Google reviews have become an integral part of our lives.
Whenever we’re researching a company that we don’t have experience with, we go online and seek out reviews from people who do.
If this first impression includes negative reviews or no reviews at all, we simply tend to look elsewhere for the products or services we need.
The Importance of Online Reviews
Online reviews can have a massive impact on how your detailing business is perceived and whether or not it actually succeeds.
Here are a couple of stats that back this claim:
98% of customers read online reviews before making a purchase
Negative reviews make 92% of customers less likely to use a business
88% of customers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations
Over 85% of consumers consider local reviews older than 3 months irrelevant
81% of consumers use Google to research a local business in the past year.
So people trust other people more than they trust businesses. Because of this, the importance of online reviews cannot be overstated. This is especially true for pricier or riskier products and services, such as installing a coating on your precious ride.
There are many online review websites out there, but it’s safe to say that Google is the most important one for local businesses. As Google is the most widely used and trusted search engine, people consider it a reliable source of information when it comes to almost anything, and that includes customer reviews.
Why You Need To Prioritize Google Reviews
Building trust and credibility
Ranking higher in search results
Google reviews can help you drive organic traffic and increase online visibility through SEO. The thing is, Google rewards businesses that get frequent, positive reviews. This is because they know that social proof is the #1 factor that influences buying decisions. So Google has made reviews a key ranking factor in their local search algorithm.
Evaluating and upgrading your business
Google reviews are extremely informative when it comes to the shortcomings of your business and customer service. Positive reviews, and even more so negative ones, can help you evaluate your business and determine areas that need improvement. They provide valuable insights into what customers want and need from you as a service provider.
Improving conversion rates and increasing sales
As we mentioned before, nowadays people do their research on businesses before engaging with them. They read a minimum of 10 reviews before feeling confident in making a purchase decision. So the more positive Google reviews you have, the more likely a purchase is to be made.
Marketing your business for free
Leaving reviews doesn’t cost a dime, and neither does responding to them. And if you’ve ever tried Google Ads, you know they don’t come cheap. Through Google reviews, you can advertise your detailing business on the world’s most trusted platform - completely free.
How to Get More Google Reviews
It’s simple: just ask!
Yup, it really is that simple. Research shows that 70% of people will leave a review for a business when asked to do so. Unfortunately, it also shows that 30% of people have never been asked to leave a business review at all.
But who should I ask?
All of your customers! If that makes you uncomfortable, start with the regulars. You know that they’re happy with your service - they keep coming back. So why not ask them to share their experience with your business online?
When should I ask?
There isn’t a one size fits all solution for the best time to ask for a review. That said, there are some general guidelines you should follow when it comes to this.
First off, the best time to ask for a review is after providing a great experience, when the customer is at peak satisfaction. Avoid reaching out to ask for a review if a week has passed after concluding business or on days when the customer is very busy.
Pro Tip: Experiment to figure out what time is right for you and your customers.
Where should I ask?
In Person or By Phone
Every time you hand over a car to a happy customer, encourage them to share their experience online - and train your employees to do the same. If you tend to call your customers a day or two after doing business to check in with them, you can ask for a review then. It might be less awkward to do over the phone, at least in the beginning.
Via SMS or Email
If you regularly communicate with your customers via SMS or email, we recommend creating a review request template to send out the day of or the day after doing business.
It can be something as simple as:
“Hey (name)! We’d like to hear about your experience with (business name). When you have a moment, please leave us a review at (link). Thanks!”
Pro Tip: If you don’t get a reply, send a follow-up text or email a couple of days later.
On Your Website & Social Media
If you have an up-to-date website that gets a decent amount of traffic, add “review us” links to relevant web pages or create a dedicated customer feedback page with embedded Google Reviews.
This signals to Google that your website belongs to a trustworthy business which will help you a great deal with indexing and ranking in local search results. To achieve this, we recommend using a simple app like Elfsight. This tool pulls reviews from your GBP and embeds them into your website. It also adds useful schema markup so Google searchers can see your star rating (see image below).
While you’re at it, post your review links on social media too.
In Your Marketing Materials
For those of you that don’t feel comfortable asking for a review directly, there’s another way. Take the opportunity to encourage reviews in your email signature, flyers, brochures, and other printed or digital marketing materials.
Whichever method you choose, it’s a good practice to have some prepared templates. Keeping it simple is always a great idea. Approach them pleasantly and honestly, like “asking for a favor. “ Remind customers that reviews aren’t just for your benefit; they help people who have the same pain points as them to find a solution and make informed decisions.
A Couple More Tips For Getting Google Reviews
1 - Create a Google Review Request Link
Having a direct link to your Google Business Profile Review Form makes it easier for people to actually go through with the reviewing process.
There are a couple of ways you can get and share this link. The quickest and easiest one is this: Go to Google.com. Make sure you’re logged in with your business email address. Type in the name of your business in the search box and navigate to the new Google Business Profile Section. Find the box that says “Get More Reviews” and click on it. Then just copy the link and share it with your customers.
Alternatively, navigate to your Google Business Profile Dashboard and scroll down until you find a button that says “Share Review Form”. Click on it, copy and paste the link and promote it on different online channels.
Pro Tip: If you want to have a shortened link that’s easier to include in your social media posts, website, email signature, etc., use a free link shortener tool like bit.ly.
2 - Create QR Codes for Your Google Reviews Page
QR codes are another way to make the reviewing process easier for your customers. They can be used both online (in emails, digital invoices, and on your website), and offline (on business cards, brochures, thank-you cards, aftercare documents, etc.). To generate a QR code that links to your Google Business Profile Review Form, use a free tool like VistaPrint and follow the prompts until you have a ZIP file with your code.
3 - Use the Google Business Profile Marketing Kit
This is a free tool by Google that lets you customize, download, and print personalized marketing materials to promote your business both online and offline. Using the Google Business Profile Marketing Kit, you can create content for social media posts, posters, flyers, stickers, self-standing signs, etc., in line with your brand’s visual identity. We suggest adding a QR code or a shortened URL for your Google Business Profile Review Form on these materials to get more Google Reviews.
4 - Don’t Incentivize or Buy Google Reviews
Be careful not to violate the Google review policy when trying to get more Google reviews for your detailing business. Offering money for reviews is explicitly prohibited by Google, and offering incentives like discounts or gifts is strongly discouraged. Both of these things could get you in trouble with Google itself, but also with government agencies and regulators like the FTC, and lead to fines. Definitely not worth the risk.
How to Manage Your Google Reviews
When you start asking customers for reviews and implementing the strategies we suggested in the first part of this guide, you’ll need to have a review management strategy in place.
This means monitoring your Google Reviews regularly, responding to them in the best way possible, and attempting to remove them if necessary.
Responding to Google Reviews
Responding to Google Reviews is a no-brainer. Data shows that 53% of customers expect it, but as much as 63% say that they’ve never heard back from a business they reviewed. On the other hand, businesses responding to over 25% of their reviews earn 35% above average; those that don’t earn 9% below average. Additionally, a survey by Google and Ipsos Connect showed that businesses that respond to reviews are considered 1.7 times more trustworthy than those that don’t.
So yeah, even if you’re super busy, you should make some time at least every week to respond to your detailing business’ Google reviews. Simply click the Reviews tab in your Google Business Profile Dashboard and start replying. Make sure to always be professional and write in your brand voice.
Keep on reading for tips on how to respond to positive, neutral, and negative customer reviews.
Responding to positive reviews is fairly straightforward. Still, there are some best practices you should follow to get the most out of your replies.
First off, try to be specific rather than generic by using the customer’s name and touching on something specific they said in their review. Show your gratitude for their support and appreciation that they took the time to leave you a review. Invite them back and let them know that you’re looking forward to serving them again.
Here’s a template that you can customize for positive review responses:
"Hey (name)! Thank you so much for taking the time to leave us a review. We appreciate your feedback and are happy that you enjoyed a positive experience with (business name). Looking forward to seeing you again soon!"
Nobody wants to get 1 or 2-star Google reviews, but we all do sometimes, especially if we’re out there asking all our customers for feedback.
The worst thing to do when your detailing business gets a poor customer review is to ignore it. This kind of behavior can seriously damage your business’s reputation in the long run!
And don’t get us wrong. We’re not saying that a couple of less-than-stellar reviews are going to tank your online reputation. Quite the opposite - research shows that businesses with ratings between 3.5 & 4.5 stars earn more revenue than others. This is because bad reviews show that you’re human. Responding to them gives you a chance to publicly show how customer-centric and empathetic your business is.
The best way to get negative customer feedback under your control is this: respond promptly and thoughtfully. This way you can turn a negative customer experience into a positive one, and show the world how much you care and how committed you are to making things right.
First off, think about the feedback and discuss it internally with your employees and partners. Then prepare an appropriate response. Reply publicly and quickly. Start by apologizing and showing the customer that they are heard. Sincerely thank them for their input and ask them to clarify what went wrong (don’t go into detective mode, the goal is to empathize, not interrogate). Remember to be polite and concise - don’t go on a rant or get defensive. Own up to your mistakes, be transparent about issues, and offer appropriate solutions. Then try to move the conversation away from your Google Business Profile and speak 1 : 1 via phone or email. Finish the message in a professional tone and sign your name to add a human touch.
Here’s a template that you can customize for negative review responses:
“Hi (name)! Thank you for your feedback, it’s much appreciated. We are truly sorry that your experience with (business name) did not match your expectations. Please help us improve by providing more information on it. We would love to make things right for you. To discuss this further, give us a call at (number) or email us at (address). Thanks again, (name)!"
Now that we’ve covered both ends of the customer review spectrum, let’s talk about the middle. With neutral reviews, it can be difficult to know where the customer stands when it comes to your services as their feedback contains both positive and negative elements.
Our top tip for neutral reviews is to treat them similarly to negative ones by offering a way to interact 1:1. Kindly ask for clarification regarding the underwhelming aspects of their Google review and remember to be warm, friendly, and appreciative.
Here’s a template that you can customize for neutral review responses:
"Hi (name)! Many thanks for your time and feedback. We’re happy to hear that you enjoyed (positive experienced mentioned). Please help us improve by providing more details about (the negative experience mentioned). We’d love to make things right for you. To discuss this further, give us a call at (number) or email us at (address). Thanks again, (name)!"
Removing or Editing Google Reviews
Nowadays, there are people as well as bots that leave fake Google reviews. If you get feedback that seems like a planned malicious attack on your business’s online reputation, you need to take additional measures to protect it.
Unfortunately, you can’t hide or delete reviews from your Google Business Profile like you can on Facebook. You can, however, report them as inappropriate and try to get Google to take them down. This process can often be frustrating as there’s no actual guarantee that Google support will listen to what you have to say and remove the bogus review. Still, it doesn’t hurt to try.
To flag, a Google review, navigate to your Google Business Profile and go to the Reviews tab. Find the review you want removed and click the three dots in the top right corner. Select “Flag as inappropriate” and follow the prompts. You’ll get a pop-up asking you to choose a relevant reason for reporting the review. Select it and click “Report”. Google will then process your request and update you with an email.
If you’ve managed to resolve an issue for an unsatisfied customer, politely ask them if they’d be willing to edit or delete their negative Google Review. In case they say yes but don’t know how to do it, here’s a quick explanation.
The customer must be logged in with the Google account they used to write the review. Have them open Google Maps, click on the top-left menu button, and choose “Your Contributions”. Then they should click on the Reviews tab and find the review they want to edit from the list. When they do, ask them to click on the three dots icon and choose “Edit Review”. From there they can change the text and star rating.
Google Reviews are a free and easy way to increase your online exposure and give your detailing business a big credibility boost. They are often the deciding factor that tips prospective customers in your, rather than your competitors’ favor.
So why wait for the Google reviews to come in themselves?
Start asking for them as of today! You’ll quickly begin experiencing the benefits. And if you’re awkward about asking for reviews, don’t worry. Even casual requests to your loyal customers are much better than not asking anyone at all.
Oh, and don’t forget to respond to the reviews you do get, whatever the customers’ sentiment is. Use the opportunity and make your business outshine the rest.