With competition escalating, skilled labor scarcer by the day, and larger companies rapidly gobbling up market share, restoration company reviews can be the difference between failure and success for some businesses. Positive reviews are an essential driver for referrals. But negative reviews have the potential to undo years of hard work and reputation-building with a single mistake, misunderstanding, or miscommunication.

We could tell you how vital positive online reviews are, but let’s look at the research to help drive the point home. How powerful are online reviews in influencing the consumer decision-making process? According to Qualtrics, a provider of experience management software, the answer is very much so.

According to a 2021 report, “91% of 18-34-year-olds trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, and 93% of consumers say that online reviews influenced their purchase decisions.” And not only do positive online reviews influence the purchasing decision, but they also give you a direct line of communication with homeowners. This feedback opens the door to start a conversation to learn what’s working and what’s not so you can resolve issues quickly and effectively, which leads to more referrals from satisfied customers.

We should also mention that both the number of online customer reviews and average score are considered when ranking local search results. The Google My Business help guide confirms “Google review count and review score factor into local search ranking. More reviews and positive ratings can improve your business’ local ranking.”

So that’s why today, we’re looking at what you do to help ensure that your companies are not just earning more five-star reviews, but how you can make it part of your current workflow to make it easier and less overwhelming.

5 steps to leveraging moments of happiness to get 5-star restoration company reviews

The truth is that your restoration company’s best marketing and sales representatives are your existing customers. But how do you get your best customers to feel inspired to share their story of your stellar service or that you have a “customer for life” online? How do you motivate them to write a detailed and specific review that inspires other homeowners to call you when they need help?

It’s all about leveraging those moments of happiness when you’ve been praised or received positive feedback from your customers. These critical moments are when they will be more inclined to give you a positive review to express their gratitude for a job well done.

Read on to learn how to generate more positive customer reviews on repeat.

1: Offer inspired service. When you make a customer happy — specifically if you save them time or money above and beyond what they may have expected — they’re far more likely to take the time to tell others about their experience online. This builds trust and credibility in a way that’s visible to everyone else. It’s not exactly free advertising because you’ve done the work to earn it. But it’s arguably much more effective advertising than the kind you pay for.

But company reviews are also a double-edged sword. A single subpar performance with just one impatient customer can yield not just a dissatisfied customer but online trolling. And that can lead to negative reviews seen by thousands of people on places like Yelp, Angi (formerly Angie’s List), Facebook, or industry-specific sites like the Restoration Forum.

The most basic and still the most effective way to encourage people to leave positive reviews is to offer stellar service. But in today’s world, it’s not enough to arrive on time and finish the job within budget. Those are table stakes. To truly offer inspired service, you have to create a memorable experience. What can you do that makes you stand out? What’s a differentiator that no other local restoration contractor provides?

Yes, we know that it’s not always easy, but it’s essential to reinforce to your customers that they are always your top priority. Making a habit of treating customers this way is always a good idea, but it’s especially important for your ability to score five-star reviews and make a lasting impression.

Some ideas for creating signature “special touches” to create a memorable experience:

  • Send them a personal “welcome home” gift basket when the project is done.
  • Buy them a food delivery gift card if their kitchen will be unusable during the project.
  • Learn their coffee order and show up on the job with a coffee
  • Perform a simple above-and-beyond service like replacing the air filter.

Once you agree on your differentiator, communicate it company-wide and build it into your DASH workflow. That way, you’ll never forget to complete this essential task and lose out on potential 5-star reviews.

2. Get socially active. You’re far more likely to engage customers in places like Facebook, Yelp, or wherever else they gather if you’re also there every day. Even if you’re short on marketing savvy — or staff — it doesn’t take much effort to create a page on the leading social sites and forums that offers key info like your hours and contact info. Then it’s a matter of checking in at least once per day to cultivate connections, answer messages, and generally keep an eye on things.

"The business with the best online reputation wins." Danno Vivarelli -- Starloop

Yes, it does take time, but there’s a payoff: “The business with the best online reputation wins,” as Danno Vivarelli of Starloop told Shep Hyken in an article published at Forbes. A social presence validates your business and provides a foundation to begin accumulating positive reviews, which are a chance to outshine your competitors in a crowded industry.

It’s important to respond to all reviews, good and bad, publicly. According to a 2021 Brightlocal local customer review survey, consumers who read online reviews for local businesses, 96% also read businesses’ responses to their reviews – with 40% saying they ‘always’ read the responses. Moreover, regardless of the sentiment of the feedback, consumers want to know a business cares.

3. Keep track of every conversation. Too often, poor communication works against smaller businesses struggling to keep up with customer demands. But if a customer has to remind you of something they’ve already told you, they’re going to feel frustrated. Even worse, if you fail to do something you’ve said you’d do, you’re practically asking for a bad review.

This is an age-old challenge, but it’s also one that can be solved by technology. Tools like DASH from Next Gear Solutions let you collect and save every conversation with every customer, giving you the chance to anticipate their needs and make sure you’re following through on every commitment. Paying attention and being understanding is crucial to earning good reviews — and with tools like DASH, you can follow through with detailed notes on every interaction.

Or go beyond the conversation to track the customer experience. Everyone in your company has the opportunity to leave a lasting impression. With DASH’s role-based workflow, you can track if your technician delivers your signature “special touches” we discussed earlier in this blog. Or build the review request into your process so that reminders go out after every job in a follow-up email or phone call. There are endless ways to make collecting reviews a strength and not a burden.

4. Work to cultivate positive reviews. It isn’t just okay to ask your customers for positive reviews — it’s practically a necessity. Remember, their default mindset is, like everyone else, worrying about their own concerns. Even if they do receive stellar, inspired service from you, they might not even consider going through the trouble of leaving a review if they’re not prompted to do so.

Technology can help here, too, in the form of survey emails or reminder messages. Be careful with automating this step, though — you want each communication to seem genuine and personal. Some companies offer creative incentives to help inspire customers; Starloop plants a tree for each online review, for instance. Other companies use industry tools that prompt customers to leave post-service reviews.

It may take a little practice to get used to asking for the review, but it’s worth it. One study found that 68% of customers will leave a review if asked. And if you’re worried about getting negative reviews if you ask, you can rest easy that this same study found that in 2020, the proportion of consumers that have written a positive review outnumbers negative reviewers nearly two to one!

Start slow. Educate your customers on the importance of leaving reviews. As long as you provide excellent customer service, they will be happy to help you optimize your listings on each reviews platform and get found by more of your friends and neighbors.

5: Reminders are okay, but don’t overdo it! If the first reminder or suggestion to leave a positive review doesn’t get results, be careful about following up too soon — or for some customers, at all. At a time when most businesses are actively asking for reviews, “review fatigue” is a real thing for some folks, and it can work against you if you’re not careful.

Remember that leaving a review takes time and effort. Even with spectacular service, not every customer will be impressed — and while it’s important to ask and okay to remind them, an attitude that’s too insistent could work against you.

The bottom line? Cultivating positive restoration company reviews should be an operational initiative and a goal for everyone on your team. By following these tips and implementing the right tools, it’s a goal that’s within reach.

See how Next Gear can help

One of those tools, ProAssist from Next Gear Solutions, is a great way to get the ball rolling. Available on all mobile devices, ProAssist integrates with DASH to help you better coordinate your team while keeping customers informed from anywhere and at any time.

ProAssist can help you implement the type of operational improvements that earn good reviews, such as minimizing time spent on-site with a customer by collecting key job documentation before you arrive. It also offers customers the chance to leave a five-star survey after every job, giving you an automatic tool for earning the restoration company reviews you need to succeed.

Build your business and reputation with DASH & ProAssist. Get 2 Months Free

And through September 25, we’re offering a free month of both DASH and ProAssist. Schedule your free demo by September 25 to get your free month today!

About the Author

Peter Lovasz joined Next Gear Solutions in 2018. As the Vice President of Sales & Marketing, Peter is currently responsible for promoting the company’s brand promise to create consistently smarter businesses. With over 15 years of experience in various SaaS leadership roles, he has a successful track record in strategic re-direction and building high-performing teams.

Read more:

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Blog: A New Real-Time Customer Connection Tool is Here

Blog: Overcoming Four Big Challenges in the Restoration Industry