You’ve probably heard this sales advice before: ask for the sale. You won’t get it if you don’t ask for it.
Well, the same advice applies to the world of online reviews. You’ve got to ask your happy customers to post their positive reviews online, at places like Yelp, Angie’s List, Facebook, and Google+.
Like any other aspect of your business, if you want online reviews to go well, then you’ve got to have a system for it. That is, make asking for a positive online review part of your “job closeout” process.
Here are steps that you can put into place at your company today to help you build a positive reputation on online review sites:
1. Set aside some time each week to review completed projects. Ask your crew if they think the customer is happy and if the job went well.
Before you reach out to the customer, talk to the foreman on the job first. You don’t want to get blindsided by a dissatisfied customer if you can avoid it.
2. Call the customer to inquire about their satisfaction with the job your company performed.
This is just good customer service anyway. You should want to hear from your customers about how they think about your service.
Hopefully the customer is pleased and tells you so. However, if they have concerns or complaints, listen to them. See if there is anything that you can do to make things right. Independent of online reviews, it’s just good to have customers that aren’t pissed off.
If the customer is unhappy, and if you’re unable to turn that feeling around, hopefully at least by listening and responding professionally, you can keep the customer from going online and complaining publicly about your company.
If the customer is happy, that’s great. That’s what we are all aiming for.
3. Ask happy customers to post a positive review.
Know what you’re going to say before you say it. Try something like this:
“I’m so glad that you’re happy with our work. Serving our customers is the whole point of being in business. Can I ask you a favor? Can you go online later today and post a note about how the job went well? And how you were satisfied with my work?”
Obviously use your own words there and don’t make it sound too “salesy” or needy. Ideally you will receive a “yes” answer.
“That’s great. If you could do it later today, that’d be excellent. I’ve found that many people promise to post a nice review, but then they get busy or forget.”
If the person turns you down and says no to posting an online review, that’s okay, too. As with sales, you don’t always close 100%.
You can still say “thank you” to people who say no. You may as well keep it classy. Say: “Okay, no problem. Thank you again for your kind words. It really has been a pleasure working on your home.”
Shrugging the “no” off — and staying positive — is only going to help you. The person may wind up giving you a positive review or may just give you traditional word-of-mouth recommendations to friends and family.
If the customer says “no” because they’re unfamiliar with leaving online reviews, you can tell them it’s really easy to do it on Google and on Facebook. All they have to do is just search for your company name on those websites.
Another idea: You could offer to give the customer a $25 Starbucks card for taking the time to post the online review. It’s a way of showing your gratitude for their time and effort. And $25 for a positive review is worth the money.
You earn people’s favorable opinions because you do excellent work. You deserve to have that approval seen online.
The whole point is to make this a system. Do it with every job — and grow your company’s reputation over time.