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Google’s Star Rating has Changed the Face of Online Reputation Management

Reviews are quite capable of influencing people’s views particularly in the matter of choosing services and products. Google is making the review phenomenon clearer and more powerful by assigning star rating so that the quality of a particular business can be measured at a glance. However, in the recent times, Google has made certain changes to the star rating system which must be taken into account when you are trying to figure out the reviews of your business and the kind of impact it is creating on potential consumer’s mind.

Alterations in Google’s Star Ratings

Google is not offering a star rating for as low as 1 review which has changed from the earlier practice of 5 reviews at least. This means that only one person with his/her review is capable of making a difference in the reputation of your business. The ratings are provided on the basis of performance wherein a consumer can write a review as well as assign stars to a business service. For best performance he can give 5 stars whereas for worst performance he can provide 1 star. Google uses an algorithm to create an average of stars for an overall rating.

In addition to the average of star rating, the mathematical calculation behind the ratings have also been altered by Google. Earlier Google used the Bayesian average, which took account of the overall data set for each and every business during calculating the average; this also placed more emphasis on 5-star reviews. From now on Google will use the arithmetic system of calculating an average that all of us are taught in school. In the end, this will benefit the business owners because it is a fair way of calculating the average reviews. What results are generated from decreasing number of reviews is yet to be found out. However, business owners must pay close attention to the changes in the coming months.

Why Will this Change Impact Your Business?

Customer reviews are deemed important by consumers and according to Invespcro, around 90% of consumers read online reviews before visiting a particular business and a little less percentage of consumers trust those reviews. This precisely means that all reviews are significant and can impact your business. The earlier system of assigning star for at least 5 reviews brought something negative and something positive for businesses. For instance, businesses with fewer reviews had little breather because no one noticed and businesses with more reviews felt the rush because no one noticed.

Now, with the change in scenario and a single review being assigned stars the fate of your business is hanging in the middle. It could bring positive as well as negative impact. With a single review it is often difficult to determine how exactly a business is faring but until another person decides to provide a review, that star will be the only measure. This precisely means, a poor review will provide an overall bad rating for your business while 2 positive reviews can provide an overall good rating for your business.

The Challenges of this System and How to Take Advantage

The challenge for business owners is to provide quality products on a constant basis because they cannot control any review customers are providing. Thus, creating quality products is the only way out to constantly receive positive reviews from customers. However, even after taking all measures, you can always come across a disgruntled customer who can place a negative review regarding your product or service. The only way to safeguard your reputation is by encouraging customers to provide several reviews so that the positive come up and the negative ones go down and your overall ratings provided by Google can improve.

How can You Encourage Customers to Leave Feedbacks?

  1. Ask for Reviews- This is the simplest way; ask your customers to provide reviews after using your products and services. Customers are generally aware of how important reviews are and hence they will provide positive reviews if they are happy with the service. However, remember to ask them immediately after transaction.

  2. Simplify the Review Process- Before you ask for feedback, ensure that you simplify the process for your customers. Leave links for customers and place the same links on your blog and website for customer reference. Also, provide clear directions to customers on what they could do.

  3. Follow Up- Send a follow up asking for their overall experience by doing business with you. Wait for at least a week before you send the email as they will be excited about their latest purchase. Additionally, this will help in building solid customer relationships.

  4. Reward Customers for Feedback- Providing incentives for leaving reviews and ratings is a productive practice. This helps in building momentum and customer loyalty though you cannot stick to it in the long run because it is costly. Consider giving discounts for a stipulated time period.

  5. Respond to Negative Reviews- Never delete negative reviews. Lots of positive reviews without a negative one generally creates incredulity among people regarding a particular business. There will always be someone unhappy with your product or service and it is always wise to give his reviews importance too. In fact, acknowledge his problem and try to resolve it if possible. This will create a positive impression on the customer’s mind.

Google’s alterations have changed the way in which business did their online reputation management. The process has become more organic though a little challenging for the business owners. But at the end of the day staying ahead of your competition demands steady efforts.

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