- 88% of people trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
The stats in this blog post are clear – most people go online to find tradespeople, and use reviews to help them make a buying decision. Here are the two main reasons:
- They want to double-check credentials and get an idea of the quality of your work.
- They want to make sure your customer service is as good as your tradecraft.
As a result, your reviews have never been more important. You need to know how to collect them, what to ask for, and how to manage them. Ultimately this is about reassurance, and dealing with the anxiety of a customer who’s about to let you into their home.
Great reviews maximise your opportunities to quote
- 92% of people regularly read online reviews.
By seeing a history of satisfied customers, new clients can start to form a picture of how reliable and safe you are, as well as how suitable you are for the work. The reviews are pitching your business to potential new clients before you even know who they are. All you have to do is encourage people to write reviews, and take on the feedback you get (both good and bad).
Once you get the chance to quote, that’s where you can continue to emphasise your quality and service. Taking time to listen to the homeowner about any concerns they might have can go a long way to maximise your chances of winning the job (but that’s for another blog post and another day).
You don’t need a perfect score – it’s balance that’s key
If a business has hundreds of exclusively 5 star reviews it can sometimes look too good to be true. It’s generally accepted that most companies or products sometimes have problems, or maybe have the odd difficult customer. What’s important is that the reviews are recent, and that any 1, 2 or 3 star reviews are outweighed by a far greater number of 4 or 5 star reviews.
Always ask for a review
- 7 out of 10 people will leave a review for a business if they’re asked to.
If you’re not collecting the reviews, you’re not in control – “if you don’t ask, you don’t get”. There are some keen beans out there who will sing your praises, but it’s down to you to ask. Many homeowners won’t make a point of leaving a review, or will be too busy enjoying your handiwork to think about it.
When people read reviews, they’re looking for detail, so give yourself an even better chance to quote by asking for feedback on specific aspects of your work. Things like:
- Communication of costs.
- Quality of workmanship.
- Customer service.
Reviews are the first step to offering that reassurance.
Of course, when you’re providing a quote, you need to continue to build on that reassurance. Take time to listen to the homeowner about any concerns they might have – it goes a long way when you’re trying to win work.
Tips for collecting reviews
- Explain why reviews are important to your business too. It might be you’ve just set up on your own and want to build up a reputation, or you’ve just expanded into a new work area – whatever the reason, make it a personal, timely request at the end of the job and you’re more likely to get that review.
- Talk them through how easy it is to leave a review. Take a minute to explain what’s involved and how quick and easy it is to do – reassure the homeowner it doesn’t take long (which it doesn’t – homeowners using our service might take 5 minutes max to leave a review).
- Ask for a review immediately once the work’s complete. There’s never a better time to ask. Once the job’s complete, the homeowner will move on to other things (or other jobs). Just like with collecting payment, it’s best to ask straight away once the work’s complete.
- Follow up a few days after the work’s complete. If they haven’t left a review politely remind them. At the same time you can check they’re happy with the work, repeat your request for a review or ask them about further work you may have mentioned to you. It’s a great reason to get back in touch with a homeowner who may need your services again.
Manage your reviews
- 90% of people read less than 10 reviews before forming an opinion about a business.
- 73% of people think that reviews older than 3 months are no longer relevant.
So the name of the game is to build up reviews, and keep adding to them so you’ve always got recent feedback that shows you’re active and popular.
It’s equally important to respond to reviews. If it’s a great review, it can be an opportunity to thank the homeowner. If it’s an okay review, follow up with what you could have done differently to earn that final star. Finally, if it’s a bad review, put your side of the story across in an objective way and do what you can to salvage the situation. You might not get anywhere, but other homeowners can see you’ve tried.
The most important thing to remember when replying to bad feedback is that future customers will be reading your comments and making judgements on your flexibility and customer service. You don’t want to put potential future customers off.
If you weren’t already convinced you need to be collecting reviews about your business, you now should be. All that’s left is to start collecting those reviews and to build up a good reputation online.