Reviews are the lifeblood of your service business.
How good you are at earning positive reviews as well as catching negative feedback can either make you the obvious choice in your market or deter consumers from contacting you at all.
In a survey of 1,005 US-based consumers conducted by BrightLocal, only 53% of people said they would consider using a business with less than 4 stars.
Another study found that 68% of consumers say positive customer reviews make them more likely to use a local business.
When it comes to earning reviews (aka review management), I have found that businesses are in one of two camps; you either play offense or defense.
Playing Defense (Avoiding Reviews)
If you play defense, you don’t actively pursue getting more reviews. You’re passive. You may even hate reviews.
Every business owner has had that one customer who is completely unreasonable. He was grumpy and rude from the first call and looking for any reason to complain in order to get a discount or free service.
Or maybe you’ve been the victim of someone who left a bad review for you by accident when they meant to leave it for another business. You called Yelp to explain the situation and they said, “We can’t do anything about it. The algorithm is our master. Unless of course, you’d like to spend money with us in which case we may be able to push that review down!”
Playing Offense (Winning More Reviews)
The other camp is those who play offense.
You run a good business. You may even run a great business with customers who appreciate the quality of your service and adore your amazing team of customer service reps.
You know this and want others to know this as well, so you have your team gently ask for a review after each job is complete.
Sometimes a review trickles in and you feel great. You and your team have worked hard for that review.
Once in a while, a not-so-stellar review gets posted as well, but your good reviews far outweigh the bad reviews, so it’s not the end of the world when one poor review comes in.
But how do you take your review management strategy to the next level?
How many more leads would you receive and what would that do to your bottom line?
How to Play Better Offense (How to Get More Reviews)
You can come up with any number of ways to get more reviews, and the ideal solution is going to vary from one service business to another.
However, below are three good options that you can tweak to make work for your own service business.
Strategy #1: Website Review Page
|Pros||Easy to do, full control over the process can optimize the landing page over time, free to use ongoing|
|Cons||Low conversion rate (1-5%), requires a lot of work to set up, may require hiring a developer|
If you email the customer a receipt after each service, consider including a link to a reviews page on your website.
The reviews page should be built to get the customer to take the next step. Two ways you can increase your chances of this happening are by giving the customer 2-3 options of where to leave a review and by including other customer testimonials on the page.
By giving the customer more than one option, you make it easier for them to leave a review where it is most convenient. Each link should go directly to your profile on the platform (i.e. Google, Yelp, Angie’s List) you are linking to.
I suggest including other customer testimonials on this page because it shows that others have left you a review and gives the customer a few ideas of what they could write about in their review.
Strategy #2: On-Site Request
|Pros||High conversion rate (25-75%), free, requires being with the customer|
|Cons||Requires training employees, feels risky, less control over the execution|
Have your technician or on-site representative ask for a review on the spot.
This is a more aggressive strategy, but it gets the job done better than anything else you will try.
If you’ve done a good job and the customer is satisfied, a friendly request to provide a review while you’re still on site is perfectly reasonable.
This strategy can be especially effective for businesses that provide an ongoing service to the customer where the customer becomes familiar with the person who services their home (pest control, cleaning service, etc).
If you set up the website review page from strategy #1, then your employee can simply go to that page and have the customer choose their preferred option. The customer can do this from your tablet or from their own device.
Not sure how to approach the customer to ask for a review? Try this approach:
Service Representative: “Mrs. Jones, how was the service you received today? Was there anything else I could do for you that would make this a better experience for you?”
Mrs. Jones: “You’ve been great and I’m very happy with the service.”
Service Representative: “Excellent, I’m so glad to hear that. I’m almost ready to head out, but before I go do you think you could provide me with a review of the service you received today? It would help me a lot and it makes a big difference in our business. You can choose from Google, Facebook, or Angie’s List, whichever is most convenient for you. I’ll leave you with my tablet while I go out to my car and get ready for the next job. Would that be ok?”
Simple, yet incredibly effective.
Strategy #3: Review Management Software
|Pros||Good conversion rate (10-20%), automated follow-ups, done-for-you optimized process, may be able to integrate with your CRM, less work|
|Cons||Expensive; requires a lot of work to set up; must train staff to use the software|
This is probably the best strategy for your business, but it will come at a cost. On the low end, you’ll pay $75 per month per business location and on the high end, you could pay as much as $300 per month per location.
Depending on the booking software your business uses (Jobber, HouseCall Pro, etc) you may even be able to integrate directly into the review management software and automate the entire process where after each appointment is complete, the customer will automatically receive an email or text asking for a review.
Where this technology becomes especially useful is in the follow-up. Most review management software has the ability to identify if and when a customer has left a review and if they haven’t, the software will automatically send a follow-up message as a reminder. These follow-up messages could bring your conversion rate up from 10% to 20%.
This software will also be where you can monitor and sometimes even respond to all of your reviews across every platform.
If you’ve been playing defense, now is the time to switch up your strategy.
In a survey done by ReviewTrackers, it was found that a negative experience is more likely to lead to a review than a positive experience.
Bury the few bad reviews by overwhelming your profiles with positive reviews. It’s the least expensive and most effective way for you to improve the search rankings and reputation of your service business.
You’re already doing the work, so you may as well take the extra step to get the review.
If all of this seems like a lot of work or requires time you don’t have, then consider reaching out to your marketing agency.
If they do local SEO, then they may have a service that can take care of this for you.
|Guest article from Andrew Peluso, Owner of Bananas Marketing Agency.|