HAVE YOU LOOKED AT YOUR REVIEWS LATELY?
One thing I constantly see overlooked or undervalued in our industry is reputation management. Many times I see a contractor get a negative review online and it just sits there. I’ve seen it justified in many different ways: I don’t remember the password to the review site, I just haven’t got the time, that person was crazy, I have plenty of positive reviews. This is a bunch of baloney! How companies respond to reviews, whether they are positive or negative, can have a huge impact on your bottom line. You will either manage your business’s reputation or those review sites, crazy people, or competitors (I know it happens, feel free to email me stories) will manage it for you.
HOW THE AVERAGE CONSUMER BEHAVES
When I am making a purchase I always look at the reviews, and I’m not the only one. A recent study indicates 92 percent of consumers read online reviews. In this day and age Americans have become almost used to poor customer service. Great service has just about become the exception rather than the rule. If you don’t believe me, call your cable company or bank. Here are some quick facts about consumer reviews:
• 40 percent of people form an opinion of a business after reading just three reviews.
• When consumers were asked for which type of business is reputation most important, tradesmen (plumbers/HVAC) ranked fourth out of 19 types.
• 88 percent of people have been influenced by an online review.
• Star rating was considered the No. 1 factor in judging a business.
HOW CAN I USE THIS TO MY ADVANTAGE?
Chances are your competitors are feeling the same way and many will not take the time or effort to handle the business’s online reputation. No one wants customers to have a negative experience, but chances are some will. Many just don’t understand the nature of the business. When someone writes a negative review, it doesn’t have to be a blemish on your record. It can be the stage on which you display your business’s devotion to customer satisfaction and service. By responding to negative reviews in a creative (this does not mean getting into an online argument), solution-oriented way, you can actually boost other potential customers confidence that your company will do what’s right by the customer.
PUTTING IT INTO ACTION
To continue to grow your HVAC business you must stay on top of what your customers are saying. Some strategies to give your business the competitive edge is of course responding to the negative reviews in the way mentioned above.
Also, after a negative review is left, offer a spiff to your service techs or customers to encourage positive reviews. By doing so, it will force the negative out of the top three reviews that people first see on Google.
Feel free to send any questions or future topics to write about to Dillon@myeffectivemedia.com.