The Google Places LogoToday Google announced it is finally embracing the two way conversation for business place reviews on its Google Places platform. As a result, business owners can reply to both negative and positive reviews for their businesses which were left on their Google Places profile.

This is Very Good News
Having dealt with some reputation management issues in the past for clients it used to drive me to distraction that the client could not respond to negative reviews on many of the review websites online. As a result, unfortunate situations where a miscommunication or simple mistake had occurred would quickly bloom out of control because the business owner had less options to respond as publicly as their unhappy patron. Fortunately, over the years IYP platforms that allow reviews such as Yelp and TripAdvisor finally opened the doors to allow business owners to give their side of the story and today Google took the same leap.

What does this mean for you?

As a business owner this will allow you to manage your reputation far better because you will be able to respond to positive and negative reviews on Google Places with just as much visibility as the reviewer. Here are some examples of how responding to reviews can be great for your business:

  • Responding to Positive Reviews: be interactive and thank your reviewers for their kind statements and for taking the time to post them. If you can remember who they are it could provide greater dividends to provide a personal note that shows how much their business means to you (this works especially well for repeat customers you see all of the time). Who knows, by responding thoughtfully, you might turn them into full-fledge brand evangelists!
  • Negative Reviews: many business owners shrink away from negative reviews and hope they won’t have an impact on their business. Indeed, many just try to forget anything ever happened. There are a lot of problems with this thought pattern but consider the essential concept that what is written is only a small glimpse of what is likely being said about your business. With that in mind, consider that by constructively responding to a complaint you could stop all or a part of a damaging discussion around a negative incident both online and offline. Now, thanks to Google, you have that capability on yet another major review platform – Google Places.

This option has only just been released by Google (here is the announcement), and I, for one, am very happy it has been enabled and will utilize it whenever possible. I hope you take advantage of the great opportunities offered by this change as well.

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