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. The means people use to look for trade companies is no exception. These days, it’s vital to have a strategy if you want to get online reviews as a plumbing and heating business.
If you’d like to skip to what matters most to you on how to get online reviews, click the title below:
- Ask your customers.
- Choose the best format.
- Engage on social media.
- Subscribe to a third-party review site.
- Add a review badge to your website.
- Don’t be afraid of bad reviews.
- Write a blog post.
- Incentivise your customers.
- Challenge your employees.
- Test, try and try again. Then test some more.
Before the web, most people would rely on word of mouth from peers they trusted. They’d ask: which company should we 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 positive 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!” we hear you say.
You’re probably thinking that only young people – the ones permanently attached to their phones – 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 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.
“86% 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? Studies have shown that if your company website has clearly visible customer reviews, potential customer are 78% more likely to buy from it. Compare this with a business that doesn’t show that its customers are happy and you’ll see a massive difference. This answers why it’s absolutely worth the time to get reviews from your clients not only for a specific service you offer but also for your reputation in general.
Another benefit of reviews is that they can help increase the traffic to your company’s website. This in turn helps with your SEO efforts. Especially when you consider that review websites usually have high authority domains. When they link to your website, Google automatically considers you more trustworthy. On average, you need to have a minimum of six reviews to start building trust. So better start collecting them sooner rather than later!
What if I get bad reviews?
Bad reviews can actually be the best kind. Particularly 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.
“68% 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. If you’d like to know more, here we have a great article on how to respond to less than perfect feedback.
Now that you’re convinced you should get online reviews, the next question is: how do you get customers to write a review? There are plenty of options for collecting customer feedback and there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Below, we look at 10 powerful ways to get online reviews.
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 who you know are happy with your service. Though 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. Will it be 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.
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? You could 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.
If you already use social media to engage with 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 shorter than a blog post’s, for example. Try to post when your customers are most likely to see it – find out which day, week or time works best.
If you use Twitter, try adding an image or infographic to your post. Content with images get more views than content without. You can also use your Facebook or LinkedIn 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.
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.
“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, 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.
We cannot overstate how important it is to reach out to your customers if they left a negative review. It shows you care about them and want to improve your service. 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 at 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 feedback after the situation has reached a happy conclusion!
A blog post focusing on reviews and the importance of giving feedback will engage your customers. They will feel more motivated to let you (and prospective customers) know about how your service improved their home and quality of life. Not only this, but it will help with your SEO as well.
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 for you. Keep in mind, however, that you can’t offer incentives in exchange for positive reviews only and that most states have pretty strict legislature on this subject. Make sure you stick to the rules!
"People do their research before choosing a service provider. This is why having reviews is important. These types of reviews act as a channel for word of mouth to happen. If you offer great service from the start people might write you a review, but a small incentive can increase those chances even more. So by incentivising your customers, you have the opportunity to increase your word of mouth (wom marketing) and reach a ton of new prospects", says marketing expert, Megan Mosley, from Referral Rock.
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. If your engineers ask for feedback on site, they’re much more likely to get it than an office admin. Since customers interacted with them face-to-face, there’s already an established connection to work off of. The review will also have a more personal touch when they know they’re referring to a person they met in real life.
“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.