A Guide to Google Customer Reviews

Looking at the benefits of Google Customer Reviews? Wise move, reviews are a fantastic asset for every business. But take a look a little closer, and you might just realise that Reviews.io is the wisest move for your brand.

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Reviews are for everyone – an all encompassing statement that means reviews not only give customers a chance to have their say, but the opportunity to collect such feedback could – and should – be captured by every business. Therefore, the next step is finding an appropriate review platform, so take a look at how Reviews.io is that step in the right direction for your business.

This post will include:

Google Customer Reviews breakdown
Seller Ratings and on-site benefits
Google Customer Reviews eligibility
Reviews with Reviews.io
Summary

Google Customer Reviews

Although there are numerous review platforms on the market, we wanted to look at the biggest and most widely known contender, Google. So what do Google Customer Reviews enable your business to do?

Collect feedback from users who’ve made a purchase on your site. Ratings from Google Customer Reviews apply to your seller ratings eligibility. Seller ratings appear on Search Ads, in Shopping ads and on an optional badge that can be displayed on your site.
Customers who’ve made a purchase on your site are presented with an option to opt-in to receive an email requesting feedback from Google about their experience with your shop. If the customer opts-in, they may receive an email after their order has arrived. The collected ratings are then displayed on your optional Google Customer Reviews badge, appear in your Merchant Center dashboard and are used for seller ratings.

This is all pretty straight forward, but let’s break it down.

“Collect feedback from users who’ve made a purchase on your site.”

You can collect customer feedback in the form a review. Reviews are made of 2 or more components, but fundamentally require a star rating – usually out of 5 – and a brief description of the service received from the business. Don’t worry if you’re not an e-Commerce business, customer’s needn’t make a purchase online for your business to still collect reviews, so keep reading.

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Google Customer Reviews

“Ratings from Google Customer Reviews apply to your seller ratings eligibility. Seller ratings appear on Search Ads, in Shopping ads and on an optional badge that can be displayed on your site.”

The star ratings from the reviews are aggregated over time and form what are known as Seller Ratings. Seller Ratings are specific to any paid advertising you may have for your business online.

It’s also really important to note that you don’t need to operate online, in order to use paid advertising online. When you reach Google’s threshold (100 company reviews 3.5 stars+ collected within 12 months), your Seller Ratings can then start to appear alongside your paid ads. These paid ads are known as Google Ads, formerly called Adwords.

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Seller Ratings (stars) in Google Ads

Product reviews are another kettle of fish. Product reviews do not count towards Seller Ratings, therefore do not contribute towards the 100 review threshold to see stars in Google Ads. Instead, individual product review ratings can accompany any product listings you have for Google Shopping campaigns, another form of paid advertising.

Your Google Customer Review stars can also be displayed on your website, and this is done via a badge. Google Customer Review badges are boxes containing code which can be added to your site’s pages, to dynamically display your review rating as and when reviews come in.

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Google Customer Reviews badge

“Customers who’ve made a purchase on your site are presented with an option to opt-in to receive an email requesting feedback.. they may receive an email after their order has arrived.”

This does what it says on the tin. If customers opt-in, they receive an email to leave their review. The opt-in process is a little off-putting as it takes away from the ease and speed of leaving a review, and may actually hinder collection rates. But either way, this is how your reviews are asked for and collected with Google.

“The collected ratings are then displayed on your optional Google Customer Reviews badge, appear in your Merchant Center dashboard and are used for seller ratings.”

Lastly, all company reviews collected are aggregated and once Google’s threshold is met, those Seller Ratings can appear alongside your paid advertising – Google Ads. You can also display your average star rating on your website using a badge, and all your reviews can be monitored within the Merchant Centre Dashboard.

Seller Ratings and on-site benefits

We’ve broken down what using Google Customer Reviews does, but why are Seller Ratings in your ads and reviews on your site beneficial?

Stars in Google Ads are highly influential as they help you stand out from competitors, and instantly evoke customer trust.

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A company with Seller Ratings, compared to one without in the listings

This improved trust promotes greater click through rates, which in turn reduces your PPC spend by up to 17%!

An increase in traffic means more on-site visitors. Reviews displayed across your website keep your customers engaged with your brand and services, to ultimately turn shoppers into your customers as well as boost lead conversion.

In a nutshell, reviews show consumers that you’re openly interested in their thoughts and opinions, displaying them in your paid advertising helps place you above competitors, and on-site reviews cement your great service generating more trust and thus sales online and offline.

The above benefits apply to any business collecting reviews with a Licensed Review Partner, whether you choose to use Google Customer Reviews or Reviews.io. Google Customer Reviews seem to tick all the boxes, but there’s on small hiccup.

Are you eligible?

Google Customer Reviews eligibility

So what’s the catch? Through each statement, Google repeatedly mention collecting reviews when your customers make a purchase on your site. It may not seem big, but their next statement isolates a lot of businesses:

To use Google Customer Reviews, your website checkout flow must include an order confirmation page.

Ah. Website checkout flow? Order confirmation page? You may have a website, most businesses do, and if you’re an e-Commerce business then you’re probably shrugging your shoulders. But what do you do if you’re a service based business that doesn’t have a checkout on your website? Google Customer Reviews leaves you high and dry.

That’s where Reviews.io comes in, because we believe every business should be able to reap the rewards of reviews.

Reviews with Reviews.io

Collecting and publishing your reviews with Reviews.io is extremely simple, but doesn’t quite follow the same steps as Google Customer Reviews. For optimum clarity I’ll run through the review journey.

Collection

Customers are asked for reviews either via an email or SMS invitation, or directly after their experience using our In-Store app.

Emails and SMS invitations can be sent one of two ways; Customers can be sent an invitation automatically after their order has been dispatched, or, the invitation can be manually sent once a service as been used, such as receiving an invoice. The individuals name, email address and invoice or reference number are added to a csv. file, and the invitations are sent.

All invitations can be customised to match your brand for instant recognition and consistency between your service and review request.

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Review invitation email

The In-Store app can be used right after face-to-face point or purchase or service. Customers fill in a review form on an iOS tablet device, and the review is successfully collected.

The app is perfect for tradesmen, car dealers, or any business with a bricks and mortar store looking to acquire their customer feedback there and then. Don’t let the name deceive you, the app can be used anywhere – from a building site, to a mountain trek in Peru. You might not be up a mountain, but with the In-Store app you’ll never have to worry about loss of internet connection.

All reviews collected via email, SMS or In-Store app methods appear within the Reviews.io timeline for you to then publish and manage. So with Reviews.io you needn’t worry if you don’t have an order confirmation page on your website, because our review solution doesn’t solely rely on this process.

There’s more. Not only does Reviews.io enable non-e-Commerce businesses the opportunity to collect reviews, but those businesses can also direct their customers to Google…and Facebook, or Yelp, even TripAdvisor (amongst many others) to leave reviews! Let’s have a look.

Local Reviews

With our Local Reviews solution, businesses can send a percentage of their customers to write their review on any channel important to them. So if you’re still interested in collecting Google Customer Reviews – Reviews.io enables 2 birds, 1 stone.

Getting your reviews across multiple channels is advisable. Shoppers leave reviews when they like, in places they like, which may leave your online reputation a bit of a mixed bag. You might be seeing a steady 5 stars on Facebook, but your Yelp score may not be as polished. Shoppers also see this and the disparity may leave them wondering what to trust..

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Inconsistent review ratings

 

You should be doing everything you can to mitigate negative feedback, but with the best will in the world you’re not always going to be able to achieve a resolution, and sadly you may also find a review here or there left unjustly. You’ve now got a permanently scathing review online for everyone to see.

By inviting your customers to leave reviews on Google, Yell, Auto Trader and so forth, you begin to not only build your reviews in these areas, but also build your rating and let your true reputation shine through. Online shoppers will be able to see a wealth of feedback regarding your brand wherever they look, which should also become consistent across the web, strengthening trust.

Seller Ratings

If your business has paid advertising online such as Google Ads, you should definitely be interested in getting your Seller Ratings (already discussed earlier in this post) alongside them. But surely Google Ads are just Google’s deal? Wrong! As Reviews.io is a Google Licensed Review Partner, we are licensed to send all verified company reviews in a feed to Google.

With review collection via any of the methods outlined, as soon as you meet Google’s Seller Ratings threshold and criteria, you should then see those gleaming stars next to your Google Ads.

Management

Staying on top of your reviews by resolving issues and taking onboard customer pain points will help you make valued changes for your business and customers alike.

Every review collected using Reviews.io will appear within your dashboard timeline, which includes all company, product and local reviews. You can easily monitor all you feedback from one place; enable review alerts so you can respond to reviews and rectify customer issues before they escalate; share reviews to social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter; or turn reviews into retargeted advertising and put your brand at the forefront of your customers purchase decisions.

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Manage, monitor, and share reviews

Publication

It’s equally important to showcase the reviews you’ve collected on your website – as well as offline channels! Publishing your reviews on your website empowers customers to garner greater insight to your service, keeping them on-site and encouraging sales and lead generation. Unlike Google Customer Reviews who only have one badge and widget, Reviews.io have numerous badges and widgets to suit all business website needs.

You can add a trust badge to show your review total and overall rating. The badge also includes the Reviews.io logo, helping to convey that those reviews have been collected with a impartial review service, and as the name implies instils trust.

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Reviews.io trust badge

Or, add a widget to certain pages of your website to dynamically display your reviews as and when customers leave them, helping to form interactions and positively influence purchase decisions.

One of our many widgets is the floating widget. Our floating widget sits nicely on the side of any website, and can be expanded at the click of a button. Many of our widgets – such as our carousel or floating widget – display reviews collected on local sites too, boosting your channel visibility.

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Reviews.io floating widget with local reviews

Lastly, any reviews collected can be utilised in traditional forms of advertising offline. Get your reviews up in your bricks-and-mortar stores on posters or TV monitors to keep your feedback fresh. You can even use our logo or your own star rating on vehicles or in store windows – it’s really up to you.

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Reviews displayed on TV screen in a store

Summary

Hopefully you understand the basics of how Google Customer Reviews work, but also understand the shortfalls in the service. Reviews.io overcome these blind spots to enable both e-Commerce and service based businesses the opportunity to collect, manage and publish all their valuable customer feedback.

Even if you’re still keen to collect Google Customer Reviews, you can do so using our Local Reviews solution. We advocate review collection across multiple channels because this approach only helps towards improving your online reputation, and at Reviews.io we’re always looking to help our clients succeed.

No matter your business size, shape or form, you can collect company, product, local and photo reviews – amongst many other review features – all of which can be tailored to your business’ needs. You’ve already made the wise decision to look into review collection, make sure your choice of platform is a wise one too.

If you want to know more about meeting Google’s criteria, give one our friendly team a call, or head over to our website to find out more about our solutions and features.

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