I just sat through an hour long webinar on the importance of reviews for local businesses. The presenter was from Yelp, the leading site for local reviews. One of the questions was “Do you think asking for reviews is a bad thing”? It was kind of a roundtable discussion and the fellow from Yelp answered that it was not a bad thing. However the guy on the discussion with him, just threw him under the bus, saying that asking your customer to leave you a review on Yelp or any review site is a terrible thing. He followed up by saying that you are gaming the system.
I could not disagree more, in fact I would venture to say that this gentleman has never run a business before. There is a small group on people out there that see themselves as the purists, the social media purists, the review site purists. The reality is that these people are not about making money or building a business.
Review sites like Yelp, CitySearch and Google + Local are all about promoting your local business through reviews. If you give a good service, then why is it a bad thing to ask a happy customer to leave you a positive review on one of these websites. Plumbers are the types of businesses that need to earn a certain level of trust, you’re going inside peoples homes, their personal spaces. It’s only fair that home owners have a place to go to read about positive of negative issues.
For the plumber, review sites are a way to help grow your business, provide a solid service and capture positive reviews. Get a lot of positive reviews and watch your business grow.
Every once in a while I have a plumbing client tell me review sites are bad, what if someone leaves a negative review, then what? Negative reviews can be a very powerful marketing tool. There are two types of unhappy customers out there. One that is not satisfied with your service, does not say anything but never uses your service again. This type of customer is bad for your business, you did them wrong and they don’t want you to fix the problem. They just never want to see you again. The second type of customer is the one that leaves a bad review online. This type of customer is crying out for help, they don’t feel like they received the best service and want you to know about it. This is a great opportunity for you because you get to fix this customers problem and regain their trust and hopefully win them back.
The next part is that it happend in a public forum. Since you fixed the customers problem they will be more than happy to update their negative review to a positive. Now although they can’t erase the negative comment from the site, everyone who reads this will see that you were able to fix the problem. You see customers know no one is perfect, and just want to know that if there is a problem you are the type of business person that owns up to it, and fixes the problem. This is worth it’s weight in gold.
Turning a negative into a positive can result is good relationships and lots of business.