This is a guest blog post by Coalmarch, the leading partner for growing home service industry businesses.
When you’re looking to hire a local company to perform a service for you, what makes you choose one company over another? Reviews. We all know that reviews are important. They can be the determining factor whether a consumer chooses your service or not. Customers are looking for a reason to choose you over the competition, so you need to give them one. Reviews can also set the tone for what kind of experience a potential customer can expect. Review management is continual work to monitor and respond, even for small businesses. Managing reviews can be a challenge for businesses with a single location, so when you have multiple locations or branches, the effort is multiplied.
If you own multiple branches or office locations, keeping track of all the reviews can become tricky – and really time-consuming. Chances are you receive reviews on multiple platforms constantly, including Google, Yelp, your personal website, and other review sites. But did you know that reviews are important for local search? Traditional SEO tactics can get you to the top of search engine results pages, but online reviews will help you seal the deal. The digital marketing experts at Coalmarch, the leading partner for growing pest control and lawn care industry businesses, recommend paying attention to user reviews when it comes to vying for prominent positions in the local SERPs. If you want to encourage potential customers to visit your website and try your service, you need to have good reviews!
Reviews can be difficult to obtain and manage when you have multiple locations, but they are extremely important. If you have a Raleigh NC location with a bunch of high-quality reviews, and then a Charlotte, NC location with zero views. Potential customers in Raleigh will be seeing all the positive experiences people have had with your business, but Charlotte potential customers won’t see any of it! Below are our 3 tips on how to get reviews for your local service business if you have multiple locations!
1. Interactive and personal responses to reviews:
Listening to your customers is important, but interacting with them and responding to their opinions will speak louder volumes. Businesses that respond to just one customer review earn 4% more revenue on average. Making it clear that you relate to and care about their opinion is one of the best ways of building their loyalty towards your brand too. Establishing a two-way conversation with consumers will make them feel important and show that you listen to what they say. Whether it is a positive review, or negative, you should address the consumer’s opinion. Keep in mind that it’s not always about what they say, but how you respond to it. Negative reviews can actually benefit your online image if you respond to them in an appropriate way. Overall just by responding to reviews, you’re showing potential customers that you are an active company that is willing to have a conversation with a client and work together for a solution.
However, with so many reviews coming in on multiple platforms, you shouldn’t have to spend time typing out each response manually. While we don’t recommend having a single standardized template for responding to reviews, we recommend that you use flexible scripts in your responses. By using flexible scripts, you can customize responses to individual customer needs and opinions, while maintaining a consistent brand message and voice. We also recommend that you appoint an employee to consistently respond to reviews. We’ve all seen automatic responses from computers and they often feel far from personal. Therefore, having a person respond to reviews is essential to offer a sincere response. In every interaction, be sure that they respond quickly, empathize with the customer, and guide them toward a resolution.
2. Identify themes and customer ideas:
Do you think of your customers as a free source of intelligence about your products and services? Don’t underestimate your customers’ ideas as, after all, they’re the ones who have real experience with what you sell. We’ve discussed the many important roles that reviews can serve in your business, but they can also save you the hassle of market research by showing you areas in which you can improve your customer service experience.
Oftentimes, customers are our greatest assets to determine the weaknesses and threats in our business model. As business owners, you see the inner workings of your business and oftentimes miss higher-level details that customers see. Customer reviews can help you see underlying problems that need to be addressed. They can also help you determine the root cause of problems in your business model. For example, if you are a pest control company and you had a client leave a review of your pest control service that they appreciated how thorough your technician was in explaining everything that was done for the client, maybe you can work this into your standard operating procedures for all your technicians.
We encourage you to do an audit of your positive and negative reviews and find common themes. Use the unique insight from negative reviews to make lemonade out of lemons; enhance service experience with technicians, fix any issues internally with technology, and make products more customer-friendly. On the other hand, use themes from positive reviews to make your product or service offering that much better. The best way to grow your business is to continue to listen to your customers and implement changes to combat underlying issues.
3. Implement a CRM system to capture all reviews:
Having multiple areas for customers to leave reviews is convenient for the customer, but not always for you. The reality is that review management is often time-consuming. The more business locations you own, the more reviews and customer inquiries you should expect. But that requires frequently switching between different accounts to manually check for new reviews. With 53% of customers expecting a business to reply to their online review within seven days, there is a clear need to streamline your process to please customers.
If you have multiple business listings for each branch on Google My Business, Yelp sites, or other platforms, consider streamlining the process with a tool that manages all review channels. Our suite of online tools drives offline revenue for enterprise and franchise businesses everywhere. Whether it’s interacting with leads and customers, collecting reviews and actionable feedback, or collaborating in context with your team, Podium powers every step of the customer journey. For example, if you own a lawn care company that has offices in multiple cities, by using our suite you’ll be able to keep everything in one place.
Reviews are a vital tool to set your pest control or lawn care business apart from the competition because it lets customers essentially market for you. The fact that more and more consumers are turning to reviews when making buying decisions proves that you should turn more attention to your business’ review management. As experts in generating reviews, we want to help with this; check out our Guide to Online Reviews eBook and contact us with questions.