iMarket Solutions Blog : Archive for April, 2015

How Generating Reviews for HVAC / Plumbing Impacts Leads and ROI

Tuesday, April 21st, 2015

How Generating Reviews for HVAC / Plumbing Impacts Leads and ROI

The consumer decision process is notoriously complex. But with some guided marketing assistance and insights to how the consumer thinks, your HVAC or plumbing company can develop a trustworthy business that showcases positive customer experiences. By integrating social influence into your marketing strategy, reviews and testimonials can help increase your lead flow and conversion rates.

To take advantage of social influence, we must look into how a consumer researches and evaluates their purchasing decision. This consumer behavior buying process can be broken down into 5 steps.

  1. Need Recognition
  2. Information Search
  3. Alternative Evaluation
  4. Purchase Decision
  5. Post-Purchase Behavior

Need recognition can be one of the most urgent and timely steps. Being in the HVAC or plumbing industry, “Need Recognition” can quickly become an urgent situation. Both HVAC / plumbing industries have similar audiences since both products are usually out of sight and out of mind making our products a low priority until it becomes an “emergency”.

39% of consumers search online for local businesses at least once a month.

 

Once customers have recognized their need, the “Information Search” process triggers. With abundant ways to discover information, a customer must utilize internal and external avenues to conduct their research. Information can be easily transferred from something as simple as a personal referral or consulting an online review website.

Information Search is the most crucial step towards influencing a purchase. After addressing internal influences, most users will rely on external factors. External factors consist of online reviews, media, word-of-mouth, opinion leaders and personal referrals.

72% of consumers say that positive reviews make them trust a local business more

 

Since the HVAC and Plumbing industries are a specialty profession, customers usually will have little knowledge of our services, thus it’s difficult for them to gauge a perceived value. This is one reason why our industry must focus on building brand affinity and brand loyalty to help build trust through our other customers’ experiences (i.e. reviews / testimonials).

88% read reviews to determine the quality of a local business

 

In a recent study on the impact of online reviews on revenue, the Harvard Business Review found that as simple as a 1-star increase can lead up to a 9% increase in revenue in the restaurant industry. What’s more, the study also found a large difference in user preference of which business the consumer chose to work with based on a company’s online rating.

92% of users will use a local business if it has a 4 star rating.

Only 13% of users will use a local business if it has a 1 star rating.

 

There are numerous ways to build trust and exhibit your customer’s positive experiences. One of the main factors in developing your online reputation starts with having an HVAC / Plumbing Review Generation strategy in place. Just asking for a review is not enough to succeed. With 57% of consumers visiting a local business website after reading a positive review, your strategy must embody multiple media such as Yelp, Google +, Facebook, as well as the testimonials on your website.

 

Interesting online review statistics

  • Only 12% of consumers said they take no notice of online reviews (down from 17% in 2012)

  • Word of mouth (i.e. reviews) remains the primary route for recommending a local business (72%)

  • 57% have searched online for a local business more than 6 times / year

  • 85% of consumers say they read up to 10 reviews (2014)

Interested in increasing your online reviews? Give us a call at 1-800-727-3920 and let’s discuss how Recommend Me can impact your company’s lead flow.

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Responding to Online Reviews

Monday, April 20th, 2015

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In a recent Harris survey, the study found that only 68% of negative reviews receive a response. What’s more, out of that batch of negative reviews, 18% of reviewers reversed their opinion and became loyal brand advocates. Why? It’s all in your response. When your HVAC or plumbing company receives an online review, responding to this review is crucial to developing rapport. Yet in the end, it’s how you respond to that review that makes the difference.  Responding to reviews  is integral to managing your online reputation, absorbing feedback and praising or winning back customers.

On average, loyal customers are worth up to 10 times as much as their first purchase.
Source: White House Office of Consumer Affairs

Positive Reviews

When you receive that first rave review, it might be easy to just skip a response. However, at least take the time to thank the customer for the review. Acknowledging that they took time to share their experience with a simple thank you can go a long way. Customers have to feel empowered to write a review of your company, so don’t let that energy go to waste.

Responding to positive reviews can be broken down into 4 steps.

                                                          Acknolwedge + Listen + Praise + Follow-up                                                             

Here is an example response to a positive review: “Thank you for sharing your experience with our team. We’re glad we were able to get your system up and running again. We greatly appreciate your support and hope to continue working with you. If you need anything for the future, please let us know and we would be happy to help.”

The sample response above is short and simple.

  • Acknowledges the customer and thanks the customer for the reviews. 
  • Listens to their praise / concerns to address what work was completed.
  • Praises the customer for supporting the business.
  • Follows-up with the customer for any future questions or concerns.

Negative Reviews

Did you know that that only 4% of dissatisfied customers will voice their opinion? When you receive your first negative review, it might be daunting to think about how to respond. Negative reviews can be dealt with in a couple of steps. Start by stepping away from the review. When a negative review first comes in, it is easy to get defensive. Take a breather, and then take a look at what the review says.

Acknowledge the customer and their review. Whether or not you agree with the customer, it is a best practice to sometimes take the high road in situations like this. How you respond to a review is just another factor in how people evaluate your business. Public responses can reveal a lot about how you deal with both positive and negative situations.

There is always an opportunity to make things right. A good tip is to take the resolution offline. Ask the customer to call or reach out to you for further customer service. By discussing the issue offline you hopefully will not keep a public record of your conversation.

Responding to negative reviews can be broken down into 3 steps.

Acknowledge + Listen/Feedback + Follow-up

A good example of a negative review response is:

“We apologize for your negative experience with our team. We understand your frustration with the service provided. We take all of our reviews as feedback on how to improve our business. It is not our intention to provide such an experience.

We want to make things right for you. If you could give me a call at 123-456-7890, I would like to speak with you further regarding this matter. Thank you.”

The sample response above is short and simple.

  •   Acknowledges the customer for the review.
  •  Listens to their feedback and concerns to show empathy towards the situation.
  • Follows-up with the customer to remedy the situation.

If further information is needed, or if you want to speak with the customer, reach out privately and ask them to contact you directly. This demonstrates to the customer that you are genuinely concerned about the matter and want to make things right.

Not every situation can be resolved with a response or private message. Some customers might be stubborn about the situation and not respond; some reviews might even contain false information. By responding even to negative reviews, other reviewers see that you genuinely care about keeping your customers happy.” or something along those lines.

If you do see a false or fictitious review, you can review the Terms of Service of the website that the review was posted on. In most instances, there are ways you can flag and report reviews that you think could be fakes. This won’t allow you to have any and all negative reviews removed from the site. However, if the negative review in question violates the website’s terms of service, you may be able to have that specific review taken down.

Respond In a Timely Manner

After you take a step back from the situation, make sure you have a system in play for managing your reviews. You don’t want a review going unaddressed for months after being received.  Timeliness is important here, because it shows potential customers reading the reviews that customer service is important and their comments and concerns are addressed.

Conclusion

Whether you receive a 5-star or a 1-star review, treat both with similar practices. Nobody wants to go unnoticed. Make sure you acknowledge all reviews, and adjust your response depending upon the context of the review itself.

Customers share their experiences online because they want to be heard. Don’t let another review go without a response.

Questions or comments? Let us know how you manage your reviews, or ask any questions you may have about responding to online reviews.

 

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3 Steps You Can Take To Increase Reviews for Your Business

Thursday, April 9th, 2015

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Reviews are an important part of your business and bottom line. We’ve already established the impact that reviews have on your business in our previous blog post: HVAC / Plumbing: Importance of Online Reviews for HVAC / Plumbing Industries. If you want to start taking action to build your online review presence, you can start by implementing a review strategy. Three things you can do to get started to increase reviews are: setup and claim your profiles, ask for reviews, and integrate reviews into your existing marketing efforts.

Step 1 – Setup and claim your listings and profiles

Whether you have control over your listings or not, there will always be a way for customers to leave a review if they want to. So taking control of your listings is recommended to get started with your review management and generation efforts.

There are hundreds of directories and websites online where your customer can leave you reviews. We recommend setting up and claiming sites 2 to 3 popular directories known in your geographic region. Popular review sites and directories include Google+ and Yelp.

Once you’ve determined what listings would best increase your visibility, the next step is to make sure the listings are claimed and verified. This will ensure accurate and consistent business details on the listing of your choice and will allow you to setup email alerts and notifications.

Step 2 – Asking for reviews

Now that you’re setup with the listings and directories you want, the reviews will just come flowing in. Right? Wrong! Online review generation is not a set-it-and-forget-it strategy.

Asking customers to review your business is a much debated practice. Some say that it isn’t ethical to ask for reviews and even suggest that it could be perceived as a form of solicitation. Others suggest that asking does not hurt and you won’t know if you don’t try.

When you receive a compliment or a kudos from a customer in-person, over the phone, or by email, this is a perfect time to ask that happy customer to share their feedback on one of your online review sites.

Don’t offer an incentive or discount for people to “Leave a 5-star Review.” Incentives and discounts can be perceived as an unethical practice and violates the Terms of Service on many directories. If you are caught incentivizing users to harvest reviews, those 5 star reviews may be taken away in addition to other repercussions.

Step 3 – Integrate reviews into your existing marketing efforts and strategies

Integrate reviews into your existing marketing efforts and strategies to reinforce your review strategy. Adding more opportunities for your customers to find and see your reviews, will provide opportunities for clients to review your business at the listing or directory of their choice. Below are just a couple of examples where you can integrate reviews.

On your website: Placing a link or banner to the listings or directories you are active on can make it easier for customers to find where to read and write reviews for your business.

Email signatures: Do you send emails to your customers, either directly or through an email list? Place the links for your review sites with a simple note such as, “We appreciate your feedback,” or “Your feedback helps us to better serve you.” Inserting a call to action within the links will maximize your customer feedback rate and help to increase review generation.

When your business is ready to start implementing reviews as a part of your marketing strategy, the steps above are a good place to begin.

What has your experience been with reviews for your business? Please share in the comments below! We’d love to hear from you.

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