As we all know reviews go a long way online. Social proof is a huge influencing factor in buying decisions made online. If you’re a local business and Google Places is attached to your Google listing, you reputation on Google Places means everything. The problem is that most local businesses don’t have many Google Places reviews and the ones they do have, tend to be bad because people put forth a lot more effort to complain then they do to praise.
We do reputation management for some of the clients we handle. Getting our clients legitimate positive reviews from their customers is no easy task but we consider ourselves to be pretty good at it. As part of our process we ask the client for their customer database and then send out an email requesting reviews. We separate their list by people who have gmail accounts from people who don’t. The gmail users are asked to leave a review on Google Places whereas the non gmail users are asked to leave a review on an industry specific website. The reason we do this is that you can’t leave a review on Google Places without a google account. We assume that if someone has gmail then they are already logged into their Google account and hence it should be incredibly easy to leave a review.
What we find is that far more people will leave a review on another review site then they will on Google. I’ve pondered why that would be and here are some reasons I can come up with:
- People want to feel anonymous when they leave a review online and by leaving a review tied to their Gmail account they don’t feel anonymous.
- They don’t think of Google as a place to leave reviews.
- The interface is confusing.
I opt for reason #3 being the interface is confusing. Let’s take a look at Googles review area vs an industry specific review site that we use a lot.
Industry Specific Review Site:
As you can see the Google Places interface for leaving a review leaves a lot to be desired. It doesn’t break anything down. It just asks for a star rating and a comment. Then when you select a star rating it pops up with some annoying message that makes no sense to the user. They aren’t joining a social network. They just want to leave a freakin’ review.
When you look at the industry specific review site you see that they break down the review into categories like customer service, price etc etc. In my experience this review site gets way more completions then Google Places does.
We’ve made it to the end of my ramblings but without a real solution. How do you get customers to leave more Google Places reviews? (and don’t say give them something free)
Let’s hear your take in the comments.