Google recently lowered its review threshold to a minimum of one-to-three reviews in order for brands to appear within the Local 3-Pack. Previously, local businesses were expected to have a minimum of five reviews in order to appear within the Local Pack, but evidence from Mike Blumenthal and Barry Schwartz suggests as little as one review will now be enough for brands to rank in the Local Pack. This can be both a good or bad thing for different store locations, depending on the quality of the reviews they currently have.
On the one hand, a single, 5-star review that appears within the Local Pack, where it previously may not have ranked, can increase brand visibility and in-store traffic. At the same time, a brand with just three reviews, one of which is negative, may gain visibility, but lose conversions due to the seeming majority people who had a sub par experience at that specific location. With a negative average rating, customers may avoid your brand altogether, never clicking on your local listing to find that two customers actually had very positive experiences at your store location.
As Google continues to give more brands visibility in an effort to enhance the local user experience, enterprise marketers need to increase their focus on review quantity and quality. Nearly 90% of consumers say they need to read at least 10 reviews before making a decision to purchase, and another 86% of people would hesitate to take a chance on a brand that has negative reviews. This means that even for brands who may now appear in the Local Pack, low star ratings or a lack of reviews may still have a very negative impact on converting online-to-offline.
Enterprise brands can take advantage of Google’s reduced review criteria without negative impact by implementing a reputation management strategy for dealing with positive, negative and neutral reviews. A healthy mix of both positive and negative reviews is actually a good thing, as 68% of consumers trust a brand more when they see both good and bad scores.
An actionable review response strategy makes consumers feel like your brand both listens to and values customer feedback. Responding publicly to a negative review and offering to resolve a customer’s issue will show other prospective customers that your brand is willing to take responsibility when mistakes happen. Ninety-five percent of unhappy customers will return if their issue is resolved quickly and efficiently, and considering that existing customers are worth up to seven times more than acquiring new ones, resolving issues quickly and effectively is a worthwhile venture.
Learn how to survive Google’s new star rating negative reviews and start encouraging new customer reviews today by showing that you value feedback and proactively addressing customer issues through a review response strategy. Get the right approach for responding to all types of reviews by downloading Brandify’s free whitepaper, Guide to Review Response below.