Category Archives for "Reputation"

marketing brochure for contractors
Dec 08

Why Customer Trust Is Vital to Your Brand

Reputation

With the increasing access to information on the internet, customer expectations are higher than they’ve ever been, and the competition is fierce. Customer trust has always been important for a brand’s growth and success, but this new environment makes it absolutely vital.

In addition to nurturing lifelong customers that will consistently choose your brand over another, consumer trust also gives your business a little leeway if problems arise in the future. No matter what may happen, earning the trust of your customers ensures your brand can survive.

So, what is customer trust and how is it earned? This isn’t a new concept, but it’s an area in which many businesses fail. The transparency that leads to trust is about more than including the standard copy about why your brand is better than the rest — you have to truly care about your customers and their problems.

What Is Customer Trust and Why Is It Important?

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Generally, customer trust happens when you have a deep understanding of your customers’ needs and have a valid solution to their problems. You provide them with relevant information and products or services that cater to their unique needs, rather than touting the benefits of choosing your brand.

Ultimately, this trust is about putting the customer first in your content and your products or services.

The reason trust is more important now than it’s ever been is a direct result of the bombardment of information and options available today. Consumers no longer need to choose between only a few brands. They have virtually limitless options and access to reviews, testimonials and marketing tricks that can give them an idea of what you have to offer.

Because of this, marketers need to look beyond the competitive pricing, features and benefits, and direct their attention more toward the history and legacy. Customers have become empowered and skeptical, so they’re looking for the whole package — one that will not only give them a product or service that’s reliable, but also a brand and customer service that they can count on now and in the future. Ideally, your product or service will address their needs at the time, but in the event that it doesn’t, they want to know you’ll be there to make it right.

How Is Customer Trust Created?

construction contractor leads

As we know, the idea of building consumer trust isn’t new, but it is difficult to achieve. Just making promises about your brand is no longer enough, since consumers are looking for actions that back up your claims. This has a big influence on loyalty as well, since customers are more likely to return to the brand that gave them the experience they wanted the first time around.

Authenticity is key. Authenticity is the one thing that transcends industries, generations and cultures, since it’s the universal thing that all customers are looking for. It’s about being transparent and giving the customers what they expect, whether in products or service, and delivering the values of the brand.

Of course, authenticity and transparency are useless for the pure sake of it. You need to be providing content that demonstrates an in-depth understanding of your customers’ needs and expectations, so you can provide them with relevant, valuable solutions. Superlatives, false claims, half-truths and other marketing hype that can’t be verified instantly reads as false, so focus on positive information of substance and value to your customer.

Also, if you’re falling below expectations in some way, it’s vital to learn from it and find a way to improve. While it may be difficult to accurately measure the value and performance in terms of customer trust, you can set standards for your brand to ensure that each and every aspect of your business is accountable and staying on track. This not only makes your trust tangible for your audience, but it also keeps your business living up to the image you’re putting out into the world.

Why Is Customer Trust Hard to Earn?

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There are many reasons trust can be hard to earn, especially for certain brands, but skeptical and savvy customers are the main reason. More and more data breaches and misuse of data are dominating the headlines, so it’s becoming more difficult for consumers to immediately trust a brand and be open to new or unproven brands.

Fortunately, this issue is easy to combat if you’re truly putting the customer first. A brand must be clear about its purpose and values, as well as being transparent with policy and procedures. Perception is everything, and a brand that offers the truth is more likely to have good impressions with potential customers.

There’s been a shift in power between the business and the consumer. In the past, the brand had the power and customers had to accept what was given. Now, consumers have a broad outlook and understand more about what a company should and should not be, so they’re less forgiving of missteps. Customers want a brand that shows its customer loyalty and demonstrates shared values, so an effective strategy would be to align your brand’s values with the information you’d gladly offer to the public.

In addition, transparency is often forced upon brands, since consumers can find dirt if they look hard enough. In all likelihood, questionable ethics and practices will leak in other media and be found by consumers, leaving a brand looking disingenuous and sleazy, which is worse than having no trust at all.

Handling Breaches of Trust

As hard as it is to earn the trust of your customers in the first place, it’s even harder to get back following a breach. That’s why having solid trust within your customer base is the only way to bounce back and survive the fallout.

Brands that offer a product or service that meets or exceeds customer expectations and delivers benefits that connect with customers is key, as well as an overall company culture that demonstrates a willingness to learn from mistakes. Gone are the days of media spin, since the best way to approach a mistake in the current climate is by owning up to shortcomings and showing a determination to move forward.

If handled properly, a small mistake or breach of trust can even provide an opportunity for growth. A brand that gracefully addresses a mistake and has an effective plan to recover can gain some positive exposure.

Conclusion

While customer trust may sound like a swift strategy or “silver bullet” for new leads and business growth, it’s anything but. That trust is difficult to earn and keep, and is far more than just a marketing strategy.

The authenticity and transparency necessary to garner real customer trust comes from honest communications, solid company culture and treating the customer as you would want to be treated, rather than just lip service.

Though it’s clear that consumers want trustworthy brands, their general trust isn’t high. This can be an area of opportunity for new or developing brands, or brands looking to revamp their image and surge ahead of competitors. Whether we like it or not, the power is with the consumer, so it’s more important than ever to put their needs first for business success.

contractor marketing strategy
Oct 13

How To Improve Customer Experience

Reputation

Customers interact with brands across many touchpoints, and each makes an impact on your relationship. Ultimately, a brand must keep the big picture in mind — the total experience for the customer from the beginning of the funnel to the end — to have success in business.

There are many ways to influence the customer experience, but the best strategies come down to your particular contractor business and goals. Learn more about how to improve the customer experience and reap the rewards for your business.

What is Customer Experience?

contractor marketing tips

Customer experience is comprised of the interactions between a customer and the business over the course of the business relationship. This typically includes cultivation, awareness, discovery, advocacy and service, but it can refer to any and all business interactions between your customer and a member of your staff.

Customer experience is an important part of Customer Relationship Management and impacts whether or not a customer has a positive view of your company and will become a loyal and repeat customer. Overall, customers who are happy remain loyal, leading to more business for you in the long run. Contractor businesses that deliver better customer service and a better overall experience are more likely to outperform the competition.

How Does Customer Experience Differ from Customer Service?

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A customer’s earliest contact with a business is through an interaction with an employee, which gives you a chance to positively impact them with customer service. Customer service is only one aspect of the whole customer experience, however.

For example, if you have an issue with a company and encounter a friendly customer service representative, that’s good customer service. If you have a positive experience with the product or service itself, however, that’s a good customer experience.

Customer service is still incredibly important, but it’s no longer the sole focus of customer experience. Customer experience has everything to do with the ways a business interacts with customers and how it strengthens customer relationships.

Where Does Customer Experience Fit In?

contractor online marketing

A business relies on its customers for success, which is why so many contractor businesses are focusing on gaining new customers and retaining existing customers. Customer experience is high on the list of priorities, especially for businesses that have been around for a while.

Unfortunately, many contractor businesses fail on this front. Customer expectations continue to rise though, so contractors need to focus on crafting an excellent user experience to stay ahead of the curve.

So, how does a contractor business accomplish this?

Create a Customer Service Vision

Before you can plan any type of customer service strategy, you need to have a clear vision for what that means for your business that you can communicate to your team.

Ultimately, this comes down to defining your vision and the principles and values that guide your business. For example, your contractor business may be focused on excellent customer service, philanthropy or other fundamental values, all of which direct your culture.

Understand Your Customer Base

Once you have your principles, the next step is understanding your customers and what they’re expecting of your business. These are the people your customer service teams are interacting with, so if you really want to connect with your customers, your staff needs to be able to empathize with their needs.

This can be done through customer personas, indicating a general demographic and behavior for groups of customers. Your business is likely to attract a wide variety of customers, so you need to have an idea of how to approach each one for an effective experience.

Connect with Customers

Contrary to popular belief, connecting is about more than addressing a customer’s needs. It’s about going above and beyond to understand your customers and tailor your operations around them.

Emotions are a big motivator in how consumers make decisions, so it makes sense that establishing an emotional connection between your customers and your customer service staff is a powerful strategy. Customers become loyal because they become emotionally attached to your brand and the product or service you provide.

If you can provide that level of connection to your customers and address their needs on a more personal level, you’ll not only enjoy a repeat customer for life, but you’ll also have a customer who is more willing to make recommendations and stick to your brand and your brand only.

Get Feedback

Like anything else, the best way to see how your customer experience rates is with feedback. Several tools exist to help with this, capturing information through surveys and other automated tools to help you can learn more about how you’re satisfying the customer’s needs.

Making direct calls is also an option, which also has the added benefit of speaking directly to a customer and asking questions as they come up.

No matter what method you choose, it’s important to make note of the people in your business that are making a difference. The best way for your staff to know that they’re on the right track is with feedback, so do your best to share this information and ensure they’re aware of their individual impact.

Implement Training

The previous tips should give you a good idea of how your business is doing with customer experience so far, but if you want to continue to improve, you’ll need to implement strategies and training to address weaknesses.

It’s not uncommon to have businesses monitor phone or email communication, but it’s in your business’s best interests to assess the members of the team individually and continue their development through training and coaching.

Consider Employee Feedback

Many businesses use employee feedback to assess the engagement and satisfaction of their teams, which directly affects their performance. This is usually on a yearly basis, however, so it leaves gaps during which employees may not be delivering the constructive criticism you need at the right time.

Fortunately, a variety of project management software systems allow you to create an environment that allows employees to provide feedback. They’re the ones often in direct contact with your customers, after all, so their feedback can be incredibly valuable in addressing the current issues your business is facing.

Use Metrics

The face of online business has changed, so it can be challenging for businesses to get behind a process that doesn’t have a quantifiable result. If you’re going to put the time, energy and money into revamping the customer experience, you want to know that it will pay off in the end.

Measuring customer experience is a challenge, especially when compared to other aspects of marketing, but it’s not impossible. Several tools are available to measure customer experience, giving you a starting point for assessing your business changes and how much your efforts are paying off.

Move Your Business Forward

Customers are expecting more and more from modern businesses, and as always, word-of-mouth is one of the biggest factors in whether or not a business or contractor is successful. Furthermore, the power given to customers has emboldened them more, giving rise to better and better standards for businesses seeking to improve the customer experience.

Like other aspects of digital marketing and presence, customer experience needs nurturing and honing to stay relevant and continue to reap rewards for your contractor business. Once you get it right, however, a positive customer experience can have a significant impact on retention, loyalty and revenue, leading to long-term success for your business.

contractor online marketing
Aug 17

Let Your Customers Do the Talking: How to Use Reviews in Your Content Marketing

Reputation

Your contractor business can add credibility and complexity to its content when you regularly incorporate the positive feedback your customers leave. This practice has an added bonus of rewarding customers for their praise, strengthening your relationship with them and encouraging others to follow in their footsteps.

You may think that simply regurgitating customer acclaim can seem like a cheap or shallow tactic. When you go about using customer reviews incorrectly, that can absolutely be the case.

But when you can masterfully weave praise into your content marketing and collateral materials, it feels like a natural fit. Your content becomes richer, and your brand name becomes more credible.

According to eMarketer research, online reviews are by far the most trusted source of business information. In fact, 8 percent more people 18+ trust online reviews compared to their own friends, family and colleagues. Putting your reviews front and center in your content offers documented proof of peer approval, and no one has to go digging into third-party sites to find that proof.

So if you’re considering using customer reviews to obtain all of the above benefits and more, try putting the following strategies into action.

Pepper Website Pages, and Especially Landing Pages, With Embedded Reviews and Accolades

contractor marketing pros reviews

Contractor businesses have a huge trust gap they must clear when a potential customer or client first arrives at their website. No matter how comforting or flashy the site is, customers are always on the lookout for signs that they could get burned. They may scrutinize your claims or look for fine print that reveals how your offers aren’t what they seem.

Oftentimes, they will look to outside resources before they can let down their guard. A study by Nielsen and the Better Business Bureau unveiled that over half (55 percent) of all U.S. adults online “always” or “often” used ratings and reviews to inform their purchase decisions. The trend deepens among those under 55, where only 7.5 percent of people say they “rarely” or “never” look at reviews.

Incorporating reviews right there on your web page immediately begins to chip away at their defenses. They can feel a tinge of relief knowing explicitly that your business has rewarded others for their trust. Evidence that people don’t regret spending their hard-earned money on your products or services can reduce the natural hesitation some people might feel.

You also potentially negate their need to go hunting for outside information on your brand. If they already see positive reviews or a live meter documenting your score aggregate for a site like Yelp, then they don’t need to go wading into all of the other reviews online. By extension, they are much less likely to encounter negative reviews that color your contractor business in an unfavorable light.

Even if someone does do their own homework and encounters a mixture of positive and negative reviews, their first impressions are already fairly rosy. Each negative reviewer must then make their case for why this positive first impression is wrong.

When incorporating testimonials and feedback on your web pages, be sure to use the following best practices:

  • Take a second to re-read the third-party reviews site’s policy on sharing reviews. They may have limitations on how you use them.
  • Always ask the reviewer for permission. Nothing hurts worse than having someone who praised your contractor business turn around and complain that their own words were used unethically.
  • Don’t take things out of context. Using an excerpt of a review is fine, but don’t cherry-pick statements that are actually out of color for the nature of the review as a whole. For instance, don’t take just the positive things someone conceded out a scathingly negative review.
  • Quote the person verbatim. Changing words around or using tricks like mashing two unrelated things together to make a sentence is absolutely deceptive and unethical. You may even be subject to FTC penalties.
  • Favor embedded reviews over text quotes. Most third-party sites actually demand that you use embedded features since these are more transparent. When you receive direct feedback, such as on a blog comment, try to embed the message itself when possible.

Share Interesting or Glowing Reviews to Social Media

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Getting people to leave reviews is hard work! Unless, of course, they had a bad experience. According to one study of 2,000 U.S. consumers, over half of people say they’re likely to publicly complain about a bad experience with a business—often resulting in a bad review.

A second study found that most people only leave a positive review if they were overwhelmed with how great their experience was. “If instead you had a moderate view, you’re likely to have left no review at all, finding it not worth the time and effort,” say the researchers in the Harvard Business Review.

So how do you encourage people to leave a review if they aren’t angry with you and they weren’t absolutely blown away? Simple: reward them with a public mention!

By sharing someone’s positive review online, you reinforce the behavior. You also encourage others who want public recognition and attention to leave reviews of their own.

Again, follow the guidelines above. Certain platforms like Yelp forbid copying and pasting review text, for example. You also absolutely need to secure permission from the person before sharing, even if their praise was a public comment on one of your social media or blog posts.

Let Reviews Inspire Your Content Marketing Strategy

Content should solve audience needs and conclude with a gentle promotional nudge towards your company. Treading this narrow path between information and promotion is admittedly difficult for most businesses. Seventy-nine percent of editors say they have to turn down guest blog pitches because they’re overpromotional.

The problem is that most businesses can’t find an angle. “8 Reasons Our Food Is Amazing” is something no one would want to click on! But “10 Keys to Improving Customer Service” can work, especially if you’re able to point to specific best practices you can use.

When writing these types of articles, starting with positive features of your business or product as a jumping-off point can lead to a disconnect. In other words, your business could be proud of something that no one really notices.

Instead, take a look at your own reviews to get inspired. Take a look at this review below to see what we mean.

fast contractor leads reviews

Here, you can see that the person cites six different positive reasons they love coming to the resort; it was clean, pet friendly, had great cabins, lots of site availability, a swimming beach and also a swimming pool.

Taking that list, you can simply write an article about the “6 Most Important Things to Look for in a Camping Resort.” Since you know people enjoy these things about your business, you can mention them honestly. You can also write while thinking about the perspective of a customer who has been to a campsite that is not clean or that regularly has overcrowded and overbooked sites.

Of course, you can also use negative criticism to inspire you. If you have had issues in the past with bad customer service, you can list “X Things We’ve Changed to Make Your Experience Better” to win people back.

Getting More Customer Reviews to Use in Your Content Marketing

contractor leads reviews

All of the strategies listed above depend on a constant, fresh stream of customer feedback. If your most recent review was from 2014, you may have a problem!

To counteract this issue, make leaving a review as convenient as possible. You can use third-party software tools to automatically send an email to someone and ask them for their review on your preferred platform. You can also leave a convenient link on your home page so that everyone can easily find their way to your review pages.

Don’t just encourage people to go on sites like TripAdvisor or Yelp, either. You can ask for more detailed feedback in an email or through an online form submission. Reach out to some of your most loyal or satisfied guests to see if they would take the time to write a one to three paragraph testimonial on your behalf.

You can use these longer reviews (with their permission) as quotes or embedded reviews framing your content or occupying your most critical landing pages.

Another surefire method to jog people’s memory is to use marketing collateral offered by review platforms both online and in real life. Place window decals on your entrance, or include a ready-to-print plaque right by your cash register.

Train sales associates and customer-facing reps to ask for feedback at the end of every interaction. Be aware of specific platform policies, though. For instance, Yelp demands that you only use certain brand materials in certain ways. They also have a strict policy where you can’t ask people to “review our business on Yelp!”

With just a small amount of effort, your content quality and credibility can be dramatically improved by using customer reviews in clever ways. Customers’ trust absolutely thrives on documented proof, and they like to see that their words matter when they have something to say.

Sharing their reviews is the best way to tell them “thank you” and that their opinion is important. That’s customer service, reputation marketing and content marketing rolled into one!

digital marketing for contractors
Jan 15

5 Keys to Reputation Marketing Success For Contractors

Reputation

What is Reputation Marketing?

Reputation marketing is a specialized version of brand marketing. Contractors devote a great deal of time and resources to branding their business, with more attention devoted to digital branding than ever before.

Reputation marketing refers to the real-time brand identity that contractors capture from online comments, reviews, complaints, and critiques that come from their customers.

Word of mouth is more powerful than ever, only now it comes in the shape of blog comments, re-tweets, Facebook likes, and sharing/liking/following on every social media platform possible.

Reputation marketing allows your business to take what consumers are already saying about your services, and leverage it for your own use, to increase your industry ratings and, ultimately, your revenue.

5 Keys to Reputation Marketing Success

Given that reputation marketing stems from what other people are saying about your business, it’s tempting to sit back and relax.

You can’t control what people will post or change the mind of every customer who has a bad review, so you can just leave them to say what they will, right?

Wrong – reputation marketing isn’t just people’s ideas about your business that pop into their head for no reason.

Reputation marketing is the active management of your customer’s comments and criticisms to create the brand image that you desire.

Reputation marketing doesn’t need to be complicated, just stick with these core strategies to achieve reputation marketing success:

1. Create Systems for Collecting Feedback

Rather than just trolling around to find out what people are saying about your service, go out there and capture that information yourself.

Customers are eager to review services and weigh in with their opinions, so create forums for them to do so and collect the data that comes from it.

Some of the most effective ways to gather feedback on your brand is through online surveys, contests for users on your Facebook page or from your email list, opening your blog posts up for comments, or tweeting questions for your followers to answer.

This type of data collection is priceless – it gives you a direct link to what your customer thinks.

Don’t let this information go to waste – devote some analysis to your reputation marketing strategy where you look closely at who your customers are. Are they the same people that you thought you were targeting?

What are their buying patterns? Ages? Where do they live? Which customers seem more likely to leave a positive review?

Developing systems for data collection and interpretation allows you to tap into the great resources that are already out there via your online presence.

2. Build Your Reputation

Waiting around for a good reputation to “happen” to you isn’t an effective marketing strategy.

If you want to have your customers say positive things about your products and services, you need to put the time and energy into making that happen.

To do this, you need to open yourself up to what’s going on around you. Read the comments, search relevant hashtags, or scan the internet for reviews of your business.

Once you're aware of what people are saying, you have the power to harness it.

Take your bad reviews and deconstruct them. What specifically are you doing wrong? If enough people have the same comments, changing the way you perform in that area can create a huge shift in your customer's minds.

Then look at the praise your brand gets – what are the areas that you excel in? How can you strive to be even better, so you leave your competitor far behind you?

Reviews are an indispensable way to gather your customers' likes and dislikes about your services so you can turn around and give them exactly what they want.

3. Market Your Reputation

Even though your customers are doing a substantial portion of your marketing for you, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t continue using your existing channels to communicate your brand’s message.

To use reputation marketing to your advantage when creating your other campaigns, you need to pay close attention.

This means looking at more than just whether your customers are leaving positive or negative reviews. Drill down into the specific things they’re saying.

Paying attention to the keywords that keep popping up in your comments or online reviews can inspire your next campaign and directly address those comments.

For example, if you keep seeing the word “inconvenient” coming up in negative reviews, you can tailor your marketing campaigns or social media strategies to focus on highlighting how convenient your product or service can make their lives.

In this way, reputation marketing helps you identify a problem and create a solution to it that you can drop directly in your customer's laps.

4. Manage Your Reputation

The beauty of reputation marketing is the wealth of information it gives about your customers. To keep their comments and reviews pouring in, you’ll need to spend some time creating an incentive for your customers to engage in the conversation.

For example, you might see a spike in reviews when you introduce a new service. However, after several months on the market, you may lose momentum and see your customers turn their attention elsewhere.

To manage your reputation and keep the dialogue open, your business sometimes has to make an effort to keep the hype going, so you don't fall off your customers' radars.

Some ideas for generating buzz is to create and offer promotions, special offers for your followers, host events, or offer exclusive discounts.

These tactics motivate customers to purchase when they might normally be ready to move onto the next thing.

best marketing strategies for contractors

5. Monitor Your Reputation

The key to monitoring your reputation is in repetition. This doesn’t mean reading reviews once and then never looking at them again. The conversation is always changing. What was irrelevant yesterday could be tomorrow’s hottest trend.

For this reason, monitoring requires regular attention to what’s being said about your brand. This might mean a weekly or daily read through your social media posts, searching for online reviews, and scrolling through the comments on your blog or Facebook page.

Regular monitoring allows you to see if things are working or if they're de-railing in a relatively short period. Looking at comments once a year means that someone may have said something negative six months ago that you could have acted on or addressed, and now it's too late.

Keeping close tabs on your reputation allows you to spring into action as soon as your customers identify an area that needs improvement.

Consumers love to support contractors who have a personal touch. If your reputation matters to you and you make an effort to give your customers what they want (not just what you think they do), you’ll stand out in a sea of faceless businesses who don’t have the time to listen to their ideas and comments. Satisfying and delighting your customers doesn’t require a flashy sales tactics or aggressive marketing.

What you need to do is get quiet and listen. Your customers are telling you what they want, what they dislike, and what they love.

Now it’s your job to deliver more of the things that make them happy and keep them engaged in the success of your business for effective reputation marketing.

contractor marketing simplified
Dec 18

One Habit That Will Immediately Improve Any Contractor’s Online Reputation

Reputation

Millions of contractors all over the world struggle when it comes to generating a positive image of their company online. Despite their best efforts, they just can’t seem to get momentum behind people expressing positive sentiment.

But one simple strategy can change all that: ask for a review.

Contractors that consistently ask people to review them after a transaction or service has been completed are far more likely to receive a higher volume of positive reviews. They also tend to get more detailed feedback from both happy and unhappy customers, which can inform strategic improvements.

Developing a habit within yourself and among your employees to ask for reviews is therefore the most important thing you can do. Doing so won’t just make you look better online; it will also help you genuinely become better thanks to the feedback you earn.

If you are a contractor or business owner trying your best to improve your online reputation, you can use the following tactics to increase the rate of reviews you get.

Recognize Why Positive Reviews Are So Important Yet So Hard to Get

contractor marketing pros reviews

As with most best practices, understanding why asking for reviews is important helps a ton with motivating your follow-through.

Firstly, people care about online peer reviews more than any other form of information on a product or service.

According to eMarketer, 31% of people 18+ trust the information they receive from online reviews. That’s the highest-rated source, beating out the 23% of people who indicated they trust recommendations and feedback from friends, family and colleagues the most.

Think about that: 8% more of the population trusts strangers online more than their own family and friends!

Millennials — those 18-35 years old — have an even bigger gap. 40% of them trust online reviews the most compared to 24% who prefer input from people they know personally.

Yet, there’s an even bigger gap between the likelihood of someone reading a review versus leaving a review.

Around half of people say they check reviews either “always” or “most of the time”. But 35% of people say they “rarely” leave online reviews and 20% say they “never” do it.

Making matters worse, people are more likely to leave a review after a negative experience compared to a positive one.

Getting happy customers to review your business is therefore a huge challenge, but one definitely worth meeting head on.

Contractors must recognize the importance of pushing through the uphill battle to earn more reviews. To help them find success, they can use any of the following tactics.

Make Verbal Requests Part of Every Customer Interaction

fast contractor leads reviews

Employees must be trained to ask for reviews at the end of their interactions with a customer. People are more likely to feel positively towards an individual requesting a review compared to a faceless request bearing a company logo.

“The person-to-person request is incredibly effective, particularly if the requester has spent a lot of time with the customer,” says digital marketing firm owner Brian Patterson. He reveals that in-person requests get seven to eight times more reviews compared to email.

Everyone in your company should therefore make it an instinct to ask for a review. Don’t be pushy or directly ask that they say something positive. Just request politely that they leave feedback “if they’ve had a good experience.”

Better yet, ask about their experience beforehand just as a barometer. If someone feels positively, suggest they leave a review.

If they react negatively, do everything you can to record their input and correct their issues. This helps them feel listened to, gives them an outlet to vent before they go online, and also gives you information for improving your services later on.

Make It as Easy as Possible for Someone to Review

How many times have you thought about leaving a review but didn’t?

This happens to people all the time, and they quickly forget that they meant to leave a review in the first place.

Fix this problem by sending helpful digital reminders.

Asking in-person is the first step since it creates intent in the mind of the customer. They promise someone something, so they have more intention to follow through compared to a generic “Review Us!” request.

The second step is to make leaving a review as effortless as possible.

Ideally, you email them a direct link to your preferred review site, such as Google or Yelp. You can also send out general reminders periodically on Facebook and other social media so past customers can remember to review you.

Some customers may even respond well to links sent via SMS, so take surveys and have customers indicate their preferred option so you can work with their tendencies, not against them.

Emphasize Strong Customer Service Basics

contractor marketing plan

When it comes to positive reviews, consistent service that delivers on baseline expectations is far more important than “wowing” the customer.

According to the Harvard Business Review, many efforts to “surprise and delight” the customer fall short. They write that “89 of the 100 customer service heads we surveyed said that their main strategy is to exceed expectations. But despite these Herculean—and costly—efforts, 84% of customers told us that their expectations had not been exceeded during their most recent interaction.”

Instead of going above and beyond, try to get the ground level right. Hammer home basic customer service practices, such as asking if someone needed help or if they experienced any problems.

Listening to customers during their transaction helps improve their positive sentiment towards their overall experience. If someone has an issue, try to resolve it or offer some way to make it up to them.

Speaking of which, gathering data from older reviews is an important step for contractors looking to improve their online reputation. Find patterns within negative feedback, and work to improve these recurring issues.

Also, make note of any positive feedback so you can explain the importance of certain aspects of the customer journey to employees, such as having a friendly attitude.

Monitor Online Reviews and Respond to Those That Need Your Attention

Respond to a reasonable rate of glowing positive reviews — maybe around 5% to 10% — and try to address issues presented in negative reviews.

When responding to negative reviews, always take the customer’s feelings and experience as gospel. Work on moving the relationship forward towards resolution rather than making excuses or arguing about what happened in the past.

You want to appear pro-active and eager to resolve conflicts rather than interested in starting publicly visible fights online.

Constantly Collect Customer Review Data to Improve Your Online Reputation

contractor leads reviews

Once you begin your efforts to earn more reviews and improve your reputation, track your results.

Try to look for patterns among the types of customers who are more likely to leave positive reviews. As an example, people who use a specific product or service may come away feeling more positive compared to others. Focus more on these people when requesting feedback.

You may also notice that certain tactics are more effective than others. Sending an email from a named employee email account compared to a generic “customer support” account can increase your positive review rate, for instance.

Over time, data generated from your reviews will reveal a path forward where a higher rate of your customers leave reviews, and a higher percentage of those have something nice to say.

Keep asking for reviews, and maintain focus on providing great experiences, and you should be able to improve your online reputation in no time flat!