The importance of online customer reviews for any business cannot be emphasized enough. In a recent survey, 88% of buyers said that they read reviews to decide the quality of a local business, and just over 70% said positive reviews give them trust and faith in a local business. Yes, that’s right. Almost 90 % of people are going to look for a review before they hire you.
Reviews are the new way that customers find out if you are reliable and a good solution for them.
For home services and contractor businesses, reviews are even more important than for other industries. If people are going to let you build their home, work on their home, be in their home and possibly charge them a great deal of money, they want to know that they can trust you. Here are some guidelines to help your business position itself using online reviews.
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Stay above board
Review sites like Yelp, FourSquare, and Google Places want to have a thorough directory of companies, so in order to do so, they use freely available information to create profiles for companies. Some sites do this only when a company is reviewed, but others do it routinely. The problem here is that, your company may be listed with incorrect or incomplete information. To prevent this, you can claim your pages as soon as possible and then you will have control over what they contain. It’s free to claim a page and, if no page has been created, you can create one easily.
Not only will claiming your page allow you to control its content, it may also improve your listing in search rankings. Often, registering will grant you access to special amenities- provided that the site has them to offer. These may include tools to track and analyze reviews, etc.
Cultivate reviews naturally
Some people attempt to outsmart the system and post reviews to their own site, or post negative ones to competitors’ pages. That is not ethical and is a breach of the rules of these types of sites. This does not apply just to the business owners. It also applies to any family or friends who are not genuine customers, or even staff. Posting bogus reviews may also be unlawful in some countries. Allow your reviews to grow naturally over time. Good work and great customer service will allow you to create a positive reflection of yourself, organically. Be cautious with rules at sites such as Yelp
Review sites have rules to protect both business owners and customers. Most of these types of sites stipulate the following simple rules:
- No profanity
- No personal attacks
- No advertising
- No criticisms of the site itself
Others have stricter regulations. It depends on the site.
Whichever site (or sites) that you choose to join, be sure to pay careful attention to their rules and try to follow them as closely as possible. There’s no point writing a response that breaks the site’s rules because it won’t be published anyway.
Use the feedback to improve your business
If looked at in the correct light, negative reviews can be viewed as constructive and helpful to your business. If people are consistently rating you highly on efficiency, but not as much on customer service, then you may need to take a look around at what your business may be doing wrong. You can also use positive reviews to see what to keep up!
Tips for getting more reviews:
- Display the logos of the review sites EVERYWHERE to encourage customers to post reviews – the website, the workplace, the construction site, the office… etc.
- Provide comment cards in your brick and mortar and locations and encourage the commenters to share their review online, as well.
- Embed a ‘Review us now’ plug-in on your site. The button should bring customers directly to the review site.
- Give customers motivation to write reviews about your business. You can do that by offering promotions or incentives, starting a new product line, holding an event, etc.
- Integrate with billing/accounting software for follow up with customers.
- Try out paid services that will make outbound calls to obtain reviews.
- Offer rewards for positive reviews. A gift voucher, for example.
At the end of the day, there are many ways to get and manage reviews online and your reputation depends on it. The more authentic and positive the reviews, the better, so it is recommended to put forth an effort to encourage customers to post reviews, and take those reviews to heart. If you need help with getting reviews, contact us and we can go over your plan to get more reviews!
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