Pop quiz: What do 90% of your clients do before buying any professionally provided service?
Answer: They read your company’s online reviews.
Just yesterday, I saw a coworker of mine ditch a roofing company because of all the negative reviews. Those reviews essentially caused one roofing company to take business from another, which is an extremely powerful thing if you think about it.
If your work makes people happy, they’ll naturally tell others. Positive reviews have been around since the dawn of time, but your online reviews mean more now than ever before.
When it comes to online reviews – you need a lot of 5 stars and you need them to be coming your way on a regular basis.
What online reviews do for your service company?
5-Star reviews will do four powerful things:
- Drive up your overall average rating
- Clients are more likely to disregard any negative reviews if it’s surrounded by positive ones
- Make your company appear above your competitors in search.
- And of course, they steal business from those in your industry that have lower ratings.
Reviews listed online are how we filter out the bad apples from the good in the digital age. Almost 90% of people looking to buy check online reviews to determine the quality of a local business, and 39%, do so regularly.
Why? Because they trust them.
- 88% say they trust online reviews as much as recommendations from a good friend.
- 70% say positive reviews inspire trust in a local business.
- 85% of customers will need to see 10 or more positive reviews before they say that they fully trust the business.
Although these 90% of people base their buying decision on reviews, 80% will actually change their minds based on negative reviews, just like my coworker. And, if your company has two stars or less across the board, only 14% of people who look you up will end up doing business with you.
What review platforms matter the most?
The location of your online reviews is a big deal for a service company. You need to be present on the following:
- Your company’s Facebook page
- Consumer Reports
- Better Business Bureau
- Industry – specific review sites like Angie’s List
How to get a constant stream of good reviews?
From a high level, it’s all about making the process of giving you a good review as easy as possible. Asking for a good review isn’t rude or self-centered, but you don’t want to be a pest. You can’t try and get all your reviews at once, instead, think of it as setting up a process to keep them flowing over time.
- Asking for a review in person after a client or a customer just had a good experience with your brand. Tell them a 5-star review would mean a lot to you and your company.
- You can ask for reviews on your website—but only in very specific places and only in places, your happy clients would go.
- Get a clear and precise review link to place into your email signature.
- After you’ve had a good interaction with a client over email, you can finish the conversation by mentioning that a 5-star review would mean a lot.
- Don’t over-do it, but offering an incentive to a review your company can work, if done correctly.
- Responding to reviews, both negative and positive, shows that you care and will add that little push to people considering if it is worth their time to leave a review.
Why responding to your online reviews is important?
Building ongoing relationships and repairing damaged ones are done with effective review management.
Reviews are either good (4 and 5), mediocre (3), or bad (2 and 1).
If you get a good review:
Learn who the client is and find out more. Research about them and try and figure out their identity.
Preferably in less than two days’ time, respond to the review and make sure the response is completely original and candid. It’s up to you, but you can always include a couple sentences mentioning the services they or other clients might be interested in.
If you get a mediocre review:
Again, in two days or less try and get this review a response and gather as much information about this person and their experience as possible.
In this case, you should try and contact the person directly and if you can’t get to them then just leave your contact details in your response.
Instead of taking the defensive, express how you understand the situation and would like to make it correct while thanking them for the positive part of their review.
If your service company gets a bad review:
Try to get to all bad reviews in under 24 hours and do your absolute best to contact those who left these reviews.
Their concerns and experience should be taken completely seriously and they should know that their experience is not what usually happens with your clients. They should know that you are unhappy that they are unhappy and that you want to make it right, and that your team will be hearing all their feedback. No attacking, accusing, or patronizing the client in any circumstance.
And at the end of the day, you need to also make sure negative feedback doesn’t bring you or your company down, but instead that it makes your company better. Often, companies learn a lot from their reviews and become better and better over time.
The trick is that your company needs to focus on the customer experience to keep them coming back time after time.