A good or bad review can be the deciding factor when it comes to customers choosing your restoration company over the competition.
According to the researchers at Zendesk, 90% of participants claimed that positive online reviews influence their buying decision, and 86% said negative reviews affected their decision.
Because of the nature of the disaster restoration industry, we’re dealing with people during high-stress situations, so you’re bound to get a couple of bad reviews.
While you can’t please everybody, you can offset bad reviews by having an abundance of positive reviews.
Here are some easy ways to get your customers to leave great reviews for your restoration business.
First thing’s first: create a Google business page for your restoration company.
This is your most important online profile because Google dominates the search landscape and is likely the search engine your customers are using to find you.
You should also set up profiles on other major review sites such as Yelp, Angie’s List, and the BBB.
Make sure your name, address, and phone number information is complete and consistent across all sites.
When customers search for your company to leave a review after a job is completed, they need to find it easily.
Incorrect contact information will not only confuse customers, but it confuses Google when they’re trying to figure out which information to display.
These inconsistencies might negatively affect your ranking and make it harder for customers to find you online, so double check your listings for mistakes.
“If you don’t ask, you don’t get”.
And the best way to ask someone to do something is to do it in person.
Tell your techs to ask customers to leave a review as soon as they’re done with the job.
A face-to-face interaction like this is more personable, and it allows your employees to hear the feedback themselves.
The technician who spent the most time with the customer should ask for the review.
Before saying goodbye, your tech should tell the customer that they appreciate their business and that they’d love to hear feedback about their experience.
Here’s a general run-down of what your techs should say:
“It was a pleasure doing business with you. If you don’t mind, I’d love to get some feedback about my performance. Can we get you to leave a review? It will only take a few short minutes. What is your email address?”
Give your techs tablets or mobile phones that they can take with them to the job site.
They can then hand their tablets or mobile phones over to the customer so that they can leave a review right then and there.
Beforehand, you should create a designated page on your website for customers to leave a review like this:
You can also create a link that directs them straight to your Google business page. Here’s a free tool that does it for you.
Now all they have to do is leave their rating and write about their experience.
A quick note: A client can only leave a Google review if they have a Gmail account, so it’s important to ask them what their email is beforehand.
If they don’t have a Gmail account, don’t make them stand there and create one. Just redirect them to the review page on your website.
Asking customers on-site right after the job is completed is good for a couple reasons:
Your technicians should already strive to give stellar customer service, but it doesn’t hurt to reward them for their efforts.
Consider implementing a bonus system that rewards employees who get positive reviews from customers.
One of the restoration companies we work with has an incentive program like this in place. They give their technicians cash bonuses for each positive review they get that mentions their name.
Laws regarding employee incentive programs vary on a state-by-state basis, so check the rulebook before you implement this tactic.
If you want to take the old-school approach, consider following up with your customers using postcards.
You can send them to your customer’s mailbox or your techs can hand them out when they’ve completed the job.
Nowadays everything is digitized and automated, so giving someone a handwritten postcard is a great way to stand out.
If you’re sending a postcard you only have seconds to grab their attention while they’re flipping through their junk mail, so create a postcard that’s straight to the point.
Your headline should simply say “Thank You” and feature your company’s logo.
In the card, you should greet them by their name, thank them for their business and provide a clear call to action that asks them to leave a review.
Include your name and repeat your thanks on the sign-off line.
Add a gift card in there as a token of your appreciation (and as a way to entice them to leave a review).
Try something like this:
“Dear Joe Schmoe,
Thanks for doing business with us and letting us into your home.
We appreciate having you as a customer and value your feedback.
Please leave us a review on our Yelp or Google page.
Generic Restoration Company
P.S. Enjoy this gift card to our favorite coffee shop!”
DON’T use a red pen. Red ink is aggressive. It’s what you use when you’re grading a paper riddled with mistakes. It’s like the stationary equivalent of typing in all caps.
Blue or black ink is better.
Most importantly, make sure they can read your message. You don’t have to be a certified calligrapher, but your handwriting does need to be legible.
If you need a postcard template, we made one for you that’s easily editable in photoshop.
Save and edit the following photos to match your company information, then print and send the postcards out to your customers.
It’s important to interact with all your customers and try to get them to endorse your business; However, this can be a time-consuming process.
Use a review aggregator system to easily acquire and manage reviews on a large scale. We recommend Whitespark.
Review aggregators, like Whitespark, send out an email or an SMS text message asking customers to rank their experience based on a scale of 1-10. Happy customers who leave a rating of 7 or higher are directed to leave a positive online review.
Unhappy customers that leave a Rating of 6 or below are taken to an offline, internal review form.
This allows you to intercept the negative review and address the problems privately.
It also allows customers to voice their frustrations and reduces the likelihood that they’ll go on the internet and leave a bad review.
Here’s a quick rundown on how to set up your Reputation Builder account and start tracking reviews.
Go to the dashboard and click “Account>Business details”. Add your business information and select your business type. If you’re operating out of a single location, all you need to do is add your information once.
If you have more than one location, you’ll need to create multiple profiles for each location (this is because each individual location will have its own data and review profiles).
Go to settings, click on the ‘Online review links’ section, and select the review sites and social media links you’d like to direct your happy customers towards.
Again, if you own a chain with multiple locations, you’ll need to add the review sites for each separate location.
Open a new tab and go to your restoration company’s profile page on the review website you want to add.
Copy and paste that URL and add it to your review profile you selected in Whitespark.
This is the first interaction you’ll have with your customer. The customer will receive this email once you enter their contact information into the system.
It comes with a standard prompt that thanks them for their business and asks them to leave feedback, but you should edit it to showcase the unique voice of your business.
The email template contains tags that are highlighted blue. Don’t change these unless you need to as they pull standard information from the database that you’ll want to use (your business name, website, etc.)
When the customer receives the email it’ll look something like this:
After this, you’ll need to customize your email templates for both the positive and negative customer feedback responses.
The positive feedback email is the follow-up email the customer will receive after they’ve left a high rating. They’ll be directed to your online review sites.
The negative feedback email is the follow-up email the customer will receive after leaving a bad rating.
Unlike customers with a positive experience, these unhappy customers are not directed to review sites.
Now that you’ve got your templates set up, it’s time to add customers to the database so they can start giving you feedback.
Go to the ‘Customer dashboard’. Click on ‘Import customers’ to upload an excel spreadsheet of email or phone number information.
This method is good for uploading multiple clients contact information all at once.
You can also add individual customers. Add their information, such as name, email, and phone number.
Click on ‘Feedback settings’ to control who is notified whenever your customers leave you feedback. You, the account owner, will automatically be notified, but you can set up additional staff members to receive notifications as well.
Set up your account so that you can see a weekly email feedback report.
You can also track the reviews you’re receiving online from third-party websites, such as Yelp, Google, or the BBB.
Click on “Reports > Reviews Report”. In this report, you can see who’s leaving reviews on what website, what the rating score is, and what they said.
If you have a premium account, you can choose to send text message feedback reminders to your clients. Why send text messages instead of emails?
According to Whitespark, text messages are opened up at 98% whereas the open rate for emails ranges between 40%-50%.
Communicating with customers directly on their phone means higher open rates, which can lead to more feedback and reviews for your business.
You’ve already met the customer on their phone, now let’s make the process even easier for them.
Take the extra step out and ask your customers for ratings only, not written feedback.
Click on “Settings > Feedback settings”. Then check the box called “Ask only for rating”.
The system will still block dissatisfied customers and direct only happy customers to your third-party online review profile.
Another tip: Don’t overwhelm the customer and link to too many review sites. Just choose the most important and familiar ones, such as Google and Yelp.
It’s important to respond to all reviews in a timely manner, good and bad—but especially the bad ones.
Try to do some damage control and nip bad reviews in the bud before they go live (i.e. discuss the problem with them over the phone in private if at all possible).
If you couldn’t console them and the customer is upset enough to leave a bad review, don’t ignore it.
Ignoring a negative review can make it seem as if you’re neglectful and don’t care about customer service.
When responding to a bad review, apologize and address their concerns point by point. Don’t start a war of words with them, even if their complaints are unjustified.
Apologize for their bad experience, but make sure to sneak a little marketing in there.
Example: “I’m sorry to hear you had a bad experience with us. Our techs are normally known for their speedy response times and cleanliness.”
Give them a name so they feel like they’re talking to an actual human being and try to direct them away to discuss the problem privately.
Example: “My name is Mike and I’m the mitigation manager here. I would like to discuss your concerns further with you. Please contact me at 555-555-5555”.
If you addressed their concerns and corrected a problem you caused, ask them to update their review. Sometimes a little customer outreach is all it takes to change their mind.
Remember, when you’re responding to reviews that it isn’t a private conversation.
Everyone is seeing this interaction, including potential customers who are deciding whether or not to go with your business, so choose your words wisely.
Ask for reviews at the right time— not too soon and not too late.
If you ask too early before they have time to experience the full benefits of your services, let’s say when the carpets are still drying out, the customer might not be inclined to leave a positive review.
If you ask too late, it will seem as if you easily forget your clients or don’t really care.
People are much more likely to leave a review when prompted right away, so again, ask the customer as soon as the job is completed.
Don’t make your customers work hard to find your review page.
An angry customer is more inclined to go out of their way to leave a negative review than the average customer, so you need to make the process as easy as possible for the people trying to leave a good one.
Have a dedicated page on your website where people can easily leave reviews.
You can also create call-to-action buttons that link to your review profiles, such as your Google business page and your Yelp page.
Make sure these call-to-actions are clear and are displayed prominently on your site.
If there’s one thing that psychology teaches us, it’s that people are more likely to complete a task if know they’re getting something out of it.
Offering your customers incentives, such as coupons or discounts, is a good strategy to generate reviews.
Not only does this tactic get them to write the review, but you also gain a returning customer when they come back to use the coupon.
However, you need to make it clear that the offer is for simply writing reviews and that you’re not soliciting them to write good reviews.
Soliciting your customers for good reviews will not only make you appear unethical, but Google or Yelp might flag those reviews as spam.
If you’re not using a review aggregator service, create an email marketing campaign to get reviews from customers.
If you have a lot of customers, the outreach process will involve creating email lists, list segmentation, and automation.
Doing this manually takes a lot of time and effort, so we recommend using email marketing tools from providers like MailChimp.
They offer free, mobile-friendly email templates you can use, and can even tell you which customers have opened your emails.
The first email you should send is an internal, feedback survey. Make the text personalized and use the unique voice of your business.
Here’s a template for an initial feedback request email:
You’re not asking them to leave a review at this point, you’re just asking them to describe their experience. This way you can filter out upset customers, and address their problems privately.
When someone gives negative feedback, send them a follow-up email in order to minimize the damage. This allows them to voice their frustration and might prevent them from leaving a third party review.
Here’s a template for a negative follow-up email:
Send the customers who had a positive experience a follow-up email directing them to go to your online review profiles.
Here’s a template for a positive follow-up email:
Again, don’t overload the email with links to a bunch of different review sites. Choose 2-3 sites that are most important to your business.
If you still haven’t received any feedback from a particular customer, don’t be afraid to remind them. Email marketing software, like MailChimp, can also tell you whether or not a customer has opened an email.
Send out a maximum of two reminders to your non-openers.
Send your first reminder email three days after the initial request. If they still haven’t responded, send out a second reminder a week later from the second request.
Don’t send the same reminder email twice. If they weren’t interested enough to click it the first time, it probably won’t work the second time.
Keep the message the same, but change up the subject line.
Simply changing the subject line from “could you help us” to something like “we have a quick question”, is a gentle way to remind your customers to leave a review, without feeling like you’re spamming them.
Here’s a template for a reminder email:
Facebook is a great platform to engage with your customers and generate reviews, but let’s face it: most people don’t log on to Facebook to chat with their local restoration company.
With that said, it’s still important to maintain your Facebook presence, and more specifically your reputation, especially since Facebook has rolled out “Recommendations”.
When users post a status and clicks on the “recommendations” button, a map pops up.
When friends reply with recommendations, these businesses will appear on the map.
The recommendations feature is a great way to lead new customers directly to you, but they might not be impressed if your Facebook page is lacking in the review department.
If your Facebook reviews are looking wimpy, don’t worry there’s kind of a hack around this.
You can import existing Yelp reviews into your facebook. Here’s how to do it:
Visit your yelp page, go to the review you want to share, and click “share review”.
Click the “share on Facebook” button. A Facebook window will pop up. Type your email and password if you’re not already signed into your Facebook account.
Click on the “Share on your timeline” button and then select “Share on a page you manage”. Type a message in the “write something” box if you want to, then hit post.
This isn’t a substitute for actual reviews, but it’ll help to establish your credibility in the meantime.
If your Facebook page needs reviews, start directing new customers there or reach out to old customers to see if they’ll write reviews for you.
Here’s how to enable facebook reviews on your business page
Go to your business page and click on “Settings”. Click ‘Edit page’ in the left column.
When the review tab is added switch the “show reviews button” to on and hit save.
If you need more help setting up a Facebook page for your Restoration Business, check out our Facebook guide.
When people are shopping around online for restoration companies, they’re looking for contractors they can trust with their home and their belongings.
Reviews are a valuable (and free) marketing tool that indicates how trustworthy you are and can help you stand out from the competition.
While getting your customers to leave online reviews can be hard, it doesn’t have to be.
If you adopt these strategies, you can form better relationships with your clients, earn reviews from them, and improve your online reputation.
Restoration companies with more reviews are going to get higher click-through rates, and ultimately, more leads.
We use these same strategies that helped us build our restoration company to over $4,000,000 in sales per year.
We specialize in helping Water Restoration providers grow their restoration company using proven marketing techniques that we developed.
This checklist will help you identify what is missing from your current strategy and what you must focus on next to take your water damage company to the next level.
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How To Quickly Grow & Scale Your Water Damage Restoration Company