If your home services business isn’t taking full advantage of customer reviews as part of your marketing strategy, you’re missing out on an opportunity to earn more business. In fact, some estimates of the percentage of people who consult reviews before buying are as high as 97 percent, so investing in understanding how reviews work and how you can use them to gain the trust of your prospects is time well spent. Here are a few guidelines for getting started and some tips on customer review etiquette.
Get to know the review sites your customers, prospects, and competitors are using
and create accounts for those that are relative to your business. Some of the top business review sites are Google, Facebook, and Yelp, but don’t rely solely on rankings to select your review sites, as your customer base may be looking elsewhere.
Stay engaged in your reviews.
Some clients shy away from review sites because they offer no control over positive and negative reviews, but ignoring them doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Even if you get a bad review, which even the best companies do from time to time, you should promptly address negative reviews and try to make them right. Doing this on a review site not only sends a positive message to a dissatisfied customer that you care but also demonstrates your commitment to good service to other potential customers. Another tip for responding to negative reviews is to avoid long, back and forth conversations on review sites. It’s ok to respond once to a negative review, but after that first contact, invite the customer to contact you directly by phone or email. Removing the public display of online reviews helps prevent negative situations from escalating. Equally important is to say thank you when you get a good review. Every interaction shows you care.
Don’t steal positive reviews from review sites.
Yes, we said steal because that’s what you would be doing. Most review sites have strict policies against copying customer reviews and using them as you please. The workaround is to provide a direct link to the review site, or to embed the review service into your website using a plugin.
Request reviews from your current customers.
Many of our clients use digital tools to help them collect customer reviews from their websites. Gathering reviews in this way has two major benefits. One is that you can request permission to use the reviews in your marketing as part of completing the review form or by contacting the customer and asking for consent. The other is that you can control the kind of information customers include in their reviews by creating questions that guide them to respond to specific aspects of your business.
Collecting customer reviews also comes with two caveats as well. The first is cautionary. Keep your review form short and simple. Customers are often happy to give you feedback, but they don’t want to write a novel about their experience. The second is strategic. Ask the right questions to prompt responses that offer value to you and to your prospects. The top three qualities that customers look for when selecting a home services company are expertise, value, and professionalism. Expertise meaning how well you did the job, value meaning did the customer get what they paid for (or more), and professionalism meaning did you show up on time in appropriate attire and treat the customer with respect and courtesy.
The bottom line is that your customers are consulting reviews before choosing your products or services, so it only makes sense to be tuned in to where your customers are finding reviews and what they’re reading about you. To take the next step with your customer reviews, read our article 5 Ways You Can Use Customer Reviews to Market Your Home Services Business.