(Page 11 of the April 2012 issue of eClean Magazine)
by by Steve Wright, www.thecustomerfactor.com
Download the pdf file: 5 tips to generating online reviews
Generating online customer reviews is one of the most important things you can do for your window cleaning business. Major companies have a huge amount of exposure online and offline, but smaller companies don’t have the same resources, so leveraging customer reviews can make your business stand out. It’s very cost effective too (as in free).
With people being so busy these days, it can be a challenge getting them to take time to leave a review. I’ve listed 5 tips on how you can encourage customers to leave you a review:
1. If you invoice your customers, make sure you use the invoice space wisely. Don’t just list the job and price info on the invoice and that’s it. In The Customer Factor, members have a personalization area on their invoices where they can insert whatever text they want to. So again, take advantage of some of the empty spacing on your invoices to include a request for the customer to leave a review.
2. Request reviews on your web site: Create a special review page that links customers from your site to various review sites. Make it easy as possible for them. Link customers directly to your profile and include brief instructions on how to fill out the review form. Many customers intend to submit reviews and then forget. By including links directly from your website to your review profiles, and reminding people of the review page on your homepage, you can easily generate more reviews going forward.
3. Generate reviews by email: Stay in touch with your prospects and customers via email about specials, new service announcements, and other important information.
I recommend including a review request in every email you send. Don’t be afraid to encourage your customers to rate your service on review sites. They’re already receiving an email from you, so including a request for them to leave a review is a no-brainer.
4. Use discounts and incentives to increase reviews: This is a touchy one as some review sites frown on paid reviews. So instead of offering your customers a straight discount in return for a review, offer a drawing every 90 days with the winning customer getting a free window cleaning. Anyone who submits a review is automatically entered.
Think about this for a second. Typically the business with the most reviews gets a higher ranking in the various online directories. So do you think it would be worth giving away a $250 to $300 window cleaning job in return for the incredible exposure you’ll receive as a result of a large number of reviews? Of course!
5. Last but not least, just ask: Most window cleaners say they don’t receive reviews and testimonials, but then admit they rarely ask for them. So ask. If a customer is satisfied with the window cleaning service you provided, they may refer a friend to you, but they more than likely won’t go out of their way to leave you a review. Be proactive.
Send a message to your email list or send a personalized follow-up letter after someone uses your service to request a review. If you don’t ask, you don’t get.
So there you have it! If you incorporate some or all of the above tips when it comes to reviews, you’ll be pleasantly surprised how quickly the number of your reviews will increase across the web.
Some folks may not think getting reviews is that important, but it’s essential. I wouldn’t say it’s the “end all, be all” to your overall marketing strategy, but when it comes to getting business from various online directories and from the search engines, getting lots and lots of reviews is a must.
Steve Wright is the author of How To Start Your Own Residential Window Washing Business and the developer of The Customer Factor, which is a fully automated contact management/follow up software solution for service businesses. Please contact Mr. Wright at 256-546-2446 or firstname.lastname@example.org for additional information.