I’m often asked what’s the best way to collect online reviews for a home services business. That’s enterprises like plumbers, pest control, electricals or carpet cleaning.
Let’s have a look at the options and some of the pros and cons of each:
- The first option is to do nothing and leave it to customers to post online reviews.
- The second option is to email the customer with a review request.
- The third option is some sort of systematised way.
Do Nothing To Ask For Reviews
Let’s first look at do nothing. That’s an easy and low-cost solution. Customers who love your business will go online and leave a review.
But your total review volume won’t be very high. And there are a few issues:
- Customers who have had service issues with your business are much more motivated to go online and leave a feedback. This means you will cop negative reviews on top of the odd good one.
- You don’t have any control over where customers leave reviews. You can end up with them all over the place. Some on Facebook, some on True Local, some on Google. And some will go to a raft of other places leave reviews where you won’t even know about them!
- You don’t them get much feedback from your customers. Thus you’ve got no idea if your services matching their expectations. Which means you have no idea what they’re saying about your business in their word-of-mouth discussions with friends and family.
- On top of that, you’re not meeting the expectations of people looking for a business like yours. 9 out of 10 people who are looking for a new supplier go online and check the reviews. if you don’t have many reviews or they are months old, then most likely they are going to choose another business.
That will mean you miss out on lead flow and new customers.
Manual Review Requests
The next approach is to ask for a review by email. You can do this after you’ve sent out an invoice or when you finish the service delivery.
That email can go to the customer and have a link in it. Or you could direct the customer to a Review Us page on your website so they can leave a review.
Problem with this processes that have requires a lot of manual intervention.
- You have to remember to send the email.
- You have to check and see whether the customer actually left a review
- If they have not left an online review (80% of them), you have to remind them by sending another email. And then you might decide to check up and remind them again. It’s a cumbersome process.
This approach will generate more reviews than doing nothing. If you ask customers to leave a review some of them all go through with it.
Customer Hurdles To Leaving Reviews
Yet, it’s hard for customers to do. There are lots of hurdles in place. They have to actually type stuff into search engines, they have to go to pages and click on certain links or log in. The process can be difficult and it has many steps in it. So a lot of customers don’t bother in the end because of the hurdles.
Then you have to take the time to follow up. This approach has many manual processes which are prone to failure. It can also feel ‘needy’ to the customer.
Not only is it prone to failure but there are dollar costs with the time taken. To follow up 15 customers a month can you 2 or 3 hours (about 10-15 mins each).
The tracking is hard for you to manage. You don’t know whether your staff have sent out a review request on the back of every service delivery. And you don’t know how many have succeeded or how much follow-up work is being done.
Furthermore, you have no ability to review screen. With some approaches, you will be able to ask the customer to leave review internally. Then you can encourage happy customers to go online and leave a review. And you can encourage unhappy customers to contact you to get the problem resolved.
Also, there are a lot of customers who will provide your business with feedback in a private way. Yet they will not go on and leave a review online. So you miss out on the opportunity to collect that feedback and use it in your marketing.
Use Review Management Systems
The third approach is to take a systematized way of collecting reviews.
This is pretty simple. You load the customer details into the system and the system takes care of the rest of it. That is requesting a review, monitoring who has left the review and reminding them to do it if they haven’t. It also produces the reporting so you can know what’s going on.
The systematized approach is easy for everyone.
It’s easy for the staff, so it gets done. All they need to do is load the customer detail into a form.
It’s easy for the customer because in three clicks they can leave feedback. Thus they are likely to complete it than the manual method which is full of hurdles.
The review follow-ups are automatic. Staff don’t have to remember to do it if they have time. The automation increases your total online review conversion.
You also collect more usable feedback. That’s because many customers will leave internal feedback, but will not go online. This helps you manage your service delivery and enables you to use that in other marketing.
You have control over where the reviews go. This is because you provide the links where they leave the reviews.
A systematised approach costs less than the cost of the staff time. And it produces more reviews.
Last you have a lot of management information about your review scores and your success.
Successful Businesses Run Systems
Savvy business owners rely on systems to get things done in their business.