Online reviews can have a huge impact on the success of your home services business.
Homeowners looking for the services you offer look at online reviews before selecting a provider. In fact, a recent survey found that 98% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses.
Not only that, but potential customers want to see current customer feedback. 93% of respondents of the same survey said how recent a review was is important to them.
So, what does this mean for your home services business? That it’s crucial to know how to get customers to leave reviews on a routine basis.
In this article, we’ll look at why online reviews are important for home services businesses. Then, we’ll review specific strategies for getting customers to leave online reviews. Plus, we offer you tips for responding to positive and negative online reviews.
Let’s get started.
Why Online Reviews Are Important for Home Services Businesses
Online reviews are a crucial element of marketing your home services business.
Customer reviews boost your SEO results and help prospective customers find your business when searching online for local service providers. These reviews make your marketing claims believable by providing evidence that your service is as great as you say it is.
This customer feedback also builds trust.
Research even shows that 49% of customers trust online reviews as much as they trust recommendations from friends and family. So, when you have many reviews and they’re mostly positive, prospects are more likely to trust your company to meet their needs.
Think of online reviews as a form of modern word-of-mouth marketing that attracts prospective customers.
Reviews also provide your business with valuable customer feedback. You can use review insights to help you continually improve the quality of your service.
Plus, responding to these reviews demonstrates that your business cares about your customers.
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7 Strategies for Getting Customers to Leave Online Reviews
Getting customers to leave online reviews is a continuous process. (Remember that 49% of prospective customers want to see reviews written within the last month.)
So, you must create a process for encouraging customers to provide honest feedback on a routine basis.
Here are some strategies you can use to get customers to regularly leave online reviews:
1. Provide Exceptional Service from Start to Finish
Positive reviews start with an excellent customer experience from beginning to end.
Teach all your employees to have a customer-oriented mindset. This will help ensure that each interaction customers have with your business will be positive. And positive interactions inspire them to want to leave good reviews online.
2. Set Expectations and Continuously Communicate
Homeowners have come to expect a less-than-desirable experience when dealing with home services providers. Often, these negative experiences include:
- A broad service window requiring them to wait at home for an undetermined amount of time
- Last-minute scheduling changes and arrival notices
- Extended wait times with no further communication after making an appointment
- Disorganized crew members appearing unannounced or leaving without completing the service
- Frustrating scheduling and billing methods
- Crews that don’t clean up after themselves or leave random tools behind
But it shouldn’t be like this.
And you can make sure it’s not by clearly communicating with homeowners ahead of their service appointments. Let them know what to expect and when to anticipate it. Then continuously communicate with customers leading up to each appointment.
For example, have the service agent alert the client of any delays or notify them if they are running ahead of schedule. Have them also provide ample notice before arriving at the customer’s home.
3. Train Representatives to Request a Review
Your technicians are the ones who interact with your clients the most. It makes sense to train them to request a review at the end of each service appointment.
This is when the customer’s experience is fresh in their mind, making it easier for them to provide an accurate review. Post-service completion is also when they’ll be the most excited about the result. So, their enthusiasm will shine through in a review.
The best way to teach your service reps to make this request is by providing them with an easy script to learn. Have them role-play in an internal meeting so that it becomes natural and automatic.
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4. Create Cards for Technicians to Give Customers When the Job Is Complete
Another way to encourage customers to leave online reviews is to print leave-behind cards. These are cards that your service technicians can give customers at the end of the call.
Leave-behind cards are typically the size of a standard business card. They should have a QR code on them that takes the customer to your Google My Business page.
The QR code should take the client directly to the page where they can leave you a review. This makes the process effortless, so they’re most likely to leave reviews in a timely fashion.
Another variation of this is to print fliers for techs to leave with customers at the end of a job. They can also have a QR code, or a list of review sites customers can visit to leave feedback.
5. Send Follow-up Emails
Many clients do want to support your business and leave a positive review of their services. The biggest thing that stops them? They’re busy and forget to do it.
A quick follow-up email can be just the reminder they need.
When a customer schedules their service, get their email address. After you finish the service, send a follow-up email to thank them for trusting your team.
In the same email, request feedback on the service you provided. Include a link to a review site to make it easy for them to leave a review.
6. Gamify the Review Process
Use a leaderboard to create some friendly competition amongst your team. Encourage your technicians to compete to rack up reviews.
You can track how many positive reviews and total reviews each tech is generating. Then, recognize whoever receives the most reviews each month. You can give a prize if it’s within your budget. Or simply give the winner bragging rights and public recognition.
This makes it fun and increases employee engagement while helping you get more reviews.
7. Follow Up on Review Requests Monthly
Sending a review follow-up email at the end of each month can be another helpful tactic. This is just an extra email to remind customers to leave reviews if they haven’t already done so.
If you’re already sending a monthly email to existing customers, such as a newsletter, you can just add a CTA to leave a review.
A monthly newsletter can also provide homeowners with useful information about your company. And it keeps your name in the front of their minds and reminds them to provide honest feedback.
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Why It’s Important to Respond to Online Reviews
Many aspects of your online reputation can influence whether potential customers choose your services. These include your number of reviews, how recent they are, and your overall review score.
But it’s not enough to only collect online reviews from your clients. You need to respond to those reviews—all of them. Here’s why:
89% of consumers read the responses of businesses to reviews
The way businesses respond to reviews matters to 56% of consumers
53.3% of customers expect businesses to respond quickly (within 7 days) to a review
It’s also important to remember that your responses give prospective customers a sense of what it’s like to do business with you. So, what you say can mean the difference between closing a deal or not.
Read on for some tips for responding to both positive and negative online reviews.
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5 Tips for Responding to Positive Online Reviews
It may not be obvious, but it’s important to respond to all customer feedback. Even positive reviews.
Failing to respond to positive feedback makes you look unappreciative. Taking the time to respond to each review encourages more customers to leave feedback. It shows that you value their input.
Responding to satisfied customers is also an opportunity to engage with happy customers. This can increase the chance that they’ll become a repeat customer.
Here are five tips for responding to positive online reviews:
1. Respond in a Timely Fashion
A quick response shows that you’re listening. It leaves a good impression of your company.
Plus, a timely answer makes it more likely that the customer will remember your business. And if they remember you, they’re more likely to recommend you to others.
2. Say Thank You
Great reviews and high ratings are testimonials that influence your prospects’ decision-making process. Which means your reviewers did you a favor by sharing their positive experiences with your business. So, show your appreciation by saying thank you.
Thanking customers for reviews publicly will make them feel valued. It’ll also allow thousands of potential new customers to read your response—and get a positive impression of your company.
3. Use Their Name
Thanking your reviewers by name personalizes your response. This makes it evident that you aren’t copying and pasting your responses.
Individualized responses are also more likely to engage happy customers.
4. Add Value
When thanking a positive reviewer, you may recommend other services or upcoming special events. For instance, a special offer they should watch for in their inbox or on your website.
This can be informative to the reviewer and other readers while potentially leading to additional business.
5. Share the Review
Positive reviews should be shared. If the feedback included kudos for a specific team member, then share this with the individual and with your team. If it isn’t specific to a single team member, then you should still share it with the team.
And, since positive reviews are testimonials about your service, you should add positive feedback to your website. After all, it supports the claims you’re making about the quality of your service!
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12 Tips for Responding to Negative Online Reviews
No matter how hard you try, you can’t please everyone all the time.
One or two negative reviews don’t necessarily mean that your service is consistently bad. But how you respond to them can make a huge difference in how others perceive your company.
Providing proper context and a thoughtful response can neutralize negative reviews. Sometimes, you can even win over extremely unhappy customers.
To ensure you convey the right message, here are some tips for responding to negative reviews.
1. Respond Promptly
Unanswered negative reviews mean that people are only hearing one side of the story. And the longer you wait, the less likely you are to save that customer relationship.
Responding to negative reviews quickly tells customers that you take their feedback seriously. Experts recommend responding within 24-48 hours, if possible.
2. Think Before You Respond
Although it’s important to reply to negative reviews promptly, it’s critical that you’re not too hasty. Give yourself time to emotionally process the unpleasant feedback.
Calm down and regain your composure before responding. Otherwise, you might say something you regret—or that loses you future business.
3. Say Thank You
Many unhappy customers never tell you that your service fell short of their expectations. They just decide that they won’t use your service again. Oh, and they tell everyone they know about their unpleasant experience.
So, thank negative reviewers, too, for taking the time to share their displeasure with you. They’ve given you the gift of honest feedback. With that insight, you can improve your service and avoid disappointing other customers in the future.
Saying sorry can go a long way. Offer a sincere apology in response to negative experiences. Even if you don’t agree with the feedback, it’s likely you’re still sorry that your service fell short the reviewer’s expectations.
Apologizing shows that you care about your customers. And it shows that you aren’t too proud to acknowledge that their experience was poor. Making an apology often makes it possible to mend the relationship with the customer too.
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5. Be Brief
Although you may feel like you have a lot to say about the situation involved in a negative review, try to hold back. It’s best to limit your response to one paragraph. Why? Because negative reviewers and prospects checking out your reviews probably won’t take the time to read a lengthy response.
Simply acknowledge the issue, apologize for the customer’s poor experience, and suggest a solution.
6. Personalize Each Response
Writing a personalized response to reviews is essential. This is especially true for negative reviews.
Generic responses make it look like you don’t care about your customer’s experiences. Make it clear that you’ve read the negative review and want to rectify the situation.
7. Take Responsibility
Everybody has a bad day from time to time. Take responsibility for unpleasant customer experiences or staff shortcomings.
Acknowledge what went wrong and avoid playing the blame game. No company looks good throwing someone under the bus to save face.
8. Show Empathy
It’s important to show empathy when responding to negative online reviews. Customers who take the time to share their dissatisfaction want to be heard and understood.
Seeing the situation from their point of view helps you show genuine concern. That way, you don’t sound like you’re just trying to win them over.
9. Offer a Solution
When a customer takes the time to share a negative review online, they want to be heard and acknowledged. The best way to do this is by offering a solution.
For example, you could offer a complimentary additional service. Or inform the reviewer you’ll have a discussion with the team members who provided their service and follow up.
10. Reread Before Hitting Send
After writing a response to a negative review, take the time to proofread it. This allows you to catch any typos, misspellings, or grammar errors before hitting send.
Rereading your response also gives you a chance to make sure the message has the right tone. You should be sure you’re conveying what you intended to before posting.
11. Take It Offline
Sometimes a short response to a negative review will not suffice. That’s when it is best to contact the unhappy customer directly.
Reaching out to an unhappy customer gives you an opportunity to discuss and understand the situation in more detail. This will make it easier for you to make it right.
12. Follow Up
There are times when it makes sense to continue the conversation with the customer with follow-up communications. This is especially true when you’ve proposed a solution.
Reaching out to the customer allows you to confirm that the solution has resolved the issue. And if it hasn’t, it gives you the opportunity to continue to work toward resolution.
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Optimize Your Customer Review Process
Online reviews can make a huge difference in the success or failure of your business.
Here are a few things you can do right now to set yourself up for review success:
- Sign up for review sites. Customers can’t leave you online reviews if you’re not online. Create a business profile on platforms like Google, Yelp, Angi, and other popular review sites.
- Read current reviews. Reading your current reviews will give you an idea of where your online reputation stands. Then, you can come up with a plan to improve and/or share it.
- Respond to recent reviews. Take the time to respond to any reviews from the last few months. This will start showing potential customers that you value feedback.