10 ways to get more online reviews for your trade company

Marine Klein
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The last time you bought something online, did you receive an email a few days later asking you to review your purchase? There's a fair chance you did. 

The internet has fundamentally changed how people make decisions about the products and services they buy, and the way people look for trade companies is no exception.
 
Before the web, most people would rely on word of mouth from people they trusted. They'd ask: Which company should I use? Do you know someone we can trust? Are they expensive?
 
Today, the goal is still the same: to get the best value for money. Price, the services on offer and trust are still important factors in making a decision. But instead of friends and family, we're now trusting good online reviews from people we've never met - and most people say these positive reviews are a large part of their decision-making process.

"64.4% of online shoppers trust their peers who have interacted with a company or a product more than any other influencer group (including friends and family)."

But no one reads reviews!

You're probably thinking that only young people - the ones permanently attached to their mobiles - pay attention to online customer reviews, but ask yourself: how many times have you had a quick glance at the customer reviews section when you were looking to buy something on a website like Amazon.co.uk

The group most likely to pay attention to online reviews are those aged between 45 and 54, with 89.2% saying that they take reviews into consideration when finding a company or buying a product online.

"83% of consumers say that reviews affect their decision to buy most of the time"

So the benefits of a company putting in the time and effort to get positive reviews to display on their website is clear – but what's the best way to get reviews from happy customers? 

"Include the voices of the people who know your products best: your customers."

Your customers are always right and their feedback is trusted by potential clients. More than 90% of buyers say they read reviews before buying a product, so adding reviews to your website could be the difference that makes you stand out from the competition.

Studies have shown that if your company website has clearly visible customer reviews, potential customer are 78% more likely to buy from your company compared with a business that doesn't show that its customers are happy – a massive difference. This shows why it is absolutely worth the time to get reviews from your clients not only for the specific services you offer but also for your company in general. 

Another benefit of reviews is that they can help increase the traffic to your company's website which in turn helps with your SEO efforts. This stands for Search Engine Optimisation meaning how high you rank in a Google search for your particular service. 

On average, you need to have a minimum of six reviews to start building trust. To start getting Google stars – which are displayed below your company website link when someone googled your company name – you have to get 150 reviews so better start collecting them sooner rather than later!

What if I get bad reviews?

Bad reviews can actually be the best kind – especially when you're confident in your product or service and reply to the review in a professional, measured way to demonstrate that you're engaging with your customers.

"60% of people say that they trust companies less if they have only positive reviews."

Research has found that people are more likely to trust websites that include at least one bad review. Having only positive customer feedback seems fake, after all! Having a few bad reviews can significantly increase the trust of potential clients. Additionally, here we have a great article on how to respond to less than perfect feedback!

Now that you're convinced you should be getting online reviews, the next question is: how do you get customers to write a review? There are plenty of options for collecting customer reviews, and there's no one-size-fits-all solution. Below, we look at 10 powerful ways to get reviews.

Man holding phone and trying to reach customers and get them to positively review a company.

1. Ask your customers 

The first thing to look at is your customer database – start by choosing which of your clients you're going to ask to review you. It's a good idea to begin with people you know are happy with your service; although customers with difficult situations often offer the best reviews... after you've fixed their issues, of course!

Then decide when you're going to ask them: just after they've had work completed, after invoicing them, or a week or so later? You want to make sure that your service is still fresh in their mind so don't wait too long.

Examples of formats for customer reviews.  2. Choose the best format

When you know who you want to target, it's time to think about how you're going to ask them to send in their review.

Should you or someone else in the office send an email? Should you use a mail system such as MailChimp? Or should you look at a third-party review website?

If you decide to send an email, for example, make sure that it includes a call-to-action link to the review submission form. Plan to send a follow-up email if they don't reply within a certain period. 

Another option is to set up a specific campaign or insert the review form in a regular newsletter.

 Social media networking for small to medium field service businesses.

3. Engage on social media 

If you already use social media to engage your customers, you can also use it to collect reviews. You'll need to schedule regular posts, because the lifetime of a social media post is much less than a blog post, for example. 

Try to post when your customers are most likely to see it – find out which day, week or time is best. 

If you use Twitter, try adding an image or infographic to your post. Content with images gets 94% more views than content without.

You can also use your Facebook, LinkedIn or Google+ account. Always try to include a link or blog post along with the link to the review form. This lets your customers feel more engaged with the company and engaged customers are more likely to submit positive reviews. 

4. Subscribe to a third-party review site

At Commusoft we use the Capterra B2B review platform and Review.co.uk, but for seeing reviews from consumers it's better to use B2C review software such as TrustMark, Checkatrade.com, TrustPilot.com, Mybuilder.com or Yelp. In order to help you make sense of these websites, we've written a full article which you can read here.

 

Examples of trustworthy review websites like TrustMark, Yelp, TrustPilot, Checkatrader.

 

5. Add a review badge to your website

"63% of consumers said they are more likely to purchase from a site that has product ratings and reviews."

Badges act as a continuous, passive, CTA on your site and can help generate new reviews. To add a badge to your website, simply ask the developer in charge of maintaining your site. If you don't have someone who knows how to do this, you can ask the support team at the third-party review collection company you've chosen.

Thumbs up referring to positive reviews for your small to medium field service business.

6. Don't be afraid of bad reviews!

It's hugely important to reach out to your customers if they left a negative review – it shows you care about your customers. They might have left a poor review because of something you can fix, and by working with the customer you might turn a bad experience into an excellent one. 

A bad review with a good response from the company can be more effective in building trust with potential customers than hundreds of good reviews. Don't forget, however, to ask the customer who left the bad review to revise their review after the situation has reached a happy conclusion!

MORE READING: Here are our top 17 posts on marketing, all in one place and all created just for plumbing, HVAC, property maintenance, electrical and fire & security businesses like yours.

7. Write a blog post

Writing a blog post about how your company collects reviews will help drive traffic to and increase SEO on your website.

 

Man writing a blog post about getting more review for his small to medium field service plumbing or gas business

 

8. Incentivise your customers

Don't hesitate to give incentives to your customers for the time they spend reviewing your product – after all, time is money. You can see some examples of incentives in the sample email we've written to you. 

Men challenging themselves to getting more positive customer reviews

9. Challenge your employees

Get your employees in on the action by challenging them to get as many reviews as they can. You could even offer a prize to the first employee who gets, say, 10 reviews.

Man overcoming challenge of getting more positive reviews for his small to medium field service business like plumbing or gas installations.

10. Test, try and try again!

"Habits are formed from a repeated pattern with a few key elements"

If just 10% of the people you ask for a review submit one, you'll be quite lucky! So if you ask 50 customers, don't expect a 100% response rate. To get six reviews you'll need to contact between 80 to 100 customers, so don't be discouraged if it takes you a while.

If you ask a customer for a review and they don't reply, don't hesitate to send him a reminder, say, a week later – although if they still don't reply, it's best to move your focus to a more recent customer.

 

Are you already asking your customers for reviews? Share with us what is your experience on Facebook or Twitter. And if you'd like a free email template that you can send to your customers and ask for reviews, just click below.

online reviews template Sources:

Reviews.co.uk "The Influence Of Reviews In 2016"
Capterra.com "18 Surprisingly Easy Ways to Collect B2B Software User Reviews


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