iMarket Solutions Blog : Posts Tagged ‘Reviews’

Get Started with Facebook Professional Services for HVAC / Plumbing

Monday, January 11th, 2016

Could you please review us on Facebook? Make sure that your employees know that phrase by heart. Facebook has softly launched a new adaptation for their users called Facebook Professional Services. This new section of Facebook is adapting best practices from other direct competitors such as Yelp, Angie’s List, Google+, and Home Advisor, to provide personalized recommendations from your Facebook friends.

The evidence is clear why both Plumbing and HVAC companies must engage with third-party review sites. Consumers rely on the experiences of others when deciding if your business is worth working with. Since 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, Facebook’s new Professional Services section is leveraging this insight by turning online reviews into personal recommendations in order to help customers make decisions.

Facebook Professional Services has already segmented a large amount of different categories in their local search platform ranging from “Photographers” to “Heating, Ventilating & Air Conditioning” and “Plumbing.” What’s more, the user’s location is automatically detected by IP address.

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Once a user conducts a search, Facebook pulls the most relevant information. In each search result, there will be snippet with the following information:

  • Business Name
  • Logo
  • Rating (star & quantity)
  • “Short Description” associated with page
  • Phone
  • Hours of Operation
  • Address
  • Detailed Review

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Should Your Plumbing or HVAC Business Be on This New Platform?

Yes, absolutely! But the challenge comes down to two points:

  • What businesses are eligible for Facebook Professional Services?
  • How does Facebook’s algorithm determine the ranking order of results?

It’s not clear how many customers use this review engine. Facebook has been incrementally innovating their platform to provide the best user experience, so it will be interesting to see how they use this information. At the moment, it’s hard to say how this platform compares to its competitors, such as Google and Yelp.

How Do I List My Business on Facebook Professional Services

Since this is a soft launch and there is no official information, you’ll have to experiment with it yourself. But the guide below is based upon common optimization traits that I have noticed among our clients currently listed on Facebook Professional Services. 

  1. Since this is a search engine designed around local businesses, claim your page as a “Local Business or Place.”
  2. Make sure that the category listed in “Page Info” matches the directory. For example: Search Category = Home Improvement > Plumber should match Page Category = Local Businesses > Home Improvement + Subcategories = Plumber.
  3. Complete your profile. Use keywords (e.g. plumbing, plumber, plumbers, etc.) to help Facebook determine what kind of business you are.
  4. Let your customers know that you’re on Facebook so that you can begin gathering reviews. The quantity of reviews has been a major factor across all third-party review websites, so I wouldn’t accept anything less from Facebook Professional Services platform.

One of the most difficult challenges that most Plumbers and HVAC companies struggle with is review generation. That’s why we developed Recommend Me, an easy-to-use application that integrates reviews into your website and directs your happiest customers to share their experience at third party review sites (such as Facebook Professional Services, Yelp, Google+, etc.).

Our Reputation Specialists are here to assist you towards increasing your online reviews and improving your reputation. Let’s prove that your business is worth working with. Call us today to learn more 800-727-3920.

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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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Your Online Reputation: Testimonials, Reviews, and How to Protect Your Business

Monday, February 20th, 2012

More and more people are turning to the internet to find local businesses. You probably already know that having a website is key for finding new customers and getting new leads. But do you ever think about your company’s online reputation?

While many people used to reply on word-of-mouth to find out which plumber was the best, the internet has changed where people are seeking out these recommendations. Instead of having to ask their neighbor or their cousin about a service company, they can now simply Google your company’s name to bring up dozens of popular review sites and possibly hundreds of reviews of your business. And over 70 percent of people trust online reviews.

The Good and the Bad

The good news is that a few good reviews on some important sites, like Yelp and Google Places, can have a big impact on your business. When a new customer is making a decision about which contractor to hire, some glowing testimonials about your business can make it stand out among its competitors.

The bad news, of course, is that a few bad reviews can have the opposite effect. Why would you hire a contractor if someone is claiming they are a scam artist?  Some more disreputable competitors can leave fake negative reviews about your company, and it is often very difficult to get these reviews removed. While it might seem that these aren’t a big deal, these rad reviews can be pulled onto other websites and spread throughout the web, damaging your image and giving your company a bad name.

On-Site Testimonials

So, what can you do? One of the easiest ways to show your company to its best advantage is to have testimonials right on your website. These should be real testimonials from your recent customers; many people can spot a fake a mile away. Not only does this build confidence in people considering your business, it also is great new content for your site (which Google loves). Testimonials can be shared on your social media profiles and your blog, and it’s an easy way to connect with both new and old customers. The testimonials also contain important key words, for example:

“Whenever I have called COMPANY for a plumbing problem, they are here in less than an hour. My old plumber took 3 days at best!”

There is no downside to having testimonials on your site; the hardest part is collecting them. Leave a postcard after a service call that a customer can mail in, or encourage them to fill out a survey on your website. If you do a good job, most people would be happy to write a short recommendation of your company.

Review Sites

A much more difficult task is getting customers to leave real reviews on websites such as Yelp and Google Places. However, since more and more people are turning to these review sites to evaluate businesses, it is very important to have a strategy to get customers to leave reviews of your company.

The first step is claim your profile on these websites, so if someone does leave a bad review, you can respond as the owner and try to resolve the problem. Even if the customer does not respond to your message, it helps mitigate the effect of the negative review by showing other potential customers your good faith effort to make amends.

Getting good reviews might seem difficult, but just like getting testimonials, it is all about consistently asking your customers to write these recommendations.  You can make it very easy for them by linking to these review sites right from your own website, with even a simple call out such as: “Rate Our Service”. You can also email customers after a service call to encourage them to help your business by leaving a review. Another advantage of getting these reviews on external sites is that listings with more reviews tend to show up higher in search results.

Fake Reviews

It might seem tempting to put up fake reviews on your business profile, the long term effects can be very bad for your business. Fake reviews are often easy to spot if you know what to look for: reviews that sound like advertisements, reviewers who have left hundreds of reviews for companies all over the country (all five stars), and tons of reviews for a company all left on the same day. More and more people are becoming adept at finding these patterns and it can cause people to distrust your reviews, and even worse, they might lose faith in your business. Integrity and value are key factors people look for when choosing a service company, so few things are more devastating than being perceived as untrustworthy.

Conclusion:

A recent article in Forbes explained why customer service is the new marketing, and the big businesses out there are turning to review sites as part of their PR strategy. When faced with a lot of options, people are using online reviews to help them make their final decision on what to buy and who to hire. You can no longer ignore your company’s online reputation and hope for the best, every company needs to develop a strategy to get good reviews out there and respond to the bad ones:

  1. Get testimonials for your website
  2. Claim your business profiles
  3. Respond to negative reviews
  4. Ask your customers to leave good reviews

None of these steps are very complicated, but you need to make these a part of your overall marketing plan. iMarket also offers a reputation management program so that you can make sure that your company’s good reputation is actively being built and maintained. Contact us today for more details!

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