In today’s world, fostering trust has never been more critical.
In a recent report, 93% of consumers say that online reviews influenced their purchase decisions. For tradesperson or home building businesses, prospective customers rely on others’ opinions and testimonials to ensure you are a trusted provider who can deliver.
Cultivate confidence with online customer reviews
When it comes to investing in a professional to carry out a job, customers often want reassurance they’re making the right decision. To do this, they’ll ask friends and family for personal recommendations or, more likely, start with a Google search.
This is not just across the home and trade industries but consistent across many other sectors such as travel. In every case, online reviews and star ratings can easily be the final factor in whether a customer decides to work with you or not.
The importance of online reviews for small businesses
Customers trust online reviews because they come from other customers. When a business tells people directly, they are trustworthy; it makes sense to be wary of their claims. Prospects are more likely to trust third parties as they do not benefit from writing about their experience. Review sites give customers an unfiltered platform to tell the ‘real’ story’.
Social proof is the psychological principle that people will follow other’s behaviours when uncertain. Similarly, people are guided by online reviews believing that a previous customer’s experience will also be their experience. Suppose a customer writes online about a home improvement service going poorly. In that case, new customers will expect the same and avoid working with that business.
What is the value of reviews to my business?
Both positive reviews and negative reviews can be valuable to a business owner.
Many businesses look at positive online reviews as enabling more customers to buy from you following the principle of social proof. 72% of consumers will only take action after reading a positive review. They can also help customers trust your business, lift your search rankings and convert more leads. The prospect of even more customers without doing any additional marketing or spend is also precious to a service business.
Negative reviews can be highly damaging to your business in comparison. 80% of consumers report avoiding a company after reading a bad review. There are, however, two ways they can add value to a business.
The first is the insight they afford you in how you can fix or rectify gaps or issues in your process or service. Suppose a customer complains that your representatives always show up late and fail to communicate. In that case, there is a green light for what you can fix to improve future reviews.
Additionally, you may get tempted to remove or ignoring negative reviews on these websites. Resist the urge and always reply to reviews. In fact, 97% of customers also read responses by businesses to online reviews.
Acknowledge the customer’s complaint and issues, and address that it will be fixed with a further link to communicate directly with the team. While this may not convince or repair the existing relationship, prospective clients will feel more positively towards your business because you listened and attempted to change.
How to ask for online reviews
Now that you know the value of online reviews, it’s time to start asking for them. For some businesses, this can prove challenging. Customers are more likely to go online to write a bad review than a good one. So how do you prompt more customers to write positive reviews?
Find the happiest point
Examine your customer experience journey from end to end and find the ‘happiest point’. The happiest point is when a customer is most satisfied with your product or service. For trades businesses, it is likely to occur when you are showing off the finished job. At this point, the customer should get asked for their testimonial.
Ask quickly and conveniently
If you can, ask in person, but if you cannot, make sure you choose a communication channel that delivers quickly and is convenient to the customer. While most businesses prefer to email, open rates are dropping to below 20%, and customers tend to lose sight of them in the clutter.
A faster and more convenient way to get customers to leave a review is by sending them a text message directly after a service. With a 98% open rate, using SMS to ask for customer feedback is convenient and practical. You can also add a shortened SMS links directing them straight to Google reviews, your social media profile, or your own reviews page.
Add an incentive
If you want customers to write you a review, add a sweetener! Offer to enter them in a draw to win a free service, voucher or prize. Given that you now know how much good reviews can bring in, this can prove a small cost compared to the new business it will attract. Online reviews can prove not only a valuable asset but a clever sales and marketing tool to acquire future clients for your trade business.