When you own a painting company or other contracting business, you know that your online reputation is a huge part of your storefront. And you know that if your storefront is looking shoddy, you can’t expect people to want to enter and find out more about your business. But if your reputation is glowing and positive, people are going to take that first tentative step to learn more about you.
In fact, 86% of consumers read reviews for local businesses. Not only that, but they read an average of 10 online reviews before they feel they can trust a local business. And you risk losing 22% of customers when just one negative article is found about your business.
It’s clear that online reviews are a powerful form of word of mouth these days. They have the power to both boost your sales or destroy your profits.
So how do you earn positive reviews, and tap into that powerful force for the good of you business?
1. Do a Great Job
It’s a simple concept. When you do a great job, you’ll make your customers happy. But don’t just expect that everyone in your company knows what “doing a great job” means. This needs to be clearly defined for your company’s products, services, and culture. For example, what is your process for greeting people who come into your store, call on the phone, or email? What types of interactions will set your customers’ minds at ease? What expectations do you have for how your services are presented and delivered? Set a culture of delivering exceptional customer service, and clearly lay out to your employees what that means.
2. Create Profiles for the Sites Where You Want Reviews
Make it easy for people to find information about your company by setting up and fully completing your profiles on the sites where you’d like to earn reviews: Yelp, Google, Home Advisor, Houzz, Angie’s List, Thumbtack, etc.
Not sure which one to start with? Pretend you’re a potential customer and do some searches for your business. Which review sites are showing up consistently? Put your first efforts there.
3. Be Proactive
One thing customers hate more than anything is finding mistakes after the’ve hired a painting company. It’s a hassle to call the company back, and they already feel untrusting — they don’t know if the company is going to fix the problem, or leave them to handle it on their own.
Get ahead of this problem by always completing a final walk-through of the project. Don’t wait for mistakes to be pointed out by your customers. Find and resolve potential issues before the customer ever sees them.
And if you miss something and the customer has to call you back, be quick, courteous, and thorough in your repair.
4. Ask for a Review
If you’ve done 1 through 3, you probably have a very happy customer. Once the project is complete, ask the customer to leave an online review, and tell them where they can do so. Make it even easier by setting up a “Reviews” page on your website that lists the platforms where you’d love reviews. You can also send a follow-up email with links to where customers can leave reviews. And include links to the platforms in your invoices and email signatures as well. The easier it is for your customers to leave a review, the more likely they are to do it.
Just beware: Don’t offer compensation. Most happy customers are excited to share their experience. Plus, offering compensation is against most platforms’ terms of service.
If you’ve received some negative reviews in the past, make any necessary changes to your business and hustle hard for positive reviews that will offset the negative. 40% of consumers only look at reviews written in the past two weeks, and few go to the second page. If you’ve improved since your negative reviews, it’s possible to put the negativity behind you.
As you take care of your customers and ask for positive reviews, you’ll see that people will want to do business with you.
About the Author
Josh Abramson is the chief solutionist at ALLBRiGHT 1-800-PAINTING, a residential and commercial painting company serving the Greater Los Angeles Areas.