Digital Marketing for a Home Service Business
Reputation management is a great way to interact and engage your customers. It is a way to demonstrate to your potential customers your excellent customer service. Below is a series of articles about how to perform reputation management.
Home Services Business Reputation Management
Reputation management for your small business is about reviews. Before the Internet, people would ask their friends and family for recommendations when looking for a new product or service. The word-of-mouth referral was great because you knew the person giving the recommendation and you trusted them or at least may know their biases or could ask follow-up questions. With the Internet, reviews could know be requested and displayed directly along with the product or service. Additionally, dedicated websites that just had reviews were created. Unlike a personal recommended, reviews on the Internet could be manipulated but people still find a lot of value in them. Reviews can have a major impact on your small business.
The first step is to find places on Internet that might already have profiles for our business where people are leaving reviews. Here is a list of the most popular websites that have reviews for small businesses:
- Angie’s List
- Home Advisor
Some of these websites like Yelp and Angie’s List are dedicated to displaying reviews. Facebook and Google also display reviews related to their services that display business information.
Create or claim profiles
The next step is to create or claim your business profile on the websites that display reviews. You may find that your business is already listed and has information. This may have happened if Google was adding your business on Google Maps or if someone wanted to leave a review for our business on Yelp. Each website will have a method for you to claim your business profile which might involve calling your listed business phone number to confirm your request.
If you don’t find your business already listed, you can create a business profile. Again, each website may have different methods but follow their instructions to create your profile.
Update contact info
Once you have access to your business profile, the next step is to standardize your contact info. This is important if your profile was already created and some of the information is incorrect like hours of operations. You can also provide additional information like a logo and business description. All this information is important if people are looking at your reviews and think they might want to contact your business.
Respond to good and poor reviews
With everything setup on your business profile, it is time to review the reviews. Again, if you profile was already created, there may be reviews already present. Read each review but keep in mind a few things about Internet reviews.
- Real names
- The reviews may or may not show the full name of the reviewer.
- Number of stars
- The idea of a rating system isn’t new but remember there is no universal understanding of what is the different between the different number of starts. Without words to explain what a 4 star or a 5 star rating, there is no way to truly compare the different reviews.
- Negative reviews
- You will get negative reviews and they could be brutal. The impersonal nature of the Internet makes people forget that there are real people on the other side. Negative reviews can represent someone true feelings about poor service but sometimes people write things in an online review that they wouldn’t say to the same company in a phone call or in-person. Don’t take them personally but as constructive criticism on your business operations.
- Positive reviews
- Positive reviews are the goal especially if they are heart-felt and sincere for a job well done.
- Fake reviews
- Fake reviews are a thing. Sometimes a company will try to post fake reviews to improve their ratings. Sometimes a competitor may post negative reviews to hurt you. The different review website have options to report suspect reviews.
You should report fake reviews if they violate the terms of service for the review website. These terms vary but could include reviews not related to the server performed or things that stand out as fake. Negative reviews should not be reports unless they again violate the terms of service.
Negative reviews should be responded to through the review website system. You may be able to figure out the customer’s name and reach out to them directly but the negative review will still be seen on the review website. A good practice is to response to the negative review with an offer to try to resolve the issue. There many have been a misunderstand. If the issue is resolved to the customer’s satisfaction, it can’t hurt to ask if they will update their review. If not, take the initiative to post your own update reply.
Positive reviews should also be responded it. It shows you are taking an active part in communicating with your customers. But, not post they same thank you reply to all good reviews. Try to add something to the conservation in your reply or alternate your responds.
You can also add your own review system to your website. Though people might try it is completely fake, it does give another option to display reviews of your services or products. But, since you control the entire system, don’t take this an opportunity to remove all negative reviews.
The best reviews are the ones are honest, genuine and unsolicited. However, it takes time post a review. The most motivated people are usually the ones who want to complain and take to review websites to vent their dissatisfaction. To balance this out, you can make it easy to post a review by providing links on your website or sending an email follow-up to all your customers to ask for a review. However, be careful about offering a reward. Some review websites consider this against their terms of services.
Summary about Reputation Management
Reputation management is about reviews. The first step is to find the website that may be where people will leave reviews for your business. You should claim or create profiles on all the websites your clients use. Once you have updated your contact info, it is good practice to monitor your reviews on a regular basis and respond to both positive and negative reviews and engage your customers. You should also solicit reviews by making it easy for your customers to find your business profiles.
HOME SERVICES BUSINESS REPUTATION MANAGEMENT VIDEO
Digital Marketing Extreme is your source for digital marketing tips and techniques for your home service business.
Why do you need reputation management for your home service business? This video will go over what is reputation management, general process, review websites, responding, review solicitation, and own reviews.
If you would like the video slides as a PDF, click to download “Home Service Business Reputation Management“.
This video will discuss small business reputation management. Our agenda is to actually first discuss what is reputation management, then go over the general process, discuss some specific websites that show reviews. Next talk about actually how to respond to reviews. Then we’ll discuss the process by which you can still associate reviews. And finally, we’ll talk about an idea of actually having a system to get your own reviews.
What is Reputation Management
So what is reputation management? Reputation management is basically the reviews that you might receive for your business. good reviews can help build trust, they show that people like your company and took enough time to actually write a review. bad reviews on the other hand may show problems that may exist with your customer service, your products, your services, many parts of reputation management revolves around The number of reviews that could actually show how much volume you’re participating in, whether how many products you sell or how much services you perform. different websites that show reviews can also show additional company information. And because reviews show competitors within your industry, it is important to look at this is actually a way to shine out above your competition.
So breaking it down into some of the smaller parts. The first thing about reviews is just simply the number of views. company that may have one or two reviews obviously doesn’t look as good as a company that has 100 reviews. Additionally, the reviewers in addition to giving a star ranking may actually provide some feedback in the form of reply. Most review sites have standardized on a star ranking system between one and five though sometimes you can get smaller points. This is a kind of universal grading system and There’s something kind of just a star psychology around how we do rankings that just impacts our views because we are been asked for many parts of our lives to give a ranking to a system.
Now, the thing about reputation management is that the reviews actually provide a trust factor. Traditionally, we’d ask a friend or a co worker, what do you think of that company? reviews are now the way with the internet that allows us to get some trust because again, if other people like it, it’s probably pretty good. Reviews also, again, allow business actually interact with their customers, you can actually see if it’s a good review or a bad review, and many most, if not all, sites allow some option for responding to the reviews. People also sometimes treat reviews as customer service. And so they’ll actually put questions or complaints in there, instead of directly contacting a company they’ll actually put it on a review site and last The reviews have the ability to put information about your company along with the reviews. So in addition to looking for reviews, people may find information you can add pictures, graphics, descriptions, history, things like that.
There are a couple unfortunate negatives. One is the idea of a bad review. Because of the impersonal nature of the internet, people feel more empowered to actually leave bad reviews that they again won’t take the time to actually call the company or just, you know, tell somebody about it. They’ll just put a bad review on the internet. But we do need to be aware that those bad reviews can represent true feelings people have about your company again, the internet allows for ease of use. Were making a call to try to correct the issue might not do it. But like many things, everything needs to be taken with a grain of salt. Unfortunately, there is another aspect which is the ability that reviews can be fake one. companies could use them themselves. To post to actually try to inflate their score, or competitors could actually post negative reviews in Georgia track, kind of, excuse me, in order to try to reduce your ranking.
Now let’s talk about the general process rated to reputation management and reviews. First, you’re going to have to actually set up or claim a profile, what’s a profile? Well, many of the review websites have your business listed, and will have a profile. Sometimes you’ll actually already had the profile created. So the first thing to do is actually go to a review website and search for your business name and see if it’s already there. If there is there, there should be a button or a link to claim it. And then that will actually ask you to follow some steps either proving that you are you by a phone call or a postcard or something like that, or sometimes as simple as sending an email from a email that has the same domain name as the business itself. If you don’t see your business You can actually create a new profile. And again, they’ll be easy ways to just click New, you’ll start typing in some business information. And since it’s new, you’re the one creating it. So it’s pretty straightforward to set one up.
Once you have the review, assuming the profile of their claimed or built, there’ll be information that you can then update, you can update or standardize any information if it was claimed. Things like the business name, the address, the phone number, your logo, your business hours.
Let’s go ahead and talk about speed. few specific websites that allow reviews.
Probably the one that a lot of people think of right off the bat is Yelp. Why because it’s one of the most popular websites for many industries that then has reviews. Unfortunately, Yelp has got a bad reputation for potentially mixing reviews and their parents with purchasing advertising. Again, that Hard to determine whether that is factual or not. However, due to its very large reach it is something you as a business owner will need to interact with whether you agree or disagree with its business practices.
Another one is actually Google reviews as part of a business profile using the Google My Business system. It Google actually allow then people to put reviews on there. The reason this is very important is because it’s part of what is shown during a Google search or a Google Map results. So those reviews will be visible as people are searching there. So again, they may never see your website may never go outside of Google, but already they’re seeing reviews. There are indications that Google uses the review score as part of its ranking factors. So in this case, example here a plumber’s you’ll see that different things do have an impact, but again, the ones that do have reviews listed here, are in the higher range.
Facebook also has the capability of handling reviews. So when you create a Facebook page, you can actually people can then actually review your site there. So as people are looking this is what’s actually shown to them. And integrate integrated within the Facebook platform is the way to ask for recommendations. And then people can actually recommend your business to their friends through their Facebook. So again, kind of staying within the concept that Facebook likes to keep everything within their network, their reviews have the ability to actually be sent to other people.
Home Services Websites
If you’re in the home services industry, there are a number of other websites that actually focus more on that industry. One is Angie’s List. Others are homeadvisor, thumbtack and next door again, they just focus on those specific industries IE Angie’s List doesn’t have restaurants though something like Yelp would.
Let’s next talk about responding to review. reviews,
bad reviews. Of course, we all don’t like to get bad reviews with her as an employee or as a business owner. But it is important to think about responding bad reviews for several reasons. One is it shows you’re engaging with your customers. People want to have their issues addressed and if they go to here, see or go to your business on a review site post a bad review and get no response. This only reinforces why they had a bad experience. When also good thing you can do because you can respond back these is actually a try to fix the issue. You can explain to people what happened and say, Hey, call us or again, maybe you can make connection to try to reach out to them directly through another source. And if you can’t resolve the issue, at least you can explain to other people who might see that bad review why the situation was not resolved. The last point on bad reviews is don’t take it personally, even though it is your business and it looks like something complaining about you, it just may not have been something there, the worst thing you can do is unfortunately is react poorly to that because that review response may actually stay out there and again may impact other people who are reading them in the future.
On the other hand, good reviews are very important because they actually show that people are really liking your business, if you respond to them. And again, it shows that you’re engaging with your customers, and people just like interaction, even though again, there’s the impersonal nature of the internet. People like to hear it. But again, you can get to the point of too much of a good thing. If you respond to I very good review with kind of a canned answer. It really doesn’t show you that you’re engaging that much. So again, don’t have to respond to all of them. But if you come up with genuine unique responses, that again, looks good and part of zero Rotation management strategy.
Fake reviews on the next thing if you do honestly see a fake review, most review systems websites do have ability to report it and mention that as fake. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that they will market as fake but again, you should report it. Many times there are certain things within the terms of services for the websites that the review is off topic or doesn’t relate to the services performed, and the sites will take down those reviews.
The next topic is actually still sitting reviews.
First thing to be aware of is each review website may actually have different guidelines on what you’re allowed to do to solicit reviews. So it’s very important to check what the current understanding for that review site is about soliciting reviews.
Assuming that you are able to do a review solicitation, the first thing is just simply ask your customers to leave Review. Sometimes it’s as simple as just asking to take, if they’ll take the time to do that. To make it easier for them, it’d be good to possibly send out an email with a link to that service, so that they can just click the link and type in the review at that time.
Next thing is think about actually having a mechanism for gathering your own reviews. There may be a way within your website to actually set up a review mechanism where people can put reviews on your own website. The benefit here is that you have the ability to directly outreach, but you do need to be fair you need to show both good and bad reviews but depending on your business, your service or product is something to think about because you do have the ability to use those in different ways for testimonials and things like that.
Conclusions about Reputation Management
So if you concluding remarks to this presentation about reputation management. There are a number of benefits for reputation management. The first is your company appearance. Reviews are part of how the internet works. Now we as customers also use them to help us make decisions on whether or not we should buy a product or service. So reviews do show things about your company. They also are a trust factor. People look at reviews, there’s probably a psychology psychological thing that they know that some of them are not always accurate, but we still look at them. We like to make our own decisions by reading the different reviews both pro and con, as helping us in our buying decision. And finally, the benefit of reputation management is you connect it’s another form of interconnect interacting with their client. The benefit here is that other people could see that interaction and help with them making their purchasing decision.