After a storm with widespread damange, any homeowner’s first reaction is to immediately go online and start researching professional roofers to evaluate their property.
How they find that local company online today is almost always based on recommendations from a trusted service-related review website.
According to market research from BrightLocal,
“A positive online reputation is one of the most powerful marketing assets a business has to convince new customers to contact them. The social proof contained within reviews and star ratings helps consumers short cut their research and make decisions faster and with greater confidence than ever before.”
Yelp, HomeAdvisor, Angie’s List and other similar services give first-time customers a glance at your business - but what they’re primarily looking at are your reviews. How many stars do you have? What are the positive and negative things people mention? Do they talk about your prices, or your communication?
“84% of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation” [source] so it’s imperative that as a contracting business you optimize, monitor, respond and request these reviews.
Subscribe or Update Your Listings
The first step in ensuring positive reviews on any service recommendation website is to make sure you own your listing. Whether you need to pay to be a member, or can activate a free listing, whoever you designate as responsible for the account should do the following:
- Make Sure Your Listing is Accurate - company title, logo, images, contact information, address and website should all be up to date, and properly formatted. Is your logo cut off? Is your email address or website link active? Nothing is as frustrating as clicking through to get more information and landing on a 404 Error.
- Update Your Information - Make sure the description of your company and services matches what you actually do.
These may seem like no-brainers, but you’d be surprised how often companies will take a set-it-and-forget-it approach to their listings.
Have an Updated Business Website
A potential customer reads your glowing reviews, and clicks through to your company website to read more about you - and they land on a clunky, outdated website that doesn’t adjust to their mobile phone screen. Immediately, they are turned off - customer’s want to work with the best, so having an up to date website that reinforces the information on your listing is important to moving them closer to giving you a call or filling out your contact form.
Remember, coming from a recommendation website means it’s as easy as clicking the “back” button for a potential customer to go with a competitor instead of you.
Respond to Your Reviews - Even if they’re Negative!
When a customer does leave you a review - respond! Even if it’s a bad comment, taking the time to thank someone for their review will show that you are actively monitoring your feedback, and that you care about your reputation.
In fact, Review Trackers found that,
“52 percent of customers expect to hear back from brands within 7 days of writing an online review, particularly one that’s negative or critical.”
You may get a 1-star review from an unhappy customer and think, “well, it wasn’t my fault!” and ignore it. This is a mistake - instead, consider responding to the unhappy customer.
- Be Professional - don’t start a fight online. Thank the person for their honest feedback, and give a concise response, even if what they said was rude or untrue.
- Make sure that your response directly addresses the issue - Acknowledge that they are unhappy, and give a an answer that applies to their specific issue. For example, if they are complaining about price, note that your prices are based on fair market value for quality work - you only hire the best, certified professionals, and your pricing reflects these specialized services.
Responding to criticism in a professional and timely way shows that you care about the image of your business on review sites. A response may clear up a misunderstanding, give that person insight, or even change their mind.
On the flip side, you should also attempt to respond to positive reviews. If a customer leaves you a glowing, 5-star review, make sure you thank them, and tell them they were a pleasure to work with. The customer will feel validated in leaving a recommendation, and others reading the recommendations will see the effort you’ve made to ensure a personal level of attention and connection.
Make the Request:
You’ve finished a job, and your customer is thrilled - so ask them to leave a review!
“7 out of 10 customers will leave a review if they are asked to” [source] so take advantage!
The more reviews you have, the more trafficked your listing will be, and you will have a greater chance of being contacted by more potential customers.
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