Contractor Reviews: Getting Clients to Commit to Leaving Feedback
Managing your online marketing presence is much more than getting a website up and running. How people talk about you online shapes your business persona; that's why getting clients to commit to contractor reviews should be a major part of your marketing efforts.
Good reviews can be cyclical – You get a positive review, you get more customers, they leave more reviews. As contractor review count grows, more potential clients with no previous context about your business will see some great social proof that you can be trusted with their hard-earned money.
Bad reviews or a lack of reviews may send prospective clients to the inbox of your competition.
So, Where Do I Need to Have Contractor Reviews?
For some major metro areas, Yelp is king. For many others still, reviews on Google is the best way to provide a snapshot of your business prowess. Facebook company pages and BBB listings tend to rank well when company names are searched, too. The short answer to the question is ANYWHERE CLIENTS ARE LOOKING, but if you are just getting started – your Google listing is a great place to push for reviews.
A Word of Caution
Some sites have very strict policies about trying to solicit reviews. Yelp is notoriously strict about this; their terms of service make it clear that they do not want companies explicitly asking for a Yelp review. Whether you are offering a prize to a random Yelp reviewer who leaves a new review in the next 3 months or even if you are outright asking for a Yelp review at the end of your sales process – both are technically in violation.
What's the Trick to Getting Clients to Commit to Contractor Reviews?
Organic and spontaneously generated positive reviews are great, but we already know that bad customer service is more likely to generate a review than good customer service.
Customers today now more than ever are aware of the need for small businesses to have positive online reviews. They see reviews everywhere they search online, for any product or service.
In the end, the answer is simple. Getting more contractor reviews in a numbers game. If you want more contractor reviews, you're going to have to talk to your customers about the importance of feedback.
Tools for Earning More Customer Reviews
The lowest cost way to get more reviews is to simply ask. Aside from the Yelp exception, simply asking for the review is the start of the conversation. When your company does good work and goes above and beyond in the eyes of a customer, those customers are usually very happy to leave a review. By some counts, 70% of people are willing to leave a review once it has been suggested that they do so.
When the job is done, ask them in person how they liked their experience and the final product. Once you confirm that they are more than satisfied with your work, you can mention to your customer that your company very much values all client feedback – so that they can recognize good quality work and find opportunities to do even better in the future.
The next step is to reduce the hurdles that may impede clients from leaving reviews. That is as simple as making a business card that features where you can be reviewed online and making sure your website has some simple clickable links at the bottom of the website, so that your customers can very easily access your contractor review sites online.
Generate an Encouraging Review Ecosystem
One part of the process that many contractors miss replying to reviews. Good or bad, whenever possible you should reply to your reviews. Seeing that kind of activity on reviews helps to demonstrate to potential new customers and potential reviewers that you are actively involved in all aspects of your review process. This normalizes the review process a bit more for users who may be inexperienced in leaving reviews online – thus settling their concerns and hopefully getting them to leave their own positive review.
Google has come out and confirmed in their own support documents that "High-quality, positive reviews from your customers will improve your business's visibility and increase the likelihood that a potential customer will visit your location."
DIY Versus a Review Management System
Once you talk more with customers and make it as easy as possible to leave reviews, then you need to keep an ear to the ground to be ready to interact with clients when they do leave reviews. Instead of Googling yourself and checking your review sites every day, Footbridge Media's contractor review management system is a simple way to monitor reviews on a constant basis.
Should I Use An Automated Review Management System?
There are lots of options (at varying price points!) that help with the automation of gathering reviews from your customers. In the end, all of these software have the same limitation – a review software simply cannot leave a review on Google or Yelp or similar platform without creating a user account for your customer. For the majority of these review sites, your customer must have their own user account to post their review.
So what are these review management systems good at? They can make chasing down reviews easier. Footbridge Media's review management system is a very low cost (or no cost depending on your current pricing) method that is very similar at its core to most of the other high ticket review management systems out there.
Our review management system automates part of the review gathering process. Once a job is done, you simply add a customer's email address to the software, and it follows up and requests additional feedback on your behalf. In the end, that is what all review management systems are supposed to do at the end of the day.
About Chris Lonergan
Chris Lonergan has over a decade of contractor marketing experience with Footbridge Media. With a background in web design, print design, content creation, and online marketing, Chris is focused on providing quality marketing and business solutions in the construction and service industries - helping small business owners to more efficiently manage their company and grow their operations.