Getting reviews is a non-negotiable must-have when you’re a small business: They can make an enormous impact on the success (or failure) of your operation. Nine times out of 10 (if not 10 times out of 10!), people search online for reviews. Whether it’s purchasing some new headphones on Amazon, or searching on Google for the best local carpet cleaner, reviews play a crucial role in determining whether a product or service is worth investing in. That’s really what it comes down to: Everyday people investing their hard-earned dollars in YOU, in exchange for you providing them with the best service possible.
Reviews can be found on several different sites, but the most popular/common review sites are Facebook, Google, and Yelp. More specific to service professionals are sites such as Angie’s List and HomeAdvisor. Having a collection of great reviews on any one (or preferably, all!) of these sites is of utmost importance to your future success. However, between wearing the many different hats of a small business owner, you may feel that worrying about getting reviews is not worth your time. This may be especially true if you have a solid base of repeat customers and rely mostly on word-of-mouth advertising.
While good word-of-mouth advertising is fantastic to have, if you really want to grow you’re going to need to start converting that word-of-mouth into tangible online reviews. Positive reviews equal more revenue.
So, how do you get good reviews?
There are several ways, but the easiest and least time-consuming way to get reviews is to simply ASK. When you’re done with a job, just ask your customer to leave a review. This could either be left open to them to decide which site to leave a review on, or, for example, you could ask specifically for a review on Facebook. A huge part of this process is being personable with your customers.
Taking the “ask” approach a step further, you can guide customers to giving you a review, either through your website or an email. One approach is to put a “Review us here!” link on your website, making sure that it is prominently displayed. This is simple to do and is a great tool for directing customers to the review site of your choice.
However, an even more effective method is to send out follow-up emails with the option for a customer to review you within the email. The general idea of this method is that within your email, you have a 5-star system, with certain stars linking to different sites. For example, the 4 and 5-star reviews may be directed to a normal review page like Facebook or Google, but the lower star reviews may be directed to a private form on your website, asking for more details from the customer. Negative reviews need to be taken seriously, and giving customers the opportunity to communicate their frustrations is essential to learning and growing as a company. You can read an in-depth post about this review method here.
Communicating with your customers post-job is a surefire way to increase your repeat rate. Even with negative reviews, you are given the opportunity to continue a dialogue and figure out what exactly needs to be done to ensure that whatever caused this bad experience will never happen again. This level of personal communication can turn a 1-star review into a 4 or 5-star review. Just remember, make sure that the review process is as simple as possible for the customer.
Here at ServiceMonster, our passion is enabling you to grow your service business. We hope you try out a few of these methods and find success with them.
Until next time!