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Growing Customer Reviews

Today we’re going to talk about how to get more online customer reviews.

Customer reviews and testimonials are one of the most important factors in growing your business today.

Here are some quick stats that show just how much:

88% of consumers say online customer reviews of a business are as important to them as a personal recommendation from a friend, according to a study done by well-known Bright Local.

That same survey shows that 85% of consumers will read up to 10 reviews before deciding to do business with a company.

In another study by SmallBiz Trends – “22 percent of consumers will NOT buy your product or service after reading just one negative review. If you have four or more negative reviews you can say goodbye to about 70 percent of all potential customers.” – SmallBizTrends

Your online reputation is a business asset that can have tremendous value.

If you want to grow your business, having a solid online reputation is a required ingredient to make that happen.

If you want to sell your business, your online reputation and having a customer base who trust your company will be key factors in deciding its value.

According to an article by the Economist, 30% of the value of the companies in the S&P 500 comes from brand reputation.

Here are just a few key benefits that great reputation management does for your company:

  • Get feedback directly from customers to improve service
  • Builds trust & credibility
  • It builds brand recognition & image
  • Customers are helping your marketing
  • Creates content for syndication 
  • Increases search rankings
  • Increases sales

According to studies done by Harvard Business Review, Satmetrix, and Bain & Company, just a 1-star increase in your business rating can increase sales revenue by 5 to 10 percent.

Once consumers find a product or service they’re looking for their next step is to find a reputable business to purchase it from. 

Nothing is more reassuring to a consumer than lots of good reviews about a company. But, nothing will make them look for a different company faster than seeing bad reviews on the opposite end.

Online Reviews help you rank better & generate more leads!

Online reviews are consistently one of the main Google ranking factors for your website and Google Maps listing, according to annual studies by Moz.com.

More good reviews help provide higher search rankings.

Higher rankings equal more traffic which should equal more leads if your site is optimized for lead conversions.

So let’s look at what Google wants from businesses regarding customer reviews:

Google is analyzing five factors when it comes to customer reviews:

Volume = the number of reviews compared to competitors

Quality = the average rating

Comments = the comments and keywords used in comments help

Velocity = reviews streaming in every week, every month

Diversity = reviews on multiple review sites

Review sites for home service companies:

  • Google Maps – GMB
  • Yelp
  • BBB
  • Home Advisor
  • Angie’s List
  • Porch
  • NextDoor
  • Facebook

It’s also important that you have 1st party reviews on your website.

1st party reviews are written directly onto your website.

These are the only reviews eligible for those rich results stars you see on SERPS in the organic results next to websites sometimes.

Those 1st party reviews on your site need to include schema markup /  structured data code on the backend for google bot and rich results potential.

So we know online customer reviews are extremely important to attracting new prospects and growing our businesses.

Episode 13 - How to get more customer reviews on autopilot

Now let’s look at the most effective and efficient ways to do that.

And surprise, it’s through automation – it’s a common word you’re going hear on so many of our podcast episodes because automation is your path toward repeatable processes and results.

In this case, you want to use an automated reputation management system.

Today there are great automated software systems that can put this task on autopilot for you. 

If you’ve been doing this manually or not at all, then you’re in for a time-saving treat that can have a major impact on your business.

There are a ton of options out there.

We use GatherUp for our clients.

Other great systems include: 

  • Birdeye
  • Broadly

Be careful, though; all systems are not created equal.

Here are some features you should look for in the solution you choose:

Customizable follow-up sequences – 2 to 3 requests, spaced-out intervals. Allows you to control how many requests go out per day.

Ability to use NPS and first-party reviews at the start – which also screens out negative reviews and gets you that feedback – they won’t be asked to post reviews anywhere. They’ll be directed to a page that asks why they are not completely satisfied.

Follow up sequence to post to 3rd party for good ratings.

Ability to direct to most 3rd party sites.

1st party embed with schema on the website – talks to Googlebot and others

Text or email options

Social sharing FB & GMB

Integrates with CRM for automation or upload weekly lists.

Widgets to embed on various web pages. Monitors the Internet and alerts you when reviews are posted on any relevant sites

Stay away from tools that:

  • post reviews to THEIR website
  • don’t allow for message and sequence customization
  • don’t allow for 1st party reviews
  • don’t allow the custom direction to review sites of choice
  • that allows asking for Yelp reviews (not allowed by Yelp)

Now, let’s talk about what needs to happen over on your website…

You need to have a reviews page on your website to embed the reputation management software code that shows all of your reviews.

You need to include clickable images, buttons, or text on that page, allowing visitors to post a review about your company on Google, Yelp, and all of the other important directories for your business.

Place the review widgets on your home page and service pages, just below the fold to show off your reviews.

Share and syndicate the best reviews on your social media channels. That option should be built into the software. 

Now let’s talk about negative reviews and how to respond to them.

Again, a good system will capture these bad reviews before they go somewhere else and post them publicly.

All negative feedback should be examined for any missteps made and improvements that need to be made. 

That customer’s feedback could be valuable and their sentiment shared by many others who did not speak up. Learn to listen, accept responsibility, and make adjustments to improve.

But if a bad review makes its way online, how you handle it and respond can decide whether it hurts you or helps you.

Rule #1 – Never argue online

Don’t argue your case, even if the client is 100% wrong.

If they’re not a client and it’s just a bogus review, then report that to Google as an inappropriate review in your GMB dashboard and tell them why.

If they’re not clients, post a reply after reporting it to Google, so your reply shows until they take down the review.

Reply to bogus reviews that make it clear to others that the review is probably fake. But do so with kindness, or it will bite you in the ass.

Use something like this,

Hi [name of reviewer], are you reviewing the wrong business? Your name is not in our customer database, and no one here recognizes your name. Give me a call at [phone #], and let’s clear up any confusion or dissatisfaction.

—–

Now for real customers who are unhappy and left a negative review, it’s once again important NOT to argue or debate, but instead to take it offline and show the world you take care of all your customers.

Here’s an example of how to reply to real customers who leave a negative review:

Step #1. Cooldown  never reply when you’re angry. Wait until later or tomorrow.

 

Hi [name]. Our goal is to provide a 5-star experience 100% of the time and have nothing but happy customers. We will reach out asap to see how we can make things better. 

—-

Contact them offline to try and make things right.

Or If you know your company screwed up, be real, acknowledge it, apologize, and offer to make things right.

Consumers want to see that you tried to make things right with customers who left a bad review. 

There you have it…

Alright, I hope that helped some of you. Thanks for sharing your time and attention with us today.

Good luck out there, and create a great day!

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Founder & CEO of Battle Plan Marketing, LLC. We customize marketing strategies and solutions for home service companies. Mark has over 30 years experience in sales and marketing, 20 years as a business owner or partner, and over a decade in digital marketing and website design. We offer analysis, strategy, project implementation and management, and marketing coaching. Mark is also host of the new Battle Plan Marketing® Podcast.
Mark Ambrose
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