TrustMark, Checkatrade, mybuilder, Ratedpeople... Is it worth it?
We’ve already discussed the importance of getting positive reviews. Now that it’s out of the way, we need to go through one of the easiest methods of increasing the number of reviews your company has. Third party review websites are numerous and they all come with pros and cons.
One thing to keep in mind, regardless of which one you choose, is to pay attention to the categories. It’s an obvious requirement, but it gets overlooked more often than you’d think. This is how plumbing businesses ended up in the restaurant section. Then they wonder why no reviews are coming in. List your business under the category that describes your services most accurately, whether that’s Plumbing, Home Services, etc. If you find that you can fit in multiple ones (you have enough engineers to cover different specialisations), pick the one with the least competition. This way you can stand out easier.
It’s up to you to decide where and how often to list your company, but keep in mind that it’s good to have a balance. List your business on too few websites, and customers will not consider you trustworthy as they can’t find you easily. List your business on too many, and you’ll find that you’re not able to manage so many review streams or they will be too dispersed to help with your credibility. We’ve research how much it costs to be on popular websites like Amazon Home & Business Services or Checkatrade. Now it’s up to you to design your winning strategy.
Everyone knows Amazon as the delivery giant. But besides selling everything under the sun, they also run the Amazon Home & Business Services. Here you can apply to list your plumbing and heating business for free. They offer professional assistance during the on-boarding phase and promise to deliver you leads on a regular basis. After a job is done, the customers receive a review link, much like when they purchase an item from Amazon.
Due to Amazon’s online clout, these reviews will always rank high in Google searches therefore it’s a good idea to have your business listed. More so when you consider that the listing is free, comes with a quality guarantee badge from Amazon, and only charges when you finished a job for a customer that reached you directly through the portal. Additionally, your business could be recommended to customers purchasing items that require a service which you provide (e.g. someone is looking for a new boiler so you can easily see them request a callback if they see your name next to it).
TrustMark is a not-for-profit, government backed accreditation site with the sole focus of providing customers with reassurance and protection from rogue traders. After a careful vetting process that all listed businesses are subjected to, accreditation is awarded to signal good trading practices, good customer service and technical competence, as well as fully qualified engineers.
The scheme was initially launched in 2005 so they have over 10 years experience, and is overseen by a board of directors with direct experience in the trade and consumer protection sector, therefore you can be confident that you'll be dealing with a company that understands the unique demands of your industry.
They display more than 750,000 details to the public each month through their own website and those of their partners, plus membership costs are tailored to each company depending on other bodies that they belong to.
By becoming TrusMark accredited you secure more business, have your details displayed with your own web page. You also have access to press and marketing opportunities, social media, vehicle stickers but most important: you get customers reviews!
Checkatrade has grown to become one of the UK's most recognisable review brands for tradespeople since it was founded in 1998. Last year alone, more than six million customers from across the country used the service to source a trusted, reputable tradesperson for their needs.
Checkatrade independently vets each of the tradespeople on the site to further boost the credibility of all listed companies, and they claim that many companies have received a callback for a job thanks to their listing.
Although customers are given free, unrestricted access to the site, there is a charge for businesses to be listed. Membership starts from as little as £12 per week with payments spread over a convenient number of months and taken by Direct Debit. Checkatrade publishes all feedback whether is good and bad, for you and your competitors.
Rated People takes a different approach to its competitors when it comes to listing names with the site acting as a lead generation tool as well as a review platform. Customers list their jobs online and, once approved, trade businesses are free to search and then quote on the job at hand by submitting a formal proposal.
It boasts some pretty impressive figures too – more than one million jobs are posted each year by homeowners which are taken on by their recommended list of over 50,000 tradespeople.
The site covers almost every trade sector imaginable with companies from more than 30 different skill sets available. Each time a job is carried out, the customer leaves a review on your profile for future potential customers to see.
Partially due to the lead generation element, members must pay an annual subscription to be a part of the service as well as a small charge each time a quote or proposal is submitted.
My Builder is perhaps the closest platform based approach to Rated People, but rather than charging an annual membership fee, tradespeople are simply charged a shortlist fee once you're ready to exchange contact details with your new lead.
They have built an intuitive matching system which sees customers matched to a shortlist of the most suitable tradespeople for their needs based on the job at hand, location and dates amongst other key factors.
The fees charged are dependent on the size of the job, ranging from £2 - £35, so you'll always find that the fee is proportional to the amount you're likely to earn.
Reviews.co.uk offer a far wider reaching review service than just covering field service workers and tradesmen. All manner of companies are listed here which has its advantages and disadvantages depending on what way you look at it.
Since they aren't trade specific, there are no rigorous vetting procedures to undertake, you simply need to refer your customers to the site so that they can leave feedback on your business. On the downside, this means that overall conversions are likely to be lower since many people visiting the site won't be doing so purely to seek out services like yours.
They have three membership packages on offer with the 'small business' plan starting at £45 per month. Free trials are available on their 'growing' and 'enterprise' plans which are well worth taking up purely for some free advertising.
Yelp attracts customer feedback from businesses in every sector. For that reason, they attracted a whopping 171 million reviews at the end of 2018. The service is completely free of charge to both businesses and customers alike with revenue earned through advertising sales.
The free nature of the service means that you’ll have nothing to lose by joining, although is will list both positive and negative reviews as soon as users submit them. This means you’ll have no control over how they present your less than stellar feedback.
TrustPilot is one of the best known names in the review websites business and their green star rating system is familiar to anyone. Not only that, but it’s also very easy to embed in your website for the world to see. While a free membership guarantees you a listing where you can easily collect reviews, a paid one will offer you analytics and embedded showcase system too. One benefit of TrustPilot is the ability to respond to reviews, whether it’s to thank them or to properly manage the less than stellar ones.
GlassDoor is an employee review website but you can’t afford to ignore it when building your customer loyalty strategy. Clocking in at 57 million users at the end of 2018, GlassDoor's reviews will rank high in Google searches. Therefore, customers looking to appraise your company will definitely see them. You don’t want them to say “Plumbing Co. is the worst employer since the Pharaohs.” Not only this discourages customers but it will also make it difficult to hire talent in the future.
Listing your company on GlassDoor couldn’t be easier. By accessing the Free Employer Account, you can build your profile, add information about working conditions, and post recruitment ads. A great tip is to ask your current or former employees (the happy ones, of course) to add a review. This will populate your profile and encourage viewers to interact with it. However, keep in mind that employees can add your business as well. So unless you go and list your name right this very second, a disgruntled engineer could get there first. Good thing we’ve discussed how to deal with negative reviews!
Probably the world’s most famous door stopper, Yellow Pages will remind you of the old days when you had to sit down and leaf through a directory to telephone a plumber. However, Yellow Pages has moved into the 21st century with their sleek online directory - a browsing experience which they renamed Yell. You can list your business for free and customers will be able to review it and assign it a number of stars.
However, you can sign up for a Sponsored Listing, where for less than £10/month, you gain access to a Yell badge, favored listings, leads, and much more.
It seems redundant to even link to the Facebook homepage. The ubiquity of the world’s largest social media platform might appear overwhelming sometimes. Especially for a heating and plumbing company. But, realistically speaking, unless your customers are some sort of quirky Luddites, they will be on Facebook. And they will check your reviews there.
In order to manage your social media business profile, it’s important to make sure not only that your page is setup, but that it contains all the relevant information. Be aware that when reviewing your services, customers can add photos and share the feedback with their network. Make sure that you’re prompt in answering them, regardless if it’s to say “thank you” or “I’m sorry”.
We’ve left the most obvious for last: Google My Business. Aside from your website, this is one of the most important places where you can gather reviews. Due to Google’s preference to display your business profile front and centre, it will also be the first thing customers see when they search for you.
A good strategy, after you’ve populated your profile with photos and contact details, is to take control of the reviews. Don’t wait for customers to come to you but actively ask them to leave you some feedback. This is especially effective when you know you did an outstanding job and they were pleased with your service. Now, if you need some help with designing those review request emails, we have just the thing for you: