Reach New Customers Through Quality Online Reviews

You can still grab people’s attention with traditional forms of advertising, but their initial call to you most often hinges on what they see in online reviews

Reach New Customers Through Quality Online Reviews

Chris Rossi

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It used to be that the only advertising methods for plumbing and drain cleaning businesses were local newspaper slots, radio commercials, or, if you had a big enough budget, a TV commercial with a catchy jingle. While this type of marketing may still grab a potential customer’s attention, people are far less likely to call a business straight from a commercial or advertisement anymore. Instead, they turn to the internet and check out online reviews.

Even if traditional marketing prompts customers to search for you online, the first thing most people will do before calling you is look through your reviews. Many contractors say that word-of-mouth referrals are a central part of their marketing strategy. However, surveys show that more and more people are simply leaving online reviews instead of giving reviews or referrals in person. 

One survey reported that 72% of customers say positive online reviews make them trust a local business more than they may have otherwise, while only 53% of people would consider using a business rated at less than 4 stars. This presents a challenge for plumbing and drain cleaning businesses that aren’t actively seeking out positive reviews.

It’s an unfortunate reality that unprompted, people are far more likely to leave a negative review than a positive one, particularly in service industries like plumbing and drain cleaning. If you only have a few Google reviews, just one negative review can tank your rating and drive customers away.  

Having plenty of quality, positive Google reviews benefits you in two ways. First, positive reviews increase conversion rates (the number of prospective customers who turn into paying customers). Second, they signal to Google’s algorithm that your business is trustworthy and should be shown to searchers more often. 

Google’s algorithm now takes reviews into account when deciding which businesses appear first in search results. The algorithm looks at how many reviews your business has, how often they come in, how high your average star rating is, and also what those reviews say. The more positive reviews you have coming in, the better your chance of being featured higher up in the search results.

This makes it extremely important to create a process for requesting reviews from customers.

If you don’t have many Google reviews right now, the best place to start is with your loyal, repeat customers. Create a list of customers you’ve done work for more than once. Reach out to them and ask for a Google review, and be sure to include a link to write a review when you ask. If you’re unfamiliar with how to create and send a Google review link, this post has an in-depth explanation with video. 

For all future clients, all you have to do is ask. If you email invoices, consider including the review request in the same email that you send, or shortly after. If you know a customer responds better to texts or phone calls instead of emails, send them a short text with a thank you and a request for a review. Ask your technicians to mention reviews in-person before they leave the customer’s home. Every satisfied customer you have should at some point be asked for a review. This significantly increases the chances that you will receive positive reviews.

To increase the overall quality of your online reviews, be sure to give your customers a good place to start. In your review request, ask them questions about the quality of their service or technician to help jog their memory. For example, when you send a request email or text, you can include a question such as: “What problem did we fix for you?” Google’s algorithm rewards businesses with more specific reviews, so more specificity can benefit your rankings. Additionally, reviews that mention the service that was performed can catch a customer’s eye and signals to them that you’ve dealt with their exact plumbing problem before, and you did it well.

As reviews come in, take some time to respond to them. Not only does this present you as friendly and engaged, it can also prompt other customers to leave reviews as well.

Finally, find the best way to consistently get reviews. Try emails first, then texting and calling. Experiment with having technicians ask for a review once the service is complete, then have your office follow up three days later with an email or a phone call. Test each technique for a few months, then switch to a different one. Continue trying new things until you find the process that has the best response rate from your customers.

Online reviews are more important now than they have ever been. There are so many opportunities that are missed if you don’t have a focused process for receiving reviews for your business. People want to see that you can take care of their plumbing needs with speed and efficiency, and Google reviews are one of the best and most reliable ways to demonstrate that you are the solution to their problem. By creating a process for receiving reviews, you are setting your business up for success both for Google’s algorithm and your prospective customers.

About the Author

Chris Rossi is the founder of Click Sluice Digital Marketing in Boise, Idaho. Click Sluice has specialized in digital marketing for plumbers and other local service businesses for the past 10 years. Rossi is the author of an in-depth plumber marketing and advertising guide designed to help contractors increase their internet presence and get more customers.


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