What do you do when you are considering an important new purchase for your home or office? If you reach for your phone to check online reviews, you are not alone. According to a 2018 survey by brightlocal.com, 86% of all consumers—and 95% of those in the 18 to 34 age group— read online reviews for local businesses before making a purchasing decision.
And where do the majority of these shoppers go for their reviews? It’s Google. The powerful search engine, which is so much of our lives that its name was added as a verb to both the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary and the Oxford English Dictionary in 2006, is a powerful business tool. It’s time for you to harness this tool more fully for your fencing business.
First, let’s define our terms. A Google business review is a free way for consumers to write public reviews of businesses. Other people can read the reviews and even comment on them. Google then offers ratings (0 up to 5.0) of these reviews that provide both consumers and business owners measurable information on customer satisfaction. Why does all this matter? It means business. Statistics demonstrate that businesses with a rating of 4.0 or higher are more likely to engage customers than those with scores below that mark.
A 2018 survey from Zendesk found that 90% of consumers reported that positive reviews affected their buying decisions, and 86% claimed that negative reviews also influenced them. Simply put, positive Google reviews help more people find your fencing business and select your business for their fencing needs. They also help you stand out from your competitors in the fencing industry.
So how can you get more positive Google reviews? First, be sure you have set up a Google My Business page for your fencing company. Visit https://support.google.com/business/answer/6300717?hl=en for step-by-step instructions. After that, here are six other steps to consider.
1. Ask customers for a review. Regularly.
In a perfect world, your customers would post shining reviews of your fences and your incredible service without being asked. But the truth is, many people need a nudge to do so.
Train your staff to share with customers the importance of their feedback and to ask if they would mind taking a few minutes to leave a positive review on your Google My Business page. Timing is important. Asking too early can thwart your efforts. (They may not know how they feel yet.) Make sure you ask for a review after the fence has been installed, but don’t wait too long or the positive impression of your service might have faded a bit.
2. Make it easy for customers to give a review.
Many of your customers might be happy to provide you with a good review if they knew how to do it and how easy it can be. Consider having a link on your website for leaving a Google review. Another idea is to have a scannable QR code on your receipts. Customers can scan the code with their mobile devices and be linked directly to your review page.
You also can give customers a link to your review page via newsletters and flyers. Posting a request for reviews on your Facebook page can be another reminder and another way to link to your review page. Another idea is to add a request and a link for reviews to your default email signature. It can be worded something like this: “Have feedback for us? Please leave us your review on Google.”
3. Offer an incentive for leaving a review.
Although it is unethical to reward customers for leaving a positive review, it is okay to encourage them to leave one – good or bad. Offering a discount on your next fence or future service is one way to garner some fresh reviews. Having reviews be entries in a contest is another.
4. Respond to your reviews.
Monitor your reviews frequently and respond to your reviewers’ comments in a timely manner. When you thank people for their feedback, it encourages others to offer their comments. Avoid canned responses; say something meaningful and customized for each review. Short and sweet is fine. Monitor reviews daily and respond that day.
How you respond to negative comments is just as important – if not more so – than how you react to positive comments. People aren’t expecting 100% glowing reviews. In fact, they wonder about honesty if everything is positive. But they do pay attention to how you handle the occasional disgruntled customer. When you listen to negative comments and use them as a way to improve your product and service, consumers pay attention.
5. Use other search engines.
It is true that Google is the primary review site, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t other sites that can boost your reputation as well. Check out local websites that are specifically designed for your area and consider Yelp, Yahoo Local, Trust Link, Trip Advisor, Trust Pilot, and FreeIndex for their review processes.
6. Provide the best service and products.
The best way to get more positive reviews on Google is by providing the very highest quality fencing products and incredible customer service. Make high quality and optimal service a top priority, and it is a sure bet that those good reviews will follow.
Whether we like it or not, online reviews are a big part of doing business today, and they are here to stay. Review ratings and comments can have a significant influence on who calls your company for a fencing estimate and who recommends you to others.