Customer reviews are pure gold for local cleaning or restoration businesses. For local businesses earning customer reviews is a powerful endorsement of sorts for building brand credibility. Reviews come from customers who have already engaged or interacted with your business – and if they are happy then chances are they will be happy to share this experience with others. In fact, customer reviews or online reviews enjoy the same level of trust as do personal recommendations.
The Power of Positive Customer Reviews
As a local business you probably have set aside a portion of your marketing spend for brand building or marketing activities. And whatever strategy you adopt, if it is planned and executed well, it will definitely get you some eyeballs and give your business the traction it needs to get established. But after the initial euphoria dies down, and make no mistake it will at some point, you will need something in addition to what you are doing to ensure your business stays competitive. Now if that something additional comes in the form of positive customer reviews, then you’ve literally struck gold.
I say gold because customer reviews are prized for being brand endorsements and brand credibility builders in front of other potential customers. But there is another equally important aspect of customer reviews – search engines such as Google place great premium on customer reviews. In fact, businesses with good ratings stand a higher chance of being placed more prominently in relevant search results compared to competitor brands with poor ratings.
So if there’s one thing you cannot do, it is to underestimate the power of positive customer reviews for your cleaning or restoration business.
Customer Reviews can Influence Buying Decisions
Potential customers today want to check up on a brand’s reputation and credibility every single place that they can find. And customer review platforms and sites are among the top destinations for doing this. Customer reviews convey to potential users that a particular brand is trustworthy. It is for this reason that reviews or recommendations from other users can play a critical role in influencing buying or purchasing decisions.
So if you are looking to revamp your brand or if you want to gain new customers and want to push your search visibility, then you need to take customer reviews very seriously.
So Is Word of Mouth Advertising Dead?
Well, yes and no. Ok so here’s what has changed. In the olden days, word of mouth advertising was something that brands relied on heavily to push their business and win new customers. However, with digitization, word of mouth advertising simply changed form into customer reviews.
In other words, instead of being shared in person, brand experiences are now shared over digital platforms in the form of customer reviews. And just as word of mouth advertising was a great way of spreading positive marketing about a brand, customer reviews perform the same duty and are just as effectively within the digital realm.
9 Proven Strategies Local Businesses can use for Winning Customer Reviews
So now that you know why customer reviews matter to your local cleaning business, it is time to get started with planning and implementing strategies that can win you more positive customer reviews.
Here are nine proven strategies that can build brand credibility and attract customers to your business.
- Ask Customers for a Review
One of the best ways of getting customer reviews is to simply ask them for it. A number of businesses shy away from actively asking for reviews – however, what you need to know is that most customers are more than happy to share positive experiences with others. If they can offer their feedback, especially if you offer great customer experience, most customers would actually love giving their feedback.
So go ahead and confidently approach your customers and ask them for a review. You can do is either in person or you can encourage them to talk about their experience over your website (provide a link). You can also use social platforms or email to ask for feedback on their brand experience vis-à-vis your services or products.
- Provide Great Brand Experiences
Delighting your customers should be something that you do regardless of whether you want positive reviews of not. However, if you want opportunities for asking customer reviews, then it goes without saying that you need to focus on ensuring your brand experiences are positive and great.
Also remember, brand experiences are not limited to your business services and products.
The digital space offers a unique opportunity for brands to offer multiple touch-points of brand engagement for customers. Your website, social platforms, blog, a video channel if you run one, email – all of these places allow you to engage with customers and offer them engaging experiences.
So use these digital assets to engage in a meaningful manner with your customers and impress them!
- Collect Email Addresses During Billing
The billing stage is a great place for engaging with customers and asking them for reviews. You can either provide review forms at the billing desk or you can go ahead and ask them for an email address or phone number that you can use to ask them questions on their brand experiences.
You can also include a review request at the bottom of your bill receipts and be sure to point it out the customer encouraging them to leave their reviews. The review request could include links to review forms on your website or social sites, or could include links to top reviews sites.
If you have started operating at your physical location (if Covid restrictions have been lifted), then you can also use in-store signage (flyers, banners, brochures) to encourage customers to leave reviews.
In either case, if your customer is happy with their experience, then they will be more willing to share their feedback.
The same can be replicated with your online billing page – a pop-up asking for a review at the time of payment, could very well trigger a review for your business.
- Tell your Customers that you Appreciate their Honest Feedback
Your customers are taking out precious time to leave a review. And part of providing a stellar brand experience is telling them that you would really appreciate if if they can take a few minutes to fill out your review form.
You can use digital tools to send a gentle reminder about how much you would appreciate an honest feedback. But if it is in person (as in at your physical office location), then ensure that your employees do the same – this is especially true if you know the customer is happy or satisfied with your service.
This might not be applicable with every single customer, but you can pick on cues as to how a customer feels about your service at different points of brand engagement. With some customers, building a rapport comes easy – make sure you leverage the opportunity to ask for a review or feedback in a manner that come across as heartfelt and not pushy.
- Simplify the Review Writing Process
A customer might be happy with your brand and even willing to provide feedback. But then they actually sit down to leave a review and discover it’s tedious or confusing. Worst case scenario – the links you provided don’t work or your process for asking or reviews is complicated. All that effort into making your customer happy could very well be soured over this small experience.
Surprisingly, many cleaning and restoration businesses don’t really give this area of their brand engagement experience much thought. So do yourself a big favor and relook your entire review leaving process. The easier and more simplified the process, chances are you will land more reviews.
Consider the following;
- Make it straightforward for customers to leave their review or feedback.
- Use call-to-action buttons and pop-ups on your website that offer easy pathways to review sites such as Yelp or Google My Business review page.
- You might want to consider using a direct link generator tool – the tool generates a Google review link unique to your business. You can then share this link via email with your customers.
- Leverage Social Media
In addition to your website and review sites, your social sites (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter among others) are great places for asking customers about their experiences. If your customers are active on social sites, then you can again send them gentle reminders to share their feedback on a site of their choice.
The best part about using social sites is that it allows you to get creative about how you ask for feedback. Remember social is a fun and casual space and customers often feel more empowered about their choices and opinions here. So think about how you can leverage this space to make it fun for customers to share their brand experiences.
- Respond to All Reviews
Customer reviews can be good, bad, and sometimes downright ugly. And while it is unpleasant to deal with, the one thing you absolutely should not do is to ignore a bad or ugly review.
A lot of businesses make the mistake of only responding to positive reviews while simply choosing to ignore the bad reviews. Big mistake!
This is actually a great opportunity to build brand credibility – it can be extremely rewarding if you can take a bad review/experience and change it to a more favorable view.
There are several reasons why customers might leave bad reviews. Take the time to find out their reason and see what you can do to change it for the customer. If it is something that is in your hands such as an unintentional mistake or oversight on your part, then chances are it can be addressed.
- Take a personalized approach by engaging with the customer – ask them if it is possible to address their issue in some way.
- Move the interaction to a more exclusive space – you can connect with them via phone, email or any other preferred mode of communication.
- Be courteous, apologize if necessary, or offer a refund (if applicable) and do what you can to correct your mistake – sometimes it really is as simple as this!
- If you can resolve this issue to the customer’s satisfaction, then ask them if they would consider changing their review or leave a new review.
- If however, the customer expectation is out of the realm of resolution or if it is going nowhere, then simply offer an apology and close the interaction.
Responding to reviews shows that you care about what your customers think about your brand. So make sure you always respond!
- Focus on Getting More Good Reviews
Getting a review is not the end goal here – you want good reviews! And a lot of them. The purpose of getting good reviews is so they can influence potential customers and make them more willing to engage with your cleaning or restoration business.
While approaching all your customers for reviews is always a good plan, when it comes to reviews that can make a real difference, you want reviews from people who are not only satisfied with your service, but are actually happy and excited about engaging with your brand. In most cases, regular customers, can be your biggest brand evangelizers. They are the type of customers who will actively connect your brand with new customers and share really good reviews – the type that can influence new customers.
If you have such customers, then it helps to create some sort of rewarding/referral program to show your appreciation and to encourage them to continue their brand evangelizing work.
- Ask for Reviews at the Right Time
When it comes to reviews, you don’t want to deal with missed opportunities. Don’t wait till forever to ask for a review!
The best time to ask for a review is when the customer is still fresh from their engagement with your brand. You can send them an email immediately or simply ask for a review while they are making a payment or even walking out of the door. Again, if they are happy and satisfied with their experience, chances are they will be willing to share their feedback.
Reviews is an on-going process. So make it a habit to ask customers for reviews. You should consider setting up a rewards or referral program as a way of both appreciating and rewarding customers who make the extra effort to pass on the good word about their brand experiences.
Also keep in mind that search engines such as Google take reviews very seriously as they serve as social proof of brand credibility. At the end of the day you want to build brand trust and credibility not just among your customer base but also among search engines – and one of the best ways of doing this is by getting more and more reviews.