises a simple yet effective structure. When people search for your business on Google, your profile will display at the top of search results along with key information like address, phone number, and hours. Then, reviews left by your pleased customers directly populate this profile.

The display of these reviews is meant to provide social proof and reassurance to potential patrons. High numbers of positive reviews signal that your business delivers good service and products worth recommending to others. This helps convert more searches into actual customers walking through your doors.

For businesses, the key benefits of participating in Google’s review programme include:

  • Increased visibility in local Google searches
  • Social proof and credibility from verified customer feedback
  • Opportunity to address any negative reviews publicly
  • Easier collection of reviews in one central location
  • Integration of reviews across Google platforms like Search and Maps

While reviews from any source provide value, those collected through Google carry extra weight since they’re directly associated with your business’s dedicated profile page. This gives customers additional confidence when choosing where to spend their money.

Signing Up for Google’s Review Programme

To begin accepting reviews through Google’s platform, you must first claim and verify ownership of your business profile. Here are the basic steps:

  1. Go to and sign into your Google account.
  2. Search for your business and click the “Claim this business” button if it’s found.
  3. Follow the verification process, which usually involves confirming via phone call or postcard.
  4. Once verified, click “Request reviews” on your business profile page.
  5. Google will prompt approved customers to leave a review directly on your profile.

It’s important to verify accurately since this confirms you have the legal right to represent the business and accept reviews on its behalf. Be sure to use the same name, address, and phone number associated with your operation to avoid any issues during verification.

A few other tips when signing up:

  • Complete your business information for better visibility in searches.
  • Connect your website, store hours, and payment options.
  • Link your profile across Google platforms like Maps.
  • Consider claiming additional listings if you have multiple locations.

With your profile live, you’re now set up to be on the receiving end of customer feedback. But don’t stop there; it’s time to actively solicit reviews.

Getting Customers to Leave Reviews

While some patrons may leave reviews spontaneously, the bulk will need gentle encouragement. Here are effective strategies for steadily accruing positive feedback:

In-Person Requests

  • Have staff politely ask satisfied customers to “take a moment to leave a review on Google.”
  • Provide iPads or printed cards with quick response (QR) codes leading directly to your profile.
  • Consider offering a small incentive, like a discount for a future visit after submitting a review.

Post-Purchase Emails

  • Send automated emails within 24 hours of a customer’s purchase, thanking them.
  • Include a call to action asking them to “share their experience by leaving a review.”
  • Personalise with the customer’s first name for more impact.

Social Media Shoutouts

  • Thank customers publicly on platforms like Facebook and Instagram.
  • Tag and ask happy patrons to leave a review with a preset prompt like #RateUs5Stars.
  • Incentivize with chance to win a prize by tagging in review.

Repeat Customer Loyalty

  • Offer rewards and perks exclusively to repeat customers who regularly spend.
  • Include a request for review as an extension of loyalty programme benefits.
  • Make reviewing feel like a natural part of ongoing customer experience.

The goal with all messaging should be to effortlessly integrate reviews into existing touchpoints, rather than coming across as pushy or only focused on metrics. Customers want to feel appreciated for both their business and honest feedback.

Other best practices include only reaching out to patrons who seemed genuinely pleased with their experience based on staff impressions. Raving fans tend to provide the most sincere and detailed positive reviews, which attract new clientele.

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Responding to and Addressing Reviews

While positive reviews bring customers, negative reviews pose the biggest reputational risk if left unaddressed. That’s why it’s important to thoughtfully respond to any critical feedback on your profile. Here are tips for handling reviews effectively:

  • Promptly respond to all reviews, positive or negative, as a sign of good customer service.
  • Address specific criticisms or complaints respectfully. Confirm understanding and express desire to improve.
  • Offer to make things right directly with the customer via email. Some issues may be resolved offline.
  • Use responses as an opportunity to highlight steps already taken to enhance the customer experience.
  • Never disagree, argue or get defensive. Maintain polite, solution-oriented tone at all times.
  • Thank customers leaving helpful feedback, even if experience wasn’t perfect. Affirming their voice helps.
  • If factually incorrect, politely note that the review contains inaccuracies versus personal experiences.
  • Monitor for possible competitor sabotage. Respond with positivity rather than accusations.
  • Consider offering merchandise/gift cards to disgruntled patrons willing to alter/remove negative review.

By thoughtfully addressing all feedback, you demonstrate commitment to continuous improvement while regaining control of your online reputation. Over time, proper responses can help balance any critical reviews with an increasing ratio of positive ratings.

Optimising Your Google Business Profile

With reviews flowing in, it’s time to optimise your profile’s appearance and features for maximum impact in search engine results. Here are some profile settings to check:

Profile Completeness: Fill out all relevant details, including categories, services, pictures, videos and blog/news sections, to provide valuable context.

Profile Consistency: Ensure consistency across listings, websites and other profiles using the same business name, logo, contact details, etc.

Profile Keywords: We Naturally work targeted local keywords into profile name, descriptions and page content to rank for relevant searches.

Profile Structure: Prioritise important information at the top, like address, and quickly follow with a top menu header directly under the name.

Profile Formatting: Use bold italics appropriately to draw attention to calls to action and highlight main points.

Profile Integration: Link relevant social profiles, blogs, and delivery/booking partners seamlessly within the profile.

Profile Customisation: Consider Google posts and hours to stand out from competitors with timely updates.

Profile Reviews: Feature top reviews prominently above the fold. Keep prompt responses and high review count/rating visible.

By devoting attention to these Profile elements, you make crucial information immediately discernible and entice potential customers to click through for more details. It also positively impacts your businesses visibility and position within local search results through Google’s algorithms.

Key Takeaways

To summarise the key points covered:

  • Claim and verify your Google Business Profile to begin accepting reviews
  • Actively encourage customers, both in-person and digitally, to leave feedback
  • Respond to all reviews promptly and respectfully to demonstrate good service
  • Monitor for inaccuracies or sabotage and address properly when needed
  • Optimise your profile over time with rich details and consistent formatting
  • Utilise review best practices to build credibility and attract new customers

Leveraging Google’s powerful customer review programme takes consistent effort but pays dividends in stronger online reputation management and visibility among local shoppers. By focusing on the customer experience above all else, you set your business up for long-term growth through positive word-of-mouth.


Q: How many reviews should a business aim to have?

A: There is no set number, but more reviews generally lead to increased trust and authority. Aim to steadily accrue feedback over time rather than worrying about arbitrary benchmarks. Quality is more important than quantity.

Q: Can reviews be deleted or edit requests denied?

A: Google does not allow businesses to delete or directly alter reviews. However, factually inaccurate reviews can be reported and removed after review. You can also respond respectfully to feedback on your profile.

Q: What if a competitor leaves a fake negative review?

A: Monitor for suspicious patterns, like competitors reviewing each other. Respond professionally, versus making accusations. Google may remove fake reviews after reporting them. Focus on earning genuine reviews through great service over time.

Q: How often should I ask repeat customers to review?

A: No more than once every 6 months to avoid annoying patrons. Gauge based on individual interactions. Loyal customers open to providing ongoing feedback are best targets versus pushing all repeats.

Q: Can reviews from other sites, like Facebook, be imported?

A: No, reviews must be generated directly within Google’s platform to populate your profile page. However, you can link relevant third party review pages within your profile for additional feedback visibility.

Q: What if a customer requests to change or remove their review?

A: Google does not allow reviews to be directly edited or deleted at a business’s request. However, customers can contact Google independently to request removal of factually incorrect reviews they authored. You can also offer incentives for angry customers to update negative reviews to neutral feedback.

External Resource: Yotpo Review Engagement Platform

While Google’s built-in tools provide the basics, some businesses augment their review processes through dedicated review management software. An example is Yotpo [1], which offers additional review engagement features beyond Google, like:

  • Automated review collection from major sites
  • Sentiment analysis and rating breakdowns
  • Review categorization and tagging
  • Customised review prompts and popups
  • Social proof display widgets
  • Analytical reports and competitive benchmarking

Such paid platforms can streamline multi-channel review efforts when Google’s capabilities aren’t robust enough alone. Always evaluate third party tools against your unique business needs and budget.

In summary, prioritising customer feedback should remain a cornerstone strategy, regardless of platform. With diligent effort, reviews can help drive increased success through referrals and raise credibility within local search.

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