Home services customers are searching for you online. But are you showing up where they’re looking? For nearly every home services search—appliance repair, carpet cleaning, HVAC, electrical services, and more—customers don’t have a specific company in mind when they start their online search. Capturing these leads can be as simple as showing up in the top three to five search results (where 75% of all clicks go as customers search for solutions online). And for home services businesses that rely on ad spend to improve lead generation—the cost per lead for home services is often over $100. Organic options to improve your search ranking can pay out dividends if you follow the right formula.
Follow these best practices to increase your home services visibility online and improve your search ranking:
Claim, update, and maintain your Google My Business listing (for every location)
While there are several reviews sites for home services brands to be aware of, Google is likely the most popular and the most effective for an online search. If you haven’t already, claim your Google My Business listing for every location in your home services brand portfolio. Location-specific search is on the rise—in the last two years, Google has seen a 500% increase in “_____ near me” searches. For home services specifically, the data backs up this claim that local search is critical—searches for HVAC repairs have increased by 20%, landscaping searches have increased 65%, searches for plumbers are up 288%, and roofing searches have increased by 107%.
To get started, claim your listings on Google My Business. If you are already listed on Google, claim your account and make sure your critical information is up-to-date (business hours, website URL, phone number, address, etc.). Add photos to each location listing showcasing each storefront. If you don’t already have a Google My Business listing, create a listing through Google Maps or Google My Business.
Make a plan to respond to Google Reviews
After you’ve verified and updated your listing, create a process to check in on reviews and questions that customers and leads add and post online. For customers, the way a company responds to reviews is just as critical as the reviews themselves. In fact, 97% of people reading reviews say they also take into account the businesses’ responses to those reviews. With negative reviews, consider responding publicly with an apology and an offer to follow up privately. Where possible, once the customer’s issue has been resolved, ask for an updated review.
Increase your total review count
Customers can (and often do!) leave reviews for your home services business. But more often than not, happy customers forget or don’t leave a review unless asked. This typically leads to disgruntled customers leaving negative reviews about your brand and the customer experience online—overshadowing what most customers experience with your business. Don’t leave your chances for more reviews in the hands of unhappy customers—it’s time to implement a review request process that will actually work.
To start, recognize that 72% of customers will leave a review when asked. The more customers you ask, the more reviews you’ll likely have for each of your locations (and for each of the review sites you prioritize).
Next, ask for the review in the channel that’s most likely to get a response—texting. 90% of customers prefer to communicate with a business via text. And it’s no surprise! Americans spend over four hours every day on their mobile device. Texting boasts an open rate of 99% while traditional methods, like email, often only garner a 20% open rate on average. Communicate with your customers via text throughout their customer journey and then ask for a review post-purchase—you’ll increase your chances for positive Google reviews and offer a more transparent view online of what most of your customers experience with your brand.
Improve your overall average star rating
To improve your overall average star rating, you must first look at your customer experience. What does a typical customer journey look like for your business? How do customers find you, interact with you, purchase from you, and receive follow-up information from you?
Consider these best practices for each of the main stages of the customer journey:
Show up online in the places your customers are looking for you. Without an online presence, your customers are left to find the most convenient option for their home services issue.
Make it easy to connect with your business when a customer finds you online. Add a textable number to your Google My Business listing for mobile searchers that can tap and connect with the touch of a finger.
Offer multiple communication options, like web chat, to connect with customers as they land on your home services website. Bonus points if your web chat conversation can convert to a text conversation on the go.
Create a seamless payment experience with touchless payment options and direct links to pay an invoice via text. Sending invoices via mail or email often adds time and inconvenience for both you and your customers.
Asking for feedback—through an NPS survey or even just a review request—shouldn’t be inconvenient. Ask in the same channel that you know your customer wants to communicate with anyway—text messaging. You’ll improve your chances of a response, add convenience to the customer journey, and stay connected for future business.
Showing up online is critical for your home services business to generate more leads and increase revenue. 40% of home services consumers who contact a business after a search make a purchase. It’s worth showing up where they’re looking! By increasing your review count (consumers read an average of 10 online reviews before they trust a local business), improving your customer journey to improve your average star rating, and claiming each local listing for your business, you can increase your home services visibility online and improve your search ranking.
To find out more about local search, download and read our ebook: Local Search 101.