Good online reviews lead to more home improvement leads, and more leads lead to the potential for more good reviews, and so the cycle continues until you’re retired and sipping a beer on a beach somewhere. But how do you get good reviews?
The obvious answer is to provide the best service you can. That’s important, of course, but even if you provide the greatest service in the world many customers aren’t going to bother to leave a review. That’s just the nature of reviews – people are more likely to leave a negative review because they want to vent their frustration with shoddy service. Satisfied people would rather just enjoy their new kitchen.
The good news is that it only takes a little nudging to get those satisfied customers to leave a review. The easiest way is to simply ask at the referral stage. When you call back after a job is done to check that your customer is happy, you’d be surprised by how many people will leave a review if you politely request one.
You’ve spent dozens of hours improving their living space, so if you make them understand that reviews are important to your business and they’re satisfied with the work you’ve done, they’ll be happy to take five minutes out of their lives to help you out. And if they aren’t satisfied, promptly addressing their concerns might impress them enough that it will still be worth asking.
Requesting reviews through email works as well, and that’s also a good way to advertise other services or encourage someone to sign up for a newsletter. The trick in both cases is to avoid being pushy – if they’re not enthused by the idea, don’t force it or you’ll end up getting a bad review. Simply state that feedback is important to your business, and that you would value theirs. Most people will get the message.
If simply asking isn’t getting you as many reviews as you want, you could always sweeten the pot. Offer a small, inexpensive token in exchange for a review, like a 10 dollar gift card for iTunes, Amazon or a local restaurant. Or do a sweepstakes – everyone who submits a review in a certain time frame gets entered into a draw for a larger prize. Just make sure to be clear that you’re not paying for a good review – customers get their reward even if they’re critical of your services. There’s a fine line between encouraging honest feedback and flat-out bribing people.
If you’re requesting reviews, ensure that you’re making the review process as easy as possible for people. Include links to the sites you want to target in your emails and on your website. If you have a feedback form for reviews on your site, make it simple and clearly visible.
When the reviews you’ve encouraged start trickling in, make sure you’re learning lessons from them. That’s advice that sounds almost insultingly obvious, but at the end of a long day it’s easy to ignore the one minor complaint in an otherwise positive review. Don’t: addressing it now could turn more four out of fives into perfect scores in the future.