Six Reasons to Generate Reviews for Your HVAC Company
By Melissa Bellas
People love to recommend companies that they’ve enjoyed doing business with and conversely, warn others of bad experiences they’ve had—word-of-mouth marketing has been around for centuries. Whether it’s a local eatery, healthcare office or contractor, people are more likely to use a recommended business. With the rise of online directories, social media sites and instant-sharing apps, reviews are just a click away day or night. Word-of-mouth still goes a long way in the digital world. In fact, 84% of web users value customer reviews as much as they would value a personal recommendation from a friend1. It is no wonder why more and more home services companies are shifting their focus to online reviews.
But what exactly can reviews do for your business?
Exposure Creates Leads
Customer reviews expose your business to readers and increase awareness of what services you provide and who you are. In fact, online reviews are often a customer or prospect’s first exposure to your business. Reviews also tend to build on themselves; once people start leaving reviews of your business, others will join in to give their experience with your company. And with each new online review creating an opportunity for someone else to come across your brand, your chances of being discovered increase. Your plumbing, electric, contracting or roofing business may be the best in the area—but if nobody knows about it, you’re not going to get leads.
Credibility & Trust Building
Your online business presence can contain the best content about how great your company is, but there is no better endorsement than approval from actual customers. And with 88% of consumers trusting online reviews when considering a business2, reviews become critical to earning new customers. Even those less-than-shining, negative reviews help to build trust. Customers increasingly value transparency, and by displaying both positive and negative reviews, you show that your business has nothing to hide—all while making your positive reviews reflect that sincerity.
Search Engine Rankings Increase
Reviews are crucial to local search engine optimization because they get more of the right people to see your business—that is, those who are conducting searches for the services you offer. Better yet, a steady stream of reviews helps to boost your Google rank and visibility and establish a more prominent online presence. The more mentions your business receives online, the more importance you gain from search engines. With 56% of potential consumers using search engines as their main source when looking for reviews about a business3, it’s critical to make sure your business is ranked high.
Customer Satisfaction Insight
Online reviews are just as important to your business as they are helpful to prospective customers. Reviews create an opportunity for existing customers to provide objective feedback about your business and the service you offer. Take the time to read through them and use this feedback as an indicator of how well your business is doing in terms of customer satisfaction, service and overall experience. Understanding the expectations of your customers can ultimately steer you toward your goal of meeting their needs. In addition, reviews can help you identify who your top employees are and which team members may need some additional coaching or training.
Influence Purchase Decisions
Prospective customers get the information they need in reviews to advance from the consideration phase to making the decision to do business with your company. In fact, 90% of people report that their decision to make a purchase is influenced by reviews4. Once prospects browse your number of reviews, star ratings and basic business information, they’ll start reading what its actually like to do business with you in individual reviews from your customers. And while your price range, products and services will likely be somewhat comparable to those of your competitors, it’s important to focus on what sets you apart from the rest. Having a well-trained and courteous team of CSRs, delivering best-in-class service and offering extended service hours are fairly simple ways to attract prospects and gain high praise from your customers.
Responding to Reviews: The Do’s and Don’ts
When your company begins generating reviews, it’s important to take the next step: responding to them. A recent study found that when businesses respond to customer reviews (even the bad ones!), their overall ratings subsequently increase5. Responding to your online reviews skillfully not only builds your brand identity, but also keeps your online reputation in check. And with so much at stake, it’s important to respond correctly.
The first, and possibly the most important, thing to do when addressing a negative review is to acknowledge the customer’s concerns. It’s important to empathize and show sympathy that they had a bad experience with your company, even if the customers concern seems unfounded. This means apologizing—even if the mishap is not your fault. Owning up to a mistake, or perceived mistake, and offering a sincere apology helps diffuse the situation and put your company in a better light.
- Find a Resolution
Rather than simply responding to a negative review, fix the problem at hand. You are showing customers that preventative measures are being taken to truly solve the issue by openly explaining what went wrong and how it won’t happen again. And with consumers trusting online reviews more than ever before, it’s important to go the extra mile to turn a bad situation into a good one.
- Take it Offline
The last thing you want is a back-and-forth argument for all to see—remember, in the digital world, everyone is watching. If possible, ask the reviewer to call, email or even private message your business so you can discretely discuss and resolve any issues they may have. It’s all about making it right and providing a solution, no matter the platform.
- Ignore Not-So-Positive Reviews
Negative reviews simply cannot be ignored. A lack of response to a negative review is a response in itself, telling everyone who reads it that you don’t care about your customers’ feedback or experiences with your business. On the contrary, responding to complaints can help increase customer advocacy and, better yet, set your business apart from competitors who are failing to provide resolution. It’s all about showing customers that they’ve been heard and that you are more than happy to resolve the issue.
Customers yield a lot of power online, and you may just be fueling an angry customer if you do not carefully think through your response to a negative review. When you read a bad review about your company, it’s important to under no circumstance become argumentative with customers and to maintain your professionalism at all times. Avoid hastily typing up a response or commenting when you’re angry. Take a minute instead to clear your mind so you can better assess and approach the situation in a calm way.
- Take it Personally
Taking pride in your business and the work that you do is one thing, but it’s important to remember that your business reviews are actually not personal. Reviews are a response to the experience people have had with your business, just as they would do with any other business. Rather than getting defensive and explaining why the customer is wrong, it’s important to take a professional approach and show a human side to express that you generally want to make the upset customer happy. While criticism and negative reviews of your business may be tough to hear, they should ultimately act as the basis for how your company can evolve and improve.
Recent research found that all you have to do is ask6 and 70% of customers will leave a review! And with reviews playing a pivotal role in generating new business for your company, you can never have too many. An important part of any marketing strategy is obtaining reviews and must be an ongoing process.
To see how Surefire Digital marketing programs can help you communicate your brand in a way that resonates with prospects and customers and create experiences that drive leads, contact us today.