Why are Google reviews important and what is the best approach in acquiring them?

GUEST BLOG

I’m happy to invite the esteemed Eimer Duffy of FIT Social Media onto the blog with an in depth look at Google Reviews, Eimer specialises in a blend of Social Media Consultancy, Mentoring and Training for Funeral Directors and Celebrants. Eimer and can be contacted here https://fitsocialmedia.ie/

Why are Google reviews important and what is the best approach in acquiring them?

Oh isn’t it great when you get a recommendation about a product or service from a family member or friend. We all like to hear something good about something we are considering and value recommendations from people we trust. This gives us confidence and peace of mind when it comes to purchasing a certain product or booking a service we need. Online recommendations/reviews can and do carry weight in the decision making process on whether to take the next step or not, I am sure you agree.

I recently got asked by a Funeral Director; “why is it important to have reviews on Google?”

So I always say let’s start and look at the journey your potential customer is on, which begins with the Awareness stage. This is where people are aware they need help and look for products or services they need, usually online. And when it comes to searching online, Google is the “go to” search engine for most people, but there are others such as Bing, Yahoo, DuckDuckGo and Ask.com to name a few to use too. And the phrase “to Google” has now become a popular phrase when it comes to searching online. 

Most people start with their phone, then either a tablet or desktop computer “to Google” things online.  More times than not, they look at the business they are interested in, and to see if there are any reviews of the business, products or services they provide, before they consider becoming a customer. And this can also be said about when it comes to searching for a funeral service provider and to find out about the services they provide. 

So when it comes to reviews, the quantity and quality of the reviews for a Funeral business is very important. Not just for people to read, but also for the business too, as this has a ranking factor for local search and beyond. Having a good ranking in a local search is key to begin with, as people do search for local first. They then look at funeral business listings that include customer reviews first. Having customer reviews shows greater credibility and encourages more click throughs online for a business.

Google Business Profile (was Google My Business)

To have reviews hosted on Google you need to have a Google Business Profile. If you don’t have a listing yet, then you can register for free https://www.google.com/intl/en_ie/business/ and follow the steps. Once you are registered, you will then have the facility for customers to leave your Funeral business reviews on Google, as well as access to lots of the great benefits that a Google Business Profile brings the business.

Now what’s the best approach to acquire reviews?

In your Google Business Profile you have an admin panel where you can update your business information, add content, update with posts, get insights into what people are interested in and receive and reply back to messages as well as reviews. 

People who you have helped can either leave their feedback (a review) by clicking on the “Write A Review” button on the front of the knowledge panel of your Google Business Profile. This is found when they have searched for your Funeral business (and selected your business name) on Google and then the knowledge panel appears on the right hand side of a computer screen. 

If they are searching for your business on a mobile phone it appears just below the search bar and slide-along the blue button group, and they will then find the blue button titled Reviews. Once they click on it and then click on the stars, they can then leave their thoughts on their experience.

You can also ask personally for feedback on their experience with the review link (if they have a Gmail account):

If you would like to personally send them a link and ask them for feedback of their experience, then this is easy for you to do so. All you have to do is, go to your Google Business Profile account on a computer (easier to share the link from) but you can use the Google Business Profile app. 

On a computer in the “Home” dashboard scroll down and find “Get More Reviews” (see the little guy in the little blue shirt). See below what he looks like:

Click on the “Share review form” and the unique link appears, copy this and then you can send in a personal email to who you wish to send it to.

And you can also ask personally for feedback on their experience with the review link (if they do not have a Gmail account and have another type of email account eg: a Hotmail account or Outlook etc…):

The person clicks on the same Feedback/Review link (mentioned earlier) you have sent them and this will blue screen will appear:

They need to click on “Sign in” and then the “Sign In” screen appears. 

They then have to click on the blue text “Create An Account” (which I know sounds strange):

Then they would select “For myself

Then they would click on “use my current email address instead” to then leave their feedback and so can leave their feedback (reveiw) using their own email address and they don’t have to have a Gmail account. 

This is what they will see and can leave their rating and comment then click on “Post”.

Tips:

I would have your Google Business Profile review link in your email signature for ease of access should someone wish to give their feedback on their experience. 

It is recommended to reply to reviews within 24 hours and at the very maximum 48 hours. Your customer has publicly given their feedback on their experience and so thanking them shows your community and anyone who “Googles” you that you have acknowledged it with a reply.

All in all, reviews are important. 

Why not give the families you have helped the opportunity to give your Funeral business some new reviews on Google by asking them for some feedback on their experience. 

After you have assisted a family and when you feel it is the right time, you might wish to email them and within the email at the right point of the conversation you might like to add the link placed behind for example; the word “feedback”.  All that the person has to do then is to click the link and leave their thoughts. 

Once they click on “Post”, you will have a new review on Google and become notified by Google in an email that you are then prompted to reply on your computer or through the Google Business Profile app on your phone. Once you reply the person who left the review will be notified.

And potential customers will get a sense of what your customers think by looking at your reviews.