Get Customer Reviews in Real Time

This convenient app dramatically boosts contractors’ internet presence by enabling customers to post on-the-spot service reviews

Get Customer Reviews in Real Time

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There’s no question that online customer reviews should be an essential part of any drain cleaner’s marketing efforts. In fact, experts say that more than 90 percent of consumers read online reviews before making decisions about goods and services.

Which leaves only one question: How do contractors go about getting time-crunched customers to post reviews — and amassing the high volume of reviews required to move the meter in terms of online visibility in organic search rankings?

Dan Pentico, the owner of Mr. Rooter Phoenix, has an answer: Real Time Reviews, an app that, as its name succinctly implies, gives customers the opportunity to post a review in real time, before the technician even leaves a job site. That’s critically important because no matter how much customers love the service they received, experts say the percentage of people who will post a review online drops to single digits after a contractor leaves a job site. Real life just intrudes too quickly, despite the customer’s best intentions.

“That’s the part that really piqued my interest,” says Pentico, who established the franchise in 1996. The company employs 25 people, runs 18 service vehicles and serves the Phoenix metropolitan area. “It’s super important to complete the review process within the transaction period. … That’s what I call the ‘golden moment’ — right when the technician is finishing up and collecting payment and the customer is happy. Right then is when you have a really good chance to get a good review.”

The company started using Real Time Reviews in 2016, and the results speak for themselves. Pentico says his company used to fight tooth and nail to get just a dozen or so reviews posted a year.

“We used to send customers postcards, asking them to go online and post a review, and then had technicians ask customers to post reviews,” he says. “But that’s a difficult thing. Technicians might read a customer wrong and think they won’t get a good review for whatever reason, so they won’t ask for one.”

But thanks to Real Time Reviews, the company now earns anywhere from 300 to 500 online reviews annually. “We didn’t start to gain traction with online reviews until we started using the Real Time Reviews app. It has made a significant difference.

“Having a transparent online presence is such a big part of doing business today,” he says. “It’s basically the new word-of-mouth referral.”

Here’s how the app typically works: After completing a job, a technician asks customers if they’re willing to provide an online review of the work. If they agree, the technician calls up the Real Time Reviews app on a cellphone, types in the customer’s name and cellphone number, and sends the customer a text.

The resulting message thanks the customer for using the contractor and asks if he or she would recommend the company to family and friends. If they choose yes, then it asks if they want to give a review on Facebook and/or Google. If they click on that, it walks them through some basic steps and then publishes the review immediately. The process only takes three to five minutes.

But what if technicians don’t want to get reviewed? Pentico solved that issue by removing technicians from the decision process. After a software program notifies someone on the company’s dispatch team that payment has been received and the invoice has been completed, the dispatcher then sends the text to the customer.

“In the beginning, our techs had control over the process,” he explains. “They could pick and choose who they’d ask for a review. But we took that away completely. This is where the world is going; total transparency is where it’s at.”

As a result, the app also serves as a great management tool because customers can post good and bad reviews, the latter of which can reveal service flaws. The reviews also can tell Pentico what aspects of service they like and don’t like.

“We get the reviews, which is great for our online presence,” he says. “But we’re also taking it another step and using it to better manage our employees and create a better customer experience. If you listen closely, customers will tell you what you need to know.

“We don’t always know what’s going on out there (during service calls), so this app allows customers to really drive whether guys stay employed at our company.”

On the flip side, management also singles out employees for praise at weekly meetings when they receive glowing customer reviews. “The reviews essentially act as the technicians’ report cards,” Pentico says.

As an additional bonus, the app can reduce fake negative reviews posted online by unscrupulous competitors. A Real Time Review can only be posted if a technician sends a customer a link via the app, and then they have to log in to platforms such as Facebook or Google to complete the process. That ensures they’re legitimate reviewers, not dishonest competitors.

The franchise pays a fee of $149 a month to use the app. And even though it’s difficult to quantify exactly how it affects the business in terms of increased sales calls and revenue, Pentico thinks it’s worth every penny. In fact, he says it’s probably the most cost-effective tool the company uses.

“Anyone I talk to, I tell them about Real Time Reviews,” he says. “It really doesn’t matter what business you’re in — this app is it. Without it, I’m sure we wouldn’t have the online presence we have today and our business wouldn’t be growing the way it has.”


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