It’s almost impossible to get through life as a contractor without someone being dissatisfied with some aspect of service at one point or another. Even the best and most successful professionals get negative reviews every once in a while. But when you’re in this industry, your reputation depends on reviews.
The internet is your friend and can make generating new business a whole lot easier, but if you’re not careful, it can quickly turn into a foe. This is why it’s so important for contractors to understand why online reputation management matters and how to successfully engage with others online.
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A Space for Reviews
With the internet, poor reviews and word of negative experiences travel faster than ever before. After all, most people are getting their recommendations via social media and review websites nowadays. Studies show that 86% of consumers read reviews for local businesses and 91% of 18 to 34-year-olds trust online reviews just as much as personal recommendations.
You might think that no reviews is better than a negative one, but not giving your clients a chance to leave a review isn’t a good idea. Online recommendations are a form of social proof, which is one of the most powerful general contractor marketing methods out there. When potential customers read reviews, even if not all are five stars, they gain trust in your business. Your business will be seen as more authentic and legitimate than a contractor who has no proof that they’ve ever had a customer.
First and foremost, you need to ensure you have a place (or places) for people to leave and read your reviews.
- Social media: Platforms like Facebook allow customers to leave reviews of your services on your business page. This also makes it easy for people to see reviews when checking out your profile.
Social media is also a helpful tool because it allows you to search what people are saying about your business, even if it isn’t in the reviews. If someone complains about your service in a post or tweet, you can reach out directly to rectify the situation. Social media monitoring can bring in business in unexpected ways.
- Company website: If you have a website, it’s a good place to have people write reviews.
If someone is researching your company, reading the reviews on your website might tip them in the right direction.
- Review sites: There are several websites acting as business directories and review forums that are widely trusted, such as Yelp and Google Maps. While you won’t run these websites or forums directly, you should take advantage of the option to claim the business so that you can respond to any contractor reviews in an official capacity.
Earning Positive Reviews
The key to getting good reviews is to ask for them. Requesting customers drop a line or two on your website or Facebook page is a small way for them to thank you, but most people won’t do it unprompted. However, research shows that 7 out of 10 customers will leave a review if asked, so don’t let that opportunity pass you. The best ways to ask for a review are:
- After you complete the job in person
- On leave-behind materials like flyers or business cards
- In contractor marketing via email
- Through online reputation management services like the CraftJack Lead Manager “request a review” function
Handling Negative Reviews
You might get a negative review every once in a while. While it can be disappointing to see, this is actually an opportunity to become well respected and earn a repeat customer. Here’s how:
- Address criticism publicly. If you immediately try to contact the customer privately, it may give the general public the impression that you’ve ignored the problem. You don’t have to let the entire interaction carry out publicly, but at least offer a visible response along the lines of “I am sorry you had this experience and wish to make it right. I’ll get back with you as soon as possible to find a solution.”
- Remain polite and respond to reviews promptly. Don’t put off getting back to the customer and listen to what they have to say about the problem.
- Offer to make it right. Some things are truly out of your control. But if the problem was an honest mistake on your part that you’re able to fix, try to make it right. Do what is within reason to offer solutions that address the issue.
- Ask for a review update. If the customer is satisfied with the issue’s resolution, don’t be afraid to ask them to update the review. Don’t be pushy (you might be on thin ice) but let them know that customer satisfaction and reviews matter to you.
Keep in mind that when you receive a negative review, your overall rating decreases. This is a great time to seek out positive reviews from past customers who never reviewed.
To get those great reviews, you need to have customers. CraftJack is here to connect you to quality job leads in your area. Sign up today, and you’ll be seeing those 5-stars in no time!