Online Customer Reviews – Using Customer Reviews in Marketing
Your company’s reputation and its online reviews aren’t just a measure of your customers’ happiness – they’re the key to attracting new leads and increasing your brand visibility. However, only about 13% of small businesses actually ask for reviews – don’t be one of them that misses out.
As a new business owner, attracting customers will be central to your success and great reviews will help you get noticed. Claiming your business profile on as many review sites as possible should be one of the first steps in your business strategy. Why? The more frequently your company name appears on review sites, the more likely you’ll reach the first page of Google’s search results thanks to your bigger web presence. That’s why it’s important to claim your company profile on smaller, alternative review sites in addition to well-known ones like Yelp and Facebook.
Below, we’ve gathered some frequently asked questions surrounding online customer reviews and how to use them to market your business. Keep reading for a full overview or click on the link relevant to your question.
Why are reviews important?
Positive reviews attract new customers: The importance of business reviews lies in their power to attract people who are your potential customers — or send them running for the hills. Many consider online customer reviews to be the digital equivalent of word-of-mouth recommendations. The more frequently people leave positive reviews, the more likely a potential client will turn into an actual client. And as a general note, initial reviews often have the biggest impact on your overall rating.
Brand awareness: Curious about how customer reviews help improve your online visibility? It’s all about what’s called “Review Signals” and general SEO tactics – that’s Search Engine Optimization for the lay people out there. Google’s ranking criteria for reviews include your business’s total amount of reviews and the diversity of your reviews – this makes up 15.44% of how Google ranks a local business in its local search results.
Helps you pick out star employees: If your employees are out in the field all day, it can be difficult to judge their performance. But if a team member repeatedly gets glowing reviews, you can feel confident about his or her work ethic and customer service skills. On the other hand, you can also use reviews to weed out employees whose performance aren’t up to par and repeatedly have issues.
How do I market my company using reviews?
1. Make it simple for your customers to leave you a review: Everyone is busy. There are few people who will navigate a confusing site or go through lots of hoops in order to leave you a review. If you make it simple for your customers, they’re much more likely to leave you a review. Keep your reviews forms short and sweet! We recommend using an online review platform that sends automated review requests from you.
For example: If you spend time getting to know Google customer reviews basics, you can use this tool to generate more reviews automatically and keep track of your reputation. Your company’s Google reviews in search results can grab the attention of someone looking for a service in a local area.
2. Promote your good reviews: Customers who see honest reviews on your site are much more likely to trust you. Display your best reviews prominently on your website. It’s worth your time (and money) to build out a testimonial page and highlight those positive experiences because 57% of customers will only use a business that has 4 or more star reviews. Adding a name and photo of who is leaving the review helps the review feel more authentic. However, if you plan on using customers’ names and photos, remember to get their permission beforehand.
3. Create a page on your business website to aggregate great reviews: Do you have a lot of glowing reviews across a variety of review sites? Collect them all together in one place on your website or blog so your customers can easily reference them.
Create profiles on as many review sites as possible: There are many sites customers use to leave reviews after a visit to a business. So, make sure to get on the big sites like Yelp and Trust Pilot – but don’t forget about smaller sites as well like Manta. These sites will help your ranking, especially if you can get a profile up on an industry-specific directory.
How do I handle negative reviews?
Respond quickly: If you leave a negative review waiting on a site without addressing it, it could suggest to other customers that you don’t care about feedback. Make sure you reply to negative reviews as soon as possible so you have the chance to resolve the issue and leave the customer with a better experience. You won’t be able to change every 1-star review into a 5-star review but it doesn’t hurt to give it your best shot.
Admit any mistakes that were made: You’re not going to get anywhere if you don’t own up to your blunders. Customers should feel like their complaints are heard loud and clear. Trust us, a little humility can go a long way in terms of customer retention.
The customer isn’t always right: We know you’ve heard the opposite, but customers might actually be in the wrong in some cases. Perhaps they simply didn’t like a clearly-stated policy regarding returns or chose not to read through the terms of their contract. When addressing a bad review, point out these inaccuracies but don’t villainize the customers for the misunderstanding.
Keep it positive: Instead of starting an argument, take the high road. For example, you could begin a response to a review with, “As a company that strives for 100% customer satisfaction, we are disappointed you didn’t walk away with a 5-star experience.”
Stay personal: Don’t write as “the company” when you’re speaking to a customer online. Address the customer by their name – in a polite manner, maybe even with a title like Mr. or Ms. (if appropriate). And make sure to end the response with your own name so it’s not just an anonymous response.
Resolve the issue offline: Can you communicate with the customer over email, in-person, or over the phone? Is so, do it. By taking the issue offline, you can more efficiently resolve a problem. It’s very easy to leave an unsatisfactory review when you don’t have to face the other party. But with a calm, sympathetic customer service representative who offers a solution to the problem, a customer tends to be more reasonable.
Give a refund or discount if necessary: If the customer was right and your company made a mistake, a refund or discount might be in order. In many cases, it’s better to calm down the angry customer with some kind of offer– even if it’s simply a coupon for their next service.
Note: While taking these steps can’t guarantee that a displeased customer will update or change their review to reflect your efforts, it’s always good business practice to follow up no matter what. In addition, your responses might be seen by other potential customers as a measure of your ethics and dedication to customer happiness. Keep that in mind as you respond to reviews. Remember: part of knowing how to gain customers involves knowing how to take care of your current ones.
When should I ask for reviews?
When to ask for reviews from customers: You should ask for a review as soon as you complete your service or finish a job. That way, the experience is still fresh in a customer’s mind and he or she doesn’t have the chance to be distracted or forget about a job well done.
Send reminders: If a customer doesn’t leave a review, don’t be shy about reminders. In most cases, a happy customer simply forgot! A little nudge never hurts!
Note: Don’t incentivize reviews if you truly care about your business’s reputation and trustworthiness. The incentive should simply be your company’s amazing service.
How do I increase the likelihood of a customer leaving a review?
With Housecall Pro, getting great reviews is easy. When you’ve completed a job, an email or text message will be automatically sent out to your customer to request a review. If you connect your Google My Business account, Housecall Pro can send some of your customer reviews over there as well.
On your Housecall Pro profile page, your best reviews will be aggregated and presented for the world to see. Then, you can add them to your website and use them as testimonials. You also have the freedom to decide who you ask for a review using customized job tags so you can be sure you’re focusing on loyal, satisfied customers.Main benefits of Housecall Pro’s review service:
Increase your Google My Business rating
Track your employee performance
Automate the review process
With Housecall Pro on your team, you can improve your online reviews process and enhance your brand reputation.
Business reviews: the key to attracting new customers and maintaining your reputation
You can’t please everyone, but you can sure try. Asking for reviews and managing your online presence is a crucial step in taking control over your business. If you focus on reviews, you can use them for targeted marketing, increase your chances of landing on Google’s first page, and become a local household name. Figuring out how to reach potential customers isn’t always easy as a new business, but with a strategic review process, you’ll be on your way to a 5-star rating in no time.
Housecall Pro is rated the #1 software to run your HVAC, Plumbing, Electrical, Carpet Cleaning and other home service businesses. Our features allow you to schedule and dispatch jobs, get booked online, send invoice and receive payment within minutes whether if you are in the office or out in the field. This comprehensive software can help you grow revenue by 30% in one year and save up to 500 hours a year. Join all the other successful home service businesses who have already started and try Housecall Pro for 14 days free today.