Once upon a time, we’d just ask our friend or family member to refer a good electrician or HVAC repairperson. While that certainly still happens, traditional word of mouth is no longer the only resource.
Today, the new normal is to grab your phone and search for, “electrician near me” or a similar phrase and see who pops up. (That has to do with search engine optimization (SEO) but is a conversation for another blog.) When those results appear, you then have a choice to make — who ya gonna call?! Online shoppers will base their first call on several factors — some rational and some completely arbitrarily. One of the most influential factors in today’s digital landscape is online reviews.
If you don’t believe it, consider a recent study by Zendesk that found 88% of participants claimed to have been influenced by an online review when making a buying decision, and 90% said a positive review was an influencer.
That being said, if you’re not currently getting online reviews, now’s the time to start, and here are a few quick steps to help you kick things off:
- Set up profiles on multiple review sites
Do your research and consider all of the websites that are relevant to your business. Below is a short list that are most relevant to contractors:
- Angie’s List
- Home Advisor
- Ask customers for reviews & make it easy for them
When asking for reviews, don’t wait too long. Strike while the positive (hopefully) memory is still top of mind. Send out a quick email to recent customers asking them to share their experience on one of the aforementioned review platforms. If they’ve already given you great feedback in person or via email, chances are they will be willing to take an extra step and add it to the review platform of their choice too. Submitting reviews does take a little time, but the easier you make it for customers to review your product or service, the more likely they are to do it. Put direct links on your review profiles in multiple places; for example, a follow up email, newsletter, and your website.
- Create incentives for reviews
There are people who try to beat the system and create fake reviews, stacking the deck with positive feedback. They will get busted sooner or later so make sure you are seeking authentic reviews, but it is ok to offer an incentive. For example, you could provide a discount code for a percentage off a future electrical or HVAC project, which would be provided after receiving their online review.
- Thank your reviewers
So you’re starting to get reviews…congratulations! You are now well on your way to boosting your business. Now it’s important for you to thank those who responded, letting them know you appreciate their business and the time they took to provide a review. Although it may pain you to do so, it’s important to also thank those who provided a less than great review. Nothing diffuses a negative review as well as a sincere, “thank you” and public offer to make it right. This will not only get that reviewer to take notice and keep it from festering, it will also show other readers that you’re not defensive and run a quality, professional business. This will validate their own experience and inspire them to keep writing.
If you need help getting your online review process started or generating more positive reviews, contact Incite Creative at firstname.lastname@example.org