How to Get More Online Reviews
A new study released by the National Bureau of Economic Research found that customers of service industries — including window cleaning, pressure washing, and gutter cleaning — listed their top 3 reasons for hiring the service company they chose. The answers were, in order:
Getting online reviews on sites like Google, Yelp, and Facebook is incredibly important for residential service companies these days, and best of all, it can be done for free or at a very low cost here’s how.
- Ask. Studies say that 7 out of 10 customers are willing to leave reviews if you just ask for them. Be tactful and don’t pressure, but let your customers know their opinion is important to you. Asking makes them feel valued. The best time to ask for a review is right after they’ve received their service – i.e., when they are the happiest. First, make sure they are satisfied with their service, then ask if they could leave you a review. Most likely they’ll respond, “Sure, I’d love to!”
- Remind. Even the most satisfied and well-intentioned customers get busy and forget to leave a review. So you need to remind them, gently. This can start when you provide them with their invoice. Include a box that tells them where to go to provide a review. “Happy with your service? Go to (Facebook, Yelp, Google, etc) and let us know.” Or use a QR code they can scan that will take them directly to your website’s review page.If you send out email blasts or follow-up emails after a service – and you should – subtly ask for reviews in the emails, again with links to your website’s review page, Facebook, Google, and Yelp. If you send out any kind of mailing to past customers, ask for reviews.
- Make it Easy. Give your customers links and/or QR codes to website’s review page. Put links on that page that go to Facebook, Google, and Yelp. Again, you want those links to review sites where they are easy to find and easy to use. The easier it is on customers, the more likely they are to follow through.After you finish a job, you can also leave a prepaid “How did we do?” postcard that they can easily fill out and place in the mail. While you can’t really use the responses in the review section of Facebook, Google, or Yelp, you can post the positive ones (with permission) on your website. You can also make them into Facebook posts. And if you receive negative feedback, it gives you a chance to make things right with the customer as well without having them blast the negative review online. (Click here to learn more about handing negative reviews.)
- Use an Automated Service. There are companies out there that specialize in helping businesses like yours get more reviews. You provide the service with your customer’s contact information and they do the rest, getting you the feedback, weeding out negative reviews, and posting positive reviews on the review site of your choice.
What about offering incentives?
If you want to survey your customers, an incentive – such as being entered into a drawing or a discount on their next cleaning – is ok. However, NEVER give incentives for positive-only reviews. This is actually against the law. Plus, review sites will penalize you if you are caught.