According to a BrightLocal study, 87% of customers consider reviews when choosing a home service provider. As a plumbing contractor, getting customer reviews is an essential part of reputation management. 73% of customers only look at reviews published within the last month - so you need to have a steady stream of reviews associated with the work that you perform.
Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business) reviews are the best place to show off your reviews. Google utilizes reviews as one of the more significant ranking factors for your local business within the local map results. "More reviews and positive ratings can improve your business's local ranking". You can be assured that other online review sites also consider the number of reviews and star ratings on their own websites for ranking purposes.
Your plumbing business has no choice but to play the review game. Third-party sites are allowed to list your business and collect reviews for your company. Requests to remove your company from these websites will be ignored.
Instead, focus on providing best-of-class plumbing services to your residential and commercial customers. When you're concluding your plumbing work, ask them for a review. As you collect more and more positive reviews, these reviews can serve to set you apart from other plumbers who aren't focused on review collection.
It is imperative to get as many customer reviews as possible. Remember that this must be done within the guidelines of the review platform. Yelp is a bit of an outlier as they don't want you to ask people to review your company on Yelp. You can and should request reviews for most other review websites.
Before you ask someone to review your plumbing company on a review website, make sure you know the rules for that website. That way you'll know what review collection tasks are permitted.
There are a variety of ways to request a customer to review your business. Below are the primary ways you can collect reviews about your plumbing business.
The best method of getting reviews is to text a direct link to your listing on a review website. This makes it super easy for you and your customer as they're taken to a place where they can immediately leave you a review. They don't have to search all over the Internet to figure out where to rate your company.
It's best to do this when you're wrapping up your plumbing services for the customer. This will increase the chances that the customer will leave you feedback since your services are still fresh in their minds.
Google offers an easy step-by-step procedure to enable you to receive the review link to your Google Business Profile. From your Google Business Profile, you should be able to click on the "Share Review Form" box to get a link you can give to your customers to get more reviews.
The next best option is probably to email the customer a review link as part of your plumbing services. There is a chance of receiving fewer responses to this method vs sending a text message link. The email could be lost in the spam filters or customers may be too busy to give you a review when the request hits their inbox.
Below are two of many online review services that will make the review collection process easier for your business.
GatherUp provides review collection and review services which start at $99/month for up to 3,500 customers. This includes both email (3,000/mo) as well as text message (300/mo) options for collecting reviews.
You'll also get an online review widget that is available to display on your plumbing company's web page. GatherUp also offers has reporting services so you can easily track review progress. Online review monitoring across many different review websites is also available.
GatherUp provides a free 14-day trial option.
Grade.US starts at $110/mo and is geared towards marketing agencies, but you can also sign your plumbing business up for the service and operate it on your own. You can also text 200 customers per month for an additional fee. Also, it has a review carousel you can install on your site.
Grade.US also has a free trial option for 14 days.
Real reviews shouldn't be an issue if you've developed an established review collection procedure that employs the methods mentioned in the previous paragraphs. There's no reason to try to inflate your review profile using suspect methods such as creating fake reviews.
The FTC is taking action on fraudulent reviews since they're viewed as trying to deceive the consumer. Never encourage anyone who hasn't been one of your customers to write an online review on Google or elsewhere.
Don't let your family members or friends write reviews for your company. Don't hire third-party services companies to give you reviews. These practices aren't restricted to reviews. False endorsements, even the simplest "like" on Facebook, can be seen as deceitful business practices.
Another thing that's not allowed by the FTC is to reward reviews. This has the potential to be a source of trouble for you not only with the FTC but also the review platforms themselves. The review platforms want to make sure that reviews are as authentic as possible so that users trust the review website. Don't incentivize reviews like this - it can get you in hot water with government regulators and review platforms
What it means for your plumbing business is that it is not a good idea to provide any kind of incentive such as prizes, contests, or chances to win, as part of writing a review. If you're providing a high-quality service, you won't need to use these sketchy strategies anyway.
You must respond to reviews as frequently as you can and at a minimum every once a week for the majority of companies. Many of the online review site management companies offer review monitoring that allows you to see when reviews were posted on various review sites. You're going to have to consistently monitor and respond to customer reviews for your plumbing services
In general, you should respond to all of your reviews on the major review sites. This shows your customer that you're engaged in the process and appreciate their feedback. It shows a level of involvement and consideration that a lot of your competitors probably don't possess and it can distinguish you from the rest.
It's simple to respond to a positive review about your business. Let them know it was an honor to be working with them and also thank them for their business.
It seems like positive reviews should be able to stand on their own without comment. However, responding to a positive review is an essential part of online reputation management. It shows that you as the business owner value the opinions of your customers.
It doesn't need to be the business's owner or tech who responds to reviews. Team members can learn how to adequately send an appropriate reply to good reviews.
Your plumbing service may be the best available in your region. Even so, you're going to get a negative review now and then. You've already dealt with difficult customers, and many of these difficult customers leave negative reviews - justified or not.
No one likes to get a negative review, but it shouldn't be a major cause for concern. If you manage the situation properly, it shouldn't be an issue. You actually need to have some negative reviews. Not having any negative reviews can look fake and actually raise doubts in the mind of your potential customer.
Reviews that are negative can be an integral part of running a business - especially if you respond properly. Search Engine Land reports that 90% of those who read reviews won't heavily weight occasional negative reviews. This is true especially if the business owner responds properly. In some cases, negative reviewers will even modify their review to be more positive if the owner intervenes in the right manner.
Negative Reviews: A Marketing Opportunity Geared Towards Prospects
Even though it seems counterintuitive at first, responding properly to negative reviews can work to your advantage. Your response should be more focused on your prospects than the customer who posted the review. Some customers are a lost cause and are never happy - so your response to their negative review must be designed with prospective customers in the forefront of your thoughts. These prospects will be reading the reviews and are analyzing how you choose to handle the situation.
With extremely difficult customers, prospects are likely to notice the customer's erratic behavior and ranting and give you the benefit of the doubt. Be professional. Reacting emotionally to an irate customer in a kneejerk and angry manner will make you look bad. Be measured, rational and thought-through in your response.
If possible, you should try to find a solution. Show that you care. Don't get into arguments.
Negative Reviews Due to Your Mistakes
It happens. No plumbing company does things perfectly all the time. You or a plumber on your team is bound to make the occasional error and botch a plumbing job.
Accept it. Take responsibility for any miscommunications and show kindness. Take steps to make things right with the homeowner. Maybe it was a communication or scheduling error. Or if something wasn't completed correctly with the plumbing services you provided - fix it.
If there was a legitimate communication or customer service issue, you should address it to the customer's satisfaction. The negative review may represent an opportunity for you to overhaul your systems and processes so that the same exact mistakes don't occur in the future.
If You Didn't Do Anything Wrong
Sometimes, despite offering excellent service, you'll get a negative review. These are the ones that are the most difficult to deal with. Again, you don't want to get into a fight with a customer.
Thank them for their comments and sympathize with them. If you can you can reach out directly to them in order to find an answer. Try to do this offline rather than badmouthing the customer online and getting into an argument.
Dealing with Fake Negative Reviews
Fake reviews are maddening to deal with. You'll see reviews from "customers" you never serviced.
Sometimes an individual misidentifies your company as the root of their problem. Other times, unscrupulous competitors will hire services to leave negative reviews about your company.
If you're sure that you're dealing with a fake negative review you'll want to take several steps:
1) Contact the Review Platform
Inform them that the person who wrote the review wasn't a customer of your company.
The review service may not be responsive and oftentimes won't act in response to your complaint. If that happens to you, I recommend you:
2) Respond to the Review
If your review platform allows business owners to reply to reviews, make sure that it is obvious that the person who left the review was not your customer. Continue on to say that your business is committed to providing customers with the best service available. While this review didn't belong to an actual customer, you can emphasize that on the very rare occasions someone isn't happy with your services, you will make every effort to make them happy.
It is vital to keep an eye on the reviews you receive about your plumbing business through the various review platforms available online.
You can conduct a Google search for reviews online for your business by entering the name of your plumbing company and the term "reviews". In the screenshot below, I typed in "applewood plumbing reviews". This is a plumbing company located in Colorado that I have no connection to.
You'll notice that there are reviews and references to the company on many other websites, which show on the first page of the results. The search results for this particular plumbing business shows listings and reviews on multiple websites from around the Internet.
(A) in the screenshot above. The most important place to have reviews for your plumbing business is Google. It will be viewable when potential customers search for your business. Google reviews are worth more than all other review sources taken together. Monitor them and respond.
(B) in th(B) in the screenshot above. In most cases, you'll see Yelp positioned at the top of the results of searches of your plumbing services. Many times - as shown above - a star rating is visible for your Yelp listing right on the results page. Tracking and responding to Yelp reviews is essential for proper reputation management.
(C) and (E) in the image above. Angi.com and HomeAdvisor.com have merged, yet both sites still exist separately as of the time I'm writing this. You may see your site listed for one site - or both as shown in the above screen capture. Monitor both sites closely to maintain the reputation of your plumbing business.
(D) in the screenshot above. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) reviews are actually trusted more than Google Reviews - according to the same BrightLocal study mentioned at the beginning of this post.
Other review sites you might discover when searching for your company may include:
For each of these, and for any listings that appear on the first page or two of search results, be sure to claim your listing and track the reviews that are submitted.
Take note that if your business uses Local Services Ads, Google will automatically email your customers a link to review your business via the Local Services Ads platform. Note that these reviews are only available for Local Services Ads and won't be included in your Google Business Profile reviews. Your Google Business Profile reviews should be collected separately.
Your plumbing company is going to be listed on many websites that are totally out of your control, including review sites. These websites will not allow the removal of your business from their listing.
Review sites can be seen as a method to promote your company. Get your listing published and claimed on all the major review websites. All reviews, whether positive or negative, should receive a response - especially on the major review websites.
If a customer leaves you with a critical review, whether the fault is yours or not, do your best to rectify the issue. Try to resolve conflicts offline, and don't ever get into a disagreement with customers on the Internet.
Customers who are considering buying from you can read your reviews and evaluate your professionalism. They will also be able to judge your response to difficult situations. Occasional negative reviews are an unavoidable part of running a business. Responding to all reviews in a professional, considerate way will leave a positive impression on prospects.