It’s no secret to home services providers that online reviews are essential in obtaining new customers for their HVAC, plumbing, sewer line, and other home service businesses. Google is currently the fastest-growing review platform, and therefore reviews on Google have become more critical than ever. The fact is that customers today expect to see reviews of the things they search for on Google (mobal.io blog, Google reviews are becoming more reliable and more important), and 60% of consumers will disregard a business if they can’t find it online (mobal.io blog, Google reviews are becoming more reliable and more important).
When a consumer searches on Google with a phrase such as “electricians near me,” the first thing that appears in results are businesses with their Google reviews. And consumers don’t stop there — they read those reviews before deciding to pick up the phone.
How can your business capitalize on Google reviews?
Here are five trends that are driving the growing importance of online reviews and recommendations for your contracting business:
1) Reviews are trusted much like recommendations from friends and family.
Positive reviews make customers trust your business more. Reviews of your business build trust and credibility among potential customers; they are empowering and directly affect your business by giving your customers a platform to openly discuss their experience with you. A study by BrightLocal (BrightLocal, Local Consumer Review Survey 2023) revealed that about 82% of customers read reviews before they make a purchase decision and that 52% of 18–54-year-olds always read reviews (mobal.io blog, Google reviews are becoming more reliable and more important). That number tops 91% for 18–34-year-olds (SearchEngineJournal,18 Online Review Statistics Every Marketer Should Know). Millennials are a segment that will only grow in importance as they begin to buy homes (and will need to maintain them). A recent study from Angi (Angi, The Economy of Everything Home) showed that homeownership is nearly 40% among 25–34-year-olds.
If you want to generate new business, ask your customers if they will post a review immediately after you finish a job when it’s fresh on their minds. Send them a thank you for their business email and tell them how important it is for your business to get honest feedback.
2) Positive reviews that are recent are a critical factor in consumer choice.
Research from BrightLocal (BrightLocal, Local Consumer Review Survey 2023) found that 58% of consumers state that a high star rating on a review would make them feel positive about using a business. 75% of them consider a rating of 3.5 stars or higher would be what is needed for them to even think about using them; for 54%, at least 4 stars or higher is required. In addition, 46% cite that a review that was posted within the last month is an important factor.
Want 4- or 5-star reviews for your business? Ask your most loyal customers to review your business and provide an incentive if they complete the review (offer a free assessment, discount on their next service, etc.). Not only will this go a long way towards building loyal customers, but it will also ensure higher ratings on Google for your business.
3) Negative reviews will happen — it’s how you respond to them that matters
BrightLocal also found that 88% of consumers are likely to use a business that responds to both positive and negative reviews. Moreover, 79% also said they would leave a positive review even if the initial experience was negative, but the company turned it into a positive experience (Bright Local, Local Consumer Review Survey 2023).
Actively manage your reviews so your business can respond to positive and negative reviews, as well as your customers’ experience from the first time they contact your business through ongoing communications after the job is complete.
4) Customers are fine with giving you a positive review — make it easy for them.
It’s okay to ask customers for a review. BrightLocal (BrightLocal, Local Consumer Review Survey 2023) found that 80% of consumers were asked by businesses to do so in 2022, and that 65% followed through with that request. The best ways to ask your customers for a review:
- Send a thank you text or email and include a link to add a review on your website or directly on Google
- In-person, after the service call or repair (mention that you will send them a link to make it easy to review your business)
- On a receipt or invoice
- Call each customer after a job to ask them how your technician(s) did and their experience with your business. If it was positive, ask them if they would leave a review and send them a link to complete their review. If their experience was not positive, ask how you can correct the issue and after you resolve their concerns, ask the customer if they will leave a review. In both instances, your business should see very positive reviews and star ratings on Google.
Develop a customer experience journey process to continually get feedback from your customers so you can improve your local search rankings and increase your customer base. Just make sure that the process of leaving a review is as easy as possible.
5) Positive reviews will help you with hiring qualified technicians for your business.
Potential employees look at reviews when deciding whether to apply for a job opening. According to Glassdoor (Glassdoor for employers, 40+ Stats for Companies to Keep In Mind for 2021), 86% of employees and job seekers research company reviews and ratings to decide on where to apply for a job.
As home services providers continue to struggle with hiring qualified technicians, it is imperative that you get reviews from both employees and customers, and that you respond to reviews and customer concerns quickly, so reviews are positive.
Just as critical, home service providers should join home care provider networks that have positive consumer reviews. Here is one recent review from a home protection plan customer:
Does your online reputation truly reflect the quality of your home care services? What steps can you take today to improve your online reviews?
Download our Marketing Plan Template today to incorporate online reviews into your business’ overall marketing strategy for 2023.
Find out how incorporating a Net Promoter System in your customer experience journey can improve customer loyalty and satisfaction.