Word of mouth has always been important for businesses. However, in today’s digital age of instant communication, customer reviews are literally at the fingertips of your prospective clients. And they matter. A lot.
While customer reviews benefit all kinds of businesses, they’re especially important for plumbers for one simple reason: People need to trust you — not only to welcome you into their homes, but also into uniquely intimate situations.
Here’s a closer look at why online reviews matter so much, along with how review generation can empower you to take control of your online reputation in order to help your plumbing business grow and thrive.
Why Are Online Reviews Important?
A Medium roundup of stats about the importance of online reviews reveals the following eye-opening information:
- 97 percent of consumers use online reviews when searching for local services
- 94 percent of consumers read online reviews before making decisions
- 68 percent of consumers are more likely to engage with businesses with positive reviews
- 94 percent of consumers have avoided businesses because of negative online reviews
All of these statistics point to the same direction: Online reviews can make a huge difference when it comes to increasing your plumbing business’s customer base.
Specifically, online reviews can help improve your plumbing business in the following five ways:
You’ll build trust with potential clients.
Today’s consumers value trust and authenticity above all else. While advertising can be off-putting, online reviews give consumers what they’re looking for. According to an article from Inc., a whopping 84 percent of people trust online reviews as much as they do personal recommendations from their friends and family.
You’ll attract new customers.
For your business to grow, you must be able to retain current customers and draw new ones. Online reviews can help you reach and attract new customers. Not convinced? Research indicates that 91 percent of people read at least one review before making a decision about a business, service, or product.
Your search engine rankings will increase.
Online reviews and SEO go hand-in-hand. By some 2018 estimates from Moz, online reviews are a major factor in how Google displays search engine results. The more online reviews your plumbing business has, the more prominent your results will be.
You’ll build brand awareness.
Customers trust brands they know. Your brand is what distinguishes you in a crowded market of plumbing businesses. Positive online reviews will improve and enhance both brand awareness and brand perception.
You’ll increase your revenue.
This one is simple: More customers means more business, and more business means more revenue. How much more? Businesses with 82 or more total reviews earn 54 percent more in annual revenue than the average. Furthermore, five reviews will increase your purchase likelihood by 260 percent than with no reviews.
How to Generate and Manage Online Reviews
There are some things your plumbing business can do to encourage your customers to leave reviews. These include:
- Asking for them to leave reviews
- Having a process in place for asking for reviews
- Targeting satisfied customers
- Personalizing the ask
- Communicating why reviews are so important
- Provide a review template
- Offer incentives
- Follow up on requests for reviews
- Respond to existing reviews
Regarding the latter, responding to reviews is just as important as getting them. Research reported by Marketing Bitz shows that well over half of customers expect a response to their online reviews within a week, and 33 percent of reviewers will upgrade their reviews after receiving a prompt response.
What’s even more eye-opening? That 80 percent of customers seek out negative reviews because they believe they demonstrate credibility. Furthermore, customers are more likely to use a business if it reacts to bad reviews.
Speaking of bad reviews, there may be something even worse for your plumbing business: No reviews. In fact, Fan & Fuel reported in recent years that 92 percent of consumers say they hesitate to support a business with no customer reviews.
What is Review Generation?
The takeaway is clear: Online reviews have tremendous potential for plumbing businesses. At the same time, all of this information may have your head spinning. After all, your expertise is in plumbing—not reputation management.
That’s where review generation comes in. Review generation is the automated process of assembling all of your online reviews, and it can help your plumbing business leverage the full power of online reviews.
Review generation doesn’t wipe away bad reviews. (As you read earlier, that wouldn’t benefit your company anyway.) However, it does utilize good online feedback to neutralize the bad.
Review generation may also be associated with the breadth and depth of reputation management services, including the following:
- Monitoring online reviews and other mentions of your business across the web
- Sending alerts when a review is submitted to major review sites
- Responding to positive and negative reviews
- Providing feedback so you can see where you’re satisfying your customers and where you’re falling short
Factors like managing online reviews and knowing which review sites matter most can be overwhelming for many businesses. Enter digital marketing for plumbers, which can help your plumbing business with everything from marketing and social media strategies to review generation and reputation management.
By outsourcing this vital work to the experienced professionals at The Light Digital, you can get all of the business-boosting benefits of online reviews while simultaneously freeing up your team to focus on what you do best: providing expert plumbing services.