How Contractors Can Get More Reviews Chris Lonergan February 25, 2020 Share: The overwhelming majority of "marketing" time and effort spent on home service and construction customers is during the very beginning stages of the relationship. Contractors spend lots of time and effort on building up their website, marketing presence, and the paid advertising necessary to funnel prospective customers into the processes that turn them into leads and paying customers. After that, they usually don't interact with any of your marketing until well after the job is completed, if ever again. And that's where most companies fail. Getting online reviews has become absolutely vital for contractors and local service companies. You can't accidentally or organically find your way to success. Just like how you ask for the sale, you also need to ask for the review. Getting Reviews Doesn't "Just Happen" Like we've said here before, getting more reviews is not a simple "If you build it, they will come" situation. You need to have active tactics when it comes to online review management. Just like you have programs and planning that goes into your new customer workflow, you need to have a purposeful gameplan for your new online review workflow. Identify Your Positive Review Prospects Just like you likely have an "ideal" client, you should also have an "ideal" review prospect. As you work with your newly found customer and complete your work, you and your team should be able to determine a baseline level of satisfaction for your client. Those happy clients should be the ones you specifically focus on for your review generation gameplan. Make the Ask for the Review – Old School The days of comment cards are over. While they were great, your happy customer reviews didn't get published any further than the piece of paper being handed back in for the bosses to see at the end of the day. People don't want to leave a review more than once, so you need to make the process as easy as possible. Creating a path of least resistance and removing as many of the obstacles as possible will make the new review process more effective. If you are DIYing your review management process, this can be as simple as having a dedicated page on your website with links to the right places to leave reviews. If you want to get fancy, you can have your web marketing folks add a "redirect" that sends people to the appropriate places on the web (like the really long URL for leaving a Google Review on your Google Business Listing) with as little hassle as possible. Once you have that page or redirect set up, make up some basic business cards with that website address and train your staff on how to present those cards to your happy customers at the end of the job. Your marketing schpeel for your on-site staff to present to a happy customer can be as simple as: We hope that you were completely satisfied with your [FILL-IN-THE-BLANK] services that we provided today. It would really help us out if you could tell others how much you liked working with [YOUR COMPANY NAME]. If you could, please go to the website on this card [HAND OVER CARD] and leave a review to let us know how we did. Your review would help us out. Thank you. That is a simple, easy, straight-forward ask – made easier by having handy access to the right review places on the website for you. Make The Ask for The Review – 2020 Version There is a nearly endless sea of reputation management software out there now, with a variety of physical media, phone communication, and online methods for reaching out to customers. While your mileage may vary depending on your specific software, we'll run down what clients using the Footbridge Media Review Management System would do to get more reviews. Similar to the old-school tactic, it is still important for the on-site staff to begin the conversation about the importance of leaving reviews. For More Tech Savvy Companies If you bring iPads or other internet-connected tablets into the field, you can use the "Kiosk Mode" system within our review management system. Your updated marketing snippet onsite would be: We hope that you were completely satisfied with your [FILL-IN-THE-BLANK] services that we provided today. It would really help us out if you could tell others how much you liked working with [YOUR COMPANY NAME]. If you could answer this one question survey about your service [HAND OVER TABLET], it would be appreciated. From there, we'll follow up to thank you and let you know where else you can share your review, which would really help us out. Thank you. The "Kiosk Mode" of our review management asks for a basic "How Did We Do Today?" NPS (1 through 10) rating and asks for their contact information. When they complete the on-site review, the system will then automatically follow up with them to try to get more Google Reviews or whatever we have established as the target for your business online review presence. For Companies Without Deployable Technology If you don't have deployable tech, we can still go the old-school card route which would link to your review management system implementation your website, but with a little more info. You'd need to update your pitch so that they know that they'll get some follow up communication regarding reviews: We hope that you were completely satisfied with your [FILL-IN-THE-BLANK] services that we provided today. It would really help us out if you could tell others how much you liked working with [YOUR COMPANY NAME]. If you could, please go the website on this card [HAND OVER CARD] and leave a review to let us know how we did. We'll also be emailing you thank you for being a customer and to follow up regarding our online reviews. Thank you. At the beginning of each day, your office staff could then input your previous day's customers into the Review Management System for processing. The Follow Up – Old School If you're not running any programs, you'll want to manually review places like your Google Business Listing, Yelp, Facebook, Angie's List, or any other prominent places on the web where customers could leave reviews. This would allow you the chance to check for new reviews and reply accordingly. And like we've said before, you should be replying to your reviews. As part of your other follow-up and thank you communication – be it greeting cards, emails, or phone calls – you should again incorporate easy-to-use links to try to get more online review activity. The Follow Up – 2020 Version If you use the Footbridge Media Review Management System, the software automatically scans for new review activity and automatically completes a variety of follow-up communications – so there isn't anything else extra you have to do! Don't Forget About Training Your Staff to Ask for the Review A good sales staff will already be comfortable working with people, and inherently personalize their approach and sales tactics for each new prospect. But those are your only your sales staff and estimators. Are all of your front-facing on-site staff comfortable doing the same? Someone may be a dynamite HVAC tech when given the appropriate direction, but they may not feel comfortable in a more customer service conversation, like asking for online reviews. As you develop your gameplan for your review generation needs, make sure that includes training and education for all those involved in the process. Offering tools or software can certainly help, but it doesn't replace some good, old-fashioned training. The Breakdown – The Basic How to for Getting More Reviews In the end, whether you are using analog or automated processes, you can improve your online review game in a few basic steps: Identify Happy Clients Ask For The Review Make It Easy For Them To Review You (With Tech and/or Business Cards) Check On Your Review Activity Follow Up On Requests For Reviews Train Your Staff On How They Can Do All Those Things Above You can start with that recipe, customize it to your business, and integrate your contractor review plan it into your overall marketing plan. About Chris Lonergan Chris Lonergan is the President of Footbridge Media. With a background in web design, print design, 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. Recent Articles The Importance of Reputation Management for Contractor Businesses What Makes Your Business Unique - Discovering & Defining Your USP 7 Proven & Effective Ways to Improve Online Presence for Your Contractor Business 5 Tips for Positive Brand Building for Contractors Successful Ways to Earn Repeat and Referral Business Is Your Contractor Marketing Plan Up-to-Date?