Managing Your Company’s Online Review Profile to Maximum Benefit

Customer testimonials and reviews are something you can control to build trust, enhance your credibility, and influence potential customers' decisions

Managing Your Company’s Online Review Profile to Maximum Benefit

Carter Harkins and Taylor Hill

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In today's digital age, your company's online reputation matters more than ever.

If you are guessing and not paying attention, that reputation can change on one review. In the latest BrightLocal report, on local business discovery and trust, one of the more interesting items was that people look at home business service reviews more than any other category — even doctors. It seems people are very picky about who they let into their homes and for good reason.

Because potential customers frequently turn to the internet to research plumbing and drain cleaning services, it can take only a few bad reviews to turn them off from using your services. Reviews are one of the most influential factors in your potential customer's decision-making process. Knowing that, it makes sense to stay laser-focused on these reviews in order to capitalize on them.

Positive reviews can be a goldmine for businesses, as they build trust, enhance credibility, and attract new clients. It is possible for your business to harness the power of customer testimonials and reviews.  

The power of positive reviews  

Positive reviews are more than just kind words from satisfied customers. They're a powerful marketing tool. Consider these compelling statistics:  

Trust factor: According to a BrightLocal survey, 87% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. 

Conversion booster: A Harvard Business Review study found that a one-star increase in Yelp rating leads to a 5 to 9% increase in revenue. 

Visibility: Positive reviews on Google, Yelp, Facebook, and other platforms can improve your chances of bringing new customers into your business. Real-life customer success stories, including photos and videos, highlight the impact of positive reviews. You can also cross-pollinate these stories on different platforms as well to up the visibility.

Plumbing and drain cleaning businesses that actively collect and showcase these testimonials and reviews often experience significant growth. Customers are more likely to choose a service with a strong online reputation because it instills confidence and suggests reliability.  

Encouraging customer feedback  

The first step in leveraging reviews is encouraging your customers to leave feedback.  

Ask at the end of the service: Once the service is completed and the customer is completely satisfied, your technicians can easily tell the customer that your business lives and dies by the reviews left online and you would be honored if they would leave a truthful review of the service they received.

Request cards: If your technicians are hesitant to ask the customer for the review, then you can provide physical cards with review instructions (and a QR code) that your technicians can hand out after each service.

Follow-up emails: Send a polite email after completing a job, thanking the customer and kindly requesting feedback. 

Placement of the review request: Make sure you are placing a review request on your correspondence with the customer at the bottom of your email signature, the invoice you send the customer, and newsletters or announcements you may be sending to your valued customers.

Incentive programs: Consider offering discounts or incentives to customers who leave reviews. Be sure to follow the review platform guidelines as well as clarify what the customer will receive. Make the review process as straightforward as possible. Provide clear instructions, links to review platforms, and even QR codes to streamline the submission process.  

Handling negative reviews  

Negative reviews are inevitable and everyone gets them occasionally. In fact, consumers don't believe the reviews if there is nothing but five-star reviews. A negative review can be a perfect opportunity to showcase your professionalism and commitment to customer satisfaction.

Stay calm: Avoid emotional responses. Acknowledge the issue and express your willingness to resolve it. Remember, it’s not personal so don’t take it personally.

Respond promptly: Address negative reviews promptly to show that you value feedback and take customer concerns seriously. If left to fester on both sides, the issues get larger. Don’t wait to address the review as waiting can turn a molehill into a mountain.

Acknowledge the problem: Whether you believe the customer or not or agree with their assessment, acknowledge their concerns and take notes so you can address those concerns along the way.

Take it offline: If possible, encourage the customer to contact you directly to discuss and resolve the issue privately. This is almost impossible if you don’t acknowledge the issue they have.

Implement improvements: This is for your internal processes. You can use negative feedback as an opportunity to improve your services and get better as a company. If your company values quality customer service along with the service you give, then turning a negative review into a positive outcome can actually enhance your reputation. 

When potential customers see you're committed to addressing issues and ensuring customer satisfaction, it can turn a bad experience into a good one. There are times you will have people call you and let you know it was the way you handled a negative experience that impressed them enough to call. Your answer is not only for the person who left that bad review but also for the person who reads the response.

Leveraging reviews on various platforms  

To maximize the impact of your reviews, maintain a presence on popular review platforms like Google, Facebook, Yelp, Angie's List, etc. Ensure your business profiles are complete and optimized with accurate contact information, photos, and services offered. This makes it easier for customers to find and review your services. Additionally, actively encourage customers to leave reviews on these platforms. Provide direct links to your profiles and don’t forget to include reminders in your email communications, on your website, and on those invoices.  

The power of pictures and videos

It’s amazing how many people are looking for photos and videos when going through reviews. In fact, Google just did an upgrade to Google Business Profile to make photos and videos a much bigger part of that platform. Because of this, ask your customers to post their pictures and videos of the service online. This is not going away so take advantage of it now.

Review management tools and services  

Managing reviews can be time-consuming. Fortunately, there are tools and services available to simplify the process. Consider using review management software that allows you to monitor reviews from multiple platforms in one place. These tools often offer automated email reminders and customizable templates for responding to reviews professionally.  

Automation can save you time and ensure that every review is noticed and responded to. It allows you to focus on what you do best — providing exceptional service — while your online reputation thrives. There are some amazing AI tools as well that can be used in conjunction with automation for this purpose.

Customer testimonials and reviews are something you can control to build trust, enhance your credibility, and influence potential customers' decisions. By actively encouraging feedback, handling negative reviews with professionalism, and optimizing your presence on review platforms, you can take advantage of reviews to grow your plumbing and drain cleaning business. In today's competitive market, a stellar online reputation is not just an asset; it's a necessity.

About the Authors

Carter Harkins and Taylor Hill are the authors of Blue Collar Proud: 10 Principles for Building a Kickass Business You Love and the owners of Spark Marketer, a "no bull" digital marketing company that’s been getting sh*t done for home service businesses across the nation for a decade. They’re trusted thought leaders in the industries they serve, which is why you’ll find them regularly speaking at service industry trade shows and conferences and writing for trade magazines. Tired of empty promises and ready for focused digital marketing and balls-to-the-wall dedication that gets your business seen? Visit www.sparkmarketer.com.



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