Whether it’s an excellent service from a local electrician or a product that didn’t do what it said on the tin, consumers worldwide are expressing their views online (good and bad) reaching audiences far and wide.
The internet boom has revolutionised our communication and it’s the perfect place for customers to instantly share their experiences.
Reviews are important – potential customers will be using them to research your services before they part with their hard earned cash.
Over three-quarters of UK adults are using review sites online and what they find is paramount to the success of the modern business.
If your customers are not reassured that they’re making a smart decision they will go elsewhere.
Boost business with reviews
As a tradesperson, the majority of your work probably comes through word-of-mouth recommendations, so you need to make sure your customers say nice things about you online as well as face-to-face.
With reviews standing the test of time online, it’s never been more important to create loyal relationships with customers and give excellent customer service:
- Be easily contactable
- Provide honest, clear and relevant advice
- Take the time to explain technicalities to your customers in laymen’s terms
- Spend a few extra minutes cleaning up to ensure you leave the job tidy
- Exceed expectations – under promise, over deliver!
Top tip: Link up your website to any profiles you have on social media platforms or review sites to maximise reviews. This will also bring the added benefit of increasing your search engine rankings.
The good, the bad and the ugly
The majority of your customers will be more than happy to leave you positive reviews. Getting back in touch with a recent customer to check they are satisfied is good practice anyway, so why not ask them to review their experience?
Whatever stance your reviewer has taken, it’s important to respond politely and professionally, even if it’s just to say ‘thanks’. But what about when things don’t go quite as planned?
Deal with complaints in the right way, and you may turn a situation into a positive.
How to reply to negative reviews:
- Apologise and provide an explanation, but don’t overdo it!
- Use a professional and non-argumentative tone.
- Be precise, too much information is unnecessary.
- Write like a human being, not a corporation
- Suggest a solution to put things right.
- Invite the customer to discuss things further in private
What platforms to use
Every business should have a Facebook page; hugely popular with the general public (aka your customers), its specific business review function is very well used.
A good presence on Google+ is also key to a thriving business. By claiming your listing you can engage with customers through their reviews and push your profile up the search engine listings.
Specialist review sites are also worth considering, for example, trustedtraders.which.co.uk, a new avenue for the Which? brand, which has recently been working with organisations such as HETAS and Gas Safe Register.
On Checkatrade.com, customers can search of local tradespeople for free, read about their services and view a rating out of 10 based on previous reviews. With a click of a button customers can request a call back from their chosen tradesperson.
The cost of using specialist review sites does vary, but you may decide it is worth it for the association with a well-known and trusted brand and the wide-reaching marketing opportunities on offer.
There’s a whole world of new business to be accessed online; all you need is a solid web presence and a basic understanding of social media to create a positive reputation, build your customer base and ultimately win more work.