Who Is Your Loudest Customer? Online Reviews And Proactive Contractor Marketing
In today’s online space, every customer can have a voice and express their views via online reviews. In fact, those voices resonate louder now than ever before.
Online reviews have become the modern-day word of mouth, influencing your potential clients to either learn more about your business or avoid you altogether.
But who’s more likely to leave you an online review? Let’s talk about the most common contractor marketing and online review tactics - and why they are doomed to fail.
The Power of Reviews In The Minds Of Decision Makers
Where information about your business is just a click away, online reviews can greatly help or hurt your business.
Today's savvy customers trust the collective wisdom of random internet users to guide their decisions, whether choosing a local contractor or exploring a new restaurant. The power of reviews extends beyond mere testimonials; they are a real-time reflection of a business's reputation.
When the average home or business owner needs a contractor, they inevitably turn to the Internet for help. They are greeted by reviews on nearly every possible platform they can interact with. Those reviews paint a picture of the experiences others have had with your business. Positive reviews act as a beacon, instilling confidence and trust in choosing your business. Negative ones are red flags.
When it comes down to the little details of who you first call, your online reputation is a cornerstone of success.
Why Waiting for Organic Reviews Doesn't Work
Most businesses have the same philosophy when it comes to online reviews. They sit back and wait - allowing the online reviews to come to them as they happen. Businesses sit on their hands, waiting for customers to fairly judge their business.
The expectation is that since all of these businesses do such a good job helping their customers they’ll get tons of positive reviews naturally. Others just “don’t feel comfortable” asking for the review because it seems inauthentic or inappropriate to tell a customer what to do online.
But does that mean you’ll get an accurate and efficient portrayal of your business?
More Negative Than Positive Reviews
In reality, the organic review landscape tends to skew towards the negative. Dissatisfied customers are often more motivated to share their experiences. Upset customers use online platforms to express their displeasure, knowing that it will negatively impact the business. Oftentimes, it is done on their part as a way to protect others from bad experiences and to warn potential customers that this business isn’t to be trusted with their hard-earned dollars.
That means if you just wait for reviews, you’re likely going to have a disproportionate number of negative reviews compared to positive ones, even if you have lots of happy customers.
It’s simply that people who are upset about something and have an axe to grind are much more motivated to leave a review than a customer who got exactly what they thought would happen - that they’d pay for and receive a service.
You don’t thank your truck every time it successfully turns over in the morning, but you sure have some words for the one morning it doesn’t.
That’s why waiting for reviews to happen by pure chance is not the best way to improve your business visibility.
The Need For Proactive Review Management
It's time to amplify the positive, seize control of your online reputation, and ensure that your loudest clients aren’t the mad ones. Instead, your most vocal customers will be your most satisfied customers - who become advocates to build up your business instead of tearing it down.
Waiting passively for organic reviews is, at best, ineffective and, at worst, downright not good for your business.
Instead of reviews being the downfall of your business, pivot the power of reviews to your favor by taking a more proactive approach to your online testimonial gathering.
By being more forward with your review management tactics, you can show your business in the best light possible by showcasing your happiest customers with the right strategy and processes.
An Easy To Follow Review Management Plan
The goal is to empower businesses to not only navigate the complexities of online reviews but also to actively shape a positive narrative that resonates with their target audience.
Encouraging Positive Feedback
We understand that satisfied clients are often the silent majority. Using automated review management systems for contractors - like Birdeye as all Footbridge Media clients use - proactively encourages and facilitates the sharing of positive experiences. Automated prompts and strategically placed calls-to-action guide clients to leave feedback, ensuring a continuous stream of positive reviews.
Using review management software simplifies the process. At a bare minimum, all you need to do is upload the names, phone numbers, and email addresses of your recently satisfied clients. The system does the rest - reaching out in a timely manner and completing the necessary follow-ups while providing an easy path to leaving you a positive review.
Moving Negative Feedback Offline
Negative experiences are inevitable but can sometimes be mitigated by strategically addressing the issues. Engaging with dissatisfied clients via review replies should always try to stop the online conversation and pull the conversation offline for resolution.
If you authentically don’t recognize the customer name from the review, you identify as such in your review reply. Saying something like “We, unfortunately, can’t identify you as a customer based on your display name” helps to insinuate to a reader that this perhaps may be an incorrectly placed review without being rude or disrespectful at the same time. It can be followed up with an old standby like “We’d like to discuss your concerns. Please call us at ###-#### so that we can review your experience together.”
If you don’t doubt the validity of your reviewer’s identity, you can provide a core apology for their dissatisfaction and then again - suggest that the conversation moves into the real world to try to come to a resolution.
Transparent responses and genuine efforts to rectify concerns not only help to lessen the impact of negative reviews but also showcase a commitment to client satisfaction.
Optimizing Your Local Presence For Accuracy & Control
Local optimization is integral to enhancing visibility in your service areas. As a Yext Certified Partner, we manage your business listings, ensuring accurate and consistent information across various online platforms.
This optimization boosts local search engine rankings, making it easier for potential clients in your area to discover and choose your services. It also ensures you have eyes on the right accounts - so that you can better see any problematic reviews and avoid inaccurate negative reviews about similarly named companies.
Make Keeping An Eye On Your Reviews Easy
An automated review monitoring system, like the previously mentioned Birdeye Review Management system at all Footbridge Media clients benefit from, simplifies the process of keeping track of your business's online reputation.
You can monitor reviews across the web, gain insights into customer sentiment, and streamline the review management process, all within a user-friendly platform that saves hours.
Maximizing Your Success With The Right Tools & Partners
Footbridge Media has helped contractors just like you since 2004 - so we have a solid understanding of what makes contractors work. We also understand how home service businesses can better interact with their client base and potential customers to build toward success.
Partnering with Footbridge Media provides access to the right experts and software to make managing your business easier – including your online review presence.
So, if you already are a Footbridge Media client, maximize the value of your marketing efforts by incorporating your review management system into your customer workflow. Our marketing consultant team can work with you to discuss how to most effectively integrate your existing customer communication processes into the review management system.
If you’re not maximizing your marketing efforts by partnering with Footbridge Media, contact us today to learn more about our contractor marketing program and how we can partner to build up your business presence.
Making Sure Your Loudest Client Is Your Happiest Client
Instead of fighting with unhappy customers in the comments and reviews, you can instead have a crowd of happy clients.
All it takes to fill your online presence with fans instead of detractors is a proactive review management plan. Using the right tactics, software, and marketing partnerships, you can make sure your most vocal customers are the ones who help your business look its best online and attract more customers than your competitors with outstanding online reviews.
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.