How to Find The Best Online Review Management Software
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How to Find The Best Review Management Software for Your Business

Reviews are the lifeblood of your home service-based company. Whether you’re a plumber, electrician, HVAC specialist, or general handyman, positive reviews from people in your community are essential for establishing a sense of trust with your customers.

On the other hand, one bad review can easily cancel out 20 good ones. Most people remember negative feedback much more vividly than positive ones, which means that one negative review will stick out like a rotten apple amongst your sea of positive ones.

Consistent, positive customer reviews can help negate the few bad reviews, which means understanding how to ask a happy customer for a review and publishing it so more potential customers see it is essential.

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As your business grows, though, managing reviews and responding to them can become a full-time job. Reputation and review management software designed with home service business owners in mind can streamline many of your review management tasks and help you gain more positive, thoughtful reviews.

There are dozens of review management solutions on the market, though, so finding one that delivers the results you need and is user-friendly can be a challenge. Housecall Pro is here to help you out. We’ve evaluated the most popular platforms to determine the three of the best review management software systems for your field service business.

What is Reputation & Review Management Software?

HCP How to Manage bad Reviews ebook cover

Reputation and review management software (sometimes called feedback management software) helps general contractor business owners like you monitor, track, and analyze customer reviews. Good software integrates with your website so you can publish reviews online and respond to clients’ reviews.

While each popular platform has unique bells and whistles, quality best-in-class review management software will have several critical characteristics.

  • Be applicable for both service and product reviews.
  • Collect feedback on your company site through reviews.
  • Analyze, moderate, and aggregate your reviews.
  • Be optimized for mobile use (phone and tablet).
  • Have the capability to deploy as a pop-up, email follow-up, or short Q&A widget on your website.

If the software you’re evaluating doesn’t have these basic capabilities, then you may not benefit from using it as much as you would from a more robust platform.

What Are The Benefits of Review Management Software?

Online reviews give new customers a sneak peek of what working with your business will look like, good and bad. Your online reviews are today’s word-of-mouth recommendations.

Let’s quantify the benefits of online review management software:

  • 94% of customers avoid businesses with negative reviews.
  • 90% of customers read online reviews before purchasing a product or booking service.
  • Customers spend 31% more when purchasing from a business with highly rated reviews.
  • Businesses with at least 200 online reviews generate twice as much revenue.
  • 72% of customers read online reviews when looking for a new field service provider.

If raw data hasn’t convinced you, let’s explore some of the primary reasons field service company owners use online review management tools.

Builds Trust & Enhances Your Online Reputation

Field service businesses are unique in that customers seek a certain level of trust and comfort from a plumber, HVAC tech, electrician, or handyman they may not need for other goods or service purchases. As such, reviews for home service-based businesses are critical for establishing you and your team as knowledgeable, reliable, and trustworthy.

When customers are making up their minds between you and a competitor, there’s a very good chance they’ll choose the provider with plenty of positive reviews, as opposed to one that only has a few reviews or only has old reviews.

With review management software, you can better manage your company’s online reputation. In today’s market, most of your customers will discover you online, and even the ones who seek you out through a direct referral will likely check out your website and reviews before requesting a quote. Plenty of positive, current reviews, even if they aren’t all five stars, do wonders for your company’s trustworthiness and credibility.

Consistent Reviews Boost Your SEO

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for home service-based businesses refers to how well your page ranks when customers post a query in the search bar. Optimizing your website for search engines helps it consistently rank at the top.

Why is this important? Most people (about 90%) make selections from the first page of search results, usually those closest to the top. If your site is on page three or four, you might as well be invisible.

The algorithms Google and other search engines use to take into account online reviews when ranking websites in relevant, local searches. The more positive reviews you have (current ones, not ones that are years old), the more attractive your site is to search bots, and the higher it will be ranked—making you more visible to new customers.

Provides Valuable Customer Insights

Reviewers are real customers, people in your community who have booked your service and are writing about their experience with your company. View online reviews as a tool to help you improve. You get actionable insight into what’s happening when your techs are in the field – the things your customers say paint a clear picture of what (and who!) is working and what’s not.

You don’t necessarily have to read every single review yourself to gain valuable insight. In fact, one feature of the best review management software is analyzing the reviews for you, looking for patterns and other customer data that you can use to make quantified decisions.

With these data points at your fingertips (either in a custom report or on your customer management dashboard), you can investigate the root of certain complaints. Is one tech consistently late to afternoon jobs? Perhaps you haven’t allocated enough time to complete morning jobs, or maybe the tech could benefit from some re-training.

Or, perhaps you notice that several customers request a service you don’t provide but could. If enough people ask your team about it, either in the field or when they call for a quote, then you may have an untapped opportunity you otherwise may not have realized.

But what about negative reviews? How can these help improve your SEO and business? How you respond to negative reviews says a lot about you as a business owner.

Thoughtful, considerate replies to negative reviews, thanking them for their time to alert you of the problem and apologizing for the unsatisfactory experience, and asking to contact them privately to follow up show other customers that you care about their poor experience and that you, as the business owner, desire the opportunity to make it right.

Improves Conversion Rates & Sales

You already know that home service-based businesses need a steady stream of new, qualified leads in their sales funnel to keep their business afloat. Positive reviews help attract new business.

Review management software can attract new customers and ensure that your current customers keep coming back to book jobs with you. Let’s use the negative review example from above. You address the review publicly, then reach out privately to the dissatisfied customer to ask what you can do to rectify the situation.

Taking steps to repair the damaged customer relationship can turn an angry customer into a raving fan – customers whose negative experience turned into a positive one maybe some of your best brand ambassadors.

Saves Time and Increases Efficiency

Think about your day: How much time can you realistically carve out to read reviews from across the web, respond to them, then look for patterns and integrate changes to your business? Our guess is: not a lot.

Reputation and review management software automates many of these tasks, freeing your time to concentrate on running your business. Good software has custom report features that allow you to sort through thousands of reviews (such as looking at 2- and 3-star reviews to see how you can improve) or sort by certain words (perhaps you’re considering adding a new service and you want to see how many customers indicated the lack of it in reviews). You can get the information you need to make data-driven decisions in minutes.

Best Customer Review Management Software for Field Service Contractors

So, now that you know what to look for in the best review management software for your business, how do you find the right platform? We’ve reviewed the top three reputation management software platforms for field service businesses, so you don’t have to.

1. Housecall Pro

Iphone mock up screenshot of follow up sms text with review link

Busy home service business owners don’t have time to sort through several software platforms to get the information they need. With Housecall Pro, you don’t have to. This all-in-one solution integrates:

  • Scheduling, booking, and dispatching.
  • Invoicing and payment reconciliation.
  • Payroll and payroll taxes.
  • Online review management.

Its reviews management feature simplifies managing your reviews from across the web. The integration of your customer relationship management software (CRM) with review management module makes it easier to identify dissatisfied customers so you can follow up with them, or note clients who gave your team glowing reviews (so you can thank them or feature the testimonial in your marketing materials).

Housecall Pro also offers comprehensive client support and is highly customizable, so you have everything you need at your fingertips.

2. Brightlocal

BrightLocal focuses on improving local SEO for businesses. For a home-service-based business, getting local leads is essential, as your customers are almost exclusively looking for a service provider nearby.

Its tools and local SEO reports allow businesses to generate more website traffic by improving their local SEO and managing reviews from across the web. It features SEO reports and auditing, a hosting service and management tool, and online reputation management tools.

3. Birdeye

Birdeye is an AI-powered client review management software platform that allows users to track, manage, and aggregate reviews from over 150 sites. It also has features to automate requests for a review and create surveys to gather specific customer feedback.

You can also manage reviews for multiple locations, essential for business owners with multiple shops. Based on customer review insights, you may also determine if a location is underperforming.

How Do I Choose The Best Review Management Software?

Choosing the best review management software for your home service business depends on several factors. Consider what you need the software to do, and view it as your virtual public assistant, scouring the ‘net for reviews from multiple sites and collecting them into one location for review.

As you’re creating your shortlist of software, consider the following:

  • What problem do you need to solve? Identify the gap in your review management protocols and look for software with features to fill it.
  • Who will use the software? How many licenses will you need, and how many unique users will the platform support?
  • How will it integrate with your existing business management software programs? If you use a system like Housecall Pro, the reputation management module is part of the complete CRM platform that includes scheduling and booking, billing, and quote generation.
  • Does it allow you to manage and respond to reviews on multiple sites? If you can’t access reviews on popular sites like Yelp, Angi, HomeAdvisor, and others, then your customer perception could suffer.

Scalability and Ease of Use

As your business grows, your review management software should grow, too. Ideally, you’ll increase your customer base and the number of reviews you get. If the software isn’t scalable (growing with you), you may have to upgrade in a couple of years. Instead, look for platforms that have growth capabilities.

Another consideration is its ease of use. Good reputation management software platforms also have a robust support team, including technical troubleshooting and client assistance if you have a question or problem

Competitive Intelligence & Reporting

Robust reporting and analytics provide a detailed picture of your organization and customers’ thoughts. Look for online reputation management software with centralized dashboard to keep a tab on your review collection and marketing efforts. Look for tools that allow you to track key metrics like:

  • Customer sentiment analysis
  • Social media engagement
  • Review ratings
  • Customer satisfaction trends

These can help you better understand your business as it is and identify areas for improvement.

You may use multiple tools to manage your business, even if you utilize an all-in-one home service management program like Housecall Pro. How well will your review management software integrate with your other tools? Will you be able to share information between the programs you use?

Consider this: A customer books a job through your online scheduling option and creates a customer profile with their name, address, and the nature of their problems. Once your field tech completes the job, they may enter details of that job into the customer profile so you have access to their customer history when you need it.

Later, the customer leaves a review about the job. Your review and reputation management software tags the review and links it to the customer’s CRM profile. Now, you can see the entirety of that customer’s relationship with your business, so you can more accurately assess their review and take action. If the negative review is baseless, for example, you may even be able to get it removed from the review site.

This streamlined approach means that you’re not wasting time jumping from program to program, possibly missing valuable information.

Customer Support and Training Resources

How much customer support will you receive after purchase? Is there a 24-hour helpdesk if you have a serious issue? What about the training provided by the software company?

You can find much of the information you need in the service level agreement (SLA), which clarifies the level of support included in your subscription. The SLA may also indicate the platform’s scalability of support, another important consideration.

Look for a platform that offers ongoing client support, like webinars and tutorials, to help you make better use of your online review management software. Some even have user communities, where other users like you can share ideas and best practices, ask questions, and get help.

Artificial Intelligence & Automation

Most review management software programs use some degree of automation and AI to help scour for reviews and aggregate data. Evaluate how much the platform can automate and whether you can use its AI tools to help you dig deeper for more reviews or look for patterns of things your customers are saying to help you better address business needs.

Tips to Streamline & Generate More Reviews

Male pro shows female customer his mobile phone

We mentioned earlier that businesses with 200 or more positive reviews typically see a 30% increase in customer spending and that new, authentic reviews are best for SEO. Now, let’s talk about how to get more of them.

1. Monitor Reviews Across Multiple Platforms

Where do you find home service-based reviews? Your Google Business Profile listing has a section for customers to leave reviews. Customers may also leave a review on your website, or through an email follow-up. Other places to look include sites like Yelp!, Angi, and Home Advisor, and that’s just a few to get started.

Reviews may come from all over the web, including social media. If your business has a Facebook or Instagram page, you may have customer reviews there, as well as on other social media platforms like NextDoor. Your software should be able to scour the web for reviews on these popular sites, as well as more obscure ones, such as local websites.

2. Respond Promptly to All Reviews

If you don’t want to respond to that negative review and are preparing to hit delete, we don’t blame you. However, remember this: An angry customer will tell 10 people about their negative experience; a happy customer may tell just one or may not say anything at all. Left unaddressed, this dissatisfied customer may tell others about their experience or even leave another review if they notice theirs is taken down!

Make it a habit to gracefully respond to all negative reviews as soon as possible so you have a better chance of successful service recovery. If your tech didn’t do the job right, for example, responding to the review quickly can give you the opportunity to send someone else who will make it right.

Don’t forget to respond to positive reviews, too, even just to thank the reviewer. Your goals should be more active engagement with your customers across the board, good and bad, demonstrating to others that you take your business and professional reputation seriously.

3. Choose The Best Time To Ask

When is the best time to ask for a review? Sooner rather than later. Many home service companies send email follow-ups or text messages to customers asking how the service went and providing a link to the review.

4. Use Automation To Make it Seamless for Customers

The easier it is for a customer to leave a review, the more likely they are to do so. Your customers are busy people, and many of them may have taken time out of their day for the service you provided. To encourage reviews, make the review process simple, seamless, and automated.

5. Train Your Staff and Establish Processes

You can train your field techs to ask for reviews if they encounter a customer who had a stellar experience. Provide them with cards that have a QR code for a customer to review you online, or simply have the tech remind the happy customer to leave a review.

FREE DOWNLOAD: How to Manage Bad Reviews Ebook

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Learn how to respond to negative reviews

You can’t stop negative reviews. They can either make or break your business. Learn how to handle them effectively with our free ebook.

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  • Overview of Managing Bad Reviews: Handle criticism like a pro.
  • Report False or Abusive Reviews: Protect your business.
  • Respond to Negative Reviews: Turn criticism into opportunity.
  • Up Your Review Game: Attract more positive feedback.

Turn every review into a chance for growth. Download our free ebook and master your online reputation today!

Streamline Reviews With Housecall Pro’s Review Management Software

Getting more reviews for your business doesn’t have to be a headache. In fact, with Housecall Pro’s integrated review and reputation management model, you can improve your reviews and online reputation with just a few clicks.

If you’re already using Housecall Pro but haven’t started using the review management feature, call us today! We can walk you through set-up, training, and use, and we’re here to answer questions and help you integrate the review features into your other systems.

And, if you’re not using Housecall Pro to manage your online reviews and automate your lead generation and estimations, there’s no better time than now to get started. We offer a FREE 14-day demo and unrivaled customer support. Book your demonstration today!


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Last Posted June, 2024
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