Google Reviews drive business for thousands of service companies. While only one of many ranking factors, client reviews have been the deciding factors for homeowners for decades. It’s no wonder that Google also prizes this feedback as they consider which websites to rank highest.
While the COVID-19 crisis has temporarily halted the creation of new ones, knowing how to collect and manage these reviews will be essential for your company’s future. In this handy guide, we dig into the easiest ways to protect your brand reputation, expand your collection of reviews, and respond to customer complaints. Grab a pen, paper, and take notes.
Keep hanging in there!
Important Lessons For Roofing Professionals
- Google Reviews don’t happen by themselves. You have to actively ask for them!
- The best defense is a good offense. Increase your positive reviews to dwarf negative ones.
- Learn how to respond effectively to complaints. Future clients will be very impressed!
- Fake reviews can cause lost trust, GMB listing cancellations, and even business failure.
How Google Reviews Work
Google Reviews are directly connected to your Google My Business (GMB) account. To leave a review, clients perform a direct search of your brand name, locate the knowledge graph on the side of search results – this assumes you have a GMB account, and you definitely should! – and click on your reviews. From there, they submit a star rating for your service, and leave a message about their experience. This helps other consumers with similar heating and cooling needs create an clearer picture of your company.
Why Google Reviews Matter for SEO
Google Reviews garner more visibility than any other platform around. That’s because they’re featured prominently on your Google My Business profile. They’ll also appear on your Google Maps listings, and any local map packs your company wins in search. While Facebook Recommendations and other feedback platforms certainly offer their own unique user bases, people rely on Google Reviews more than any of these.
That means stakes are high when it comes to this very public feedback tool.
On a positive note, happy client reviews prove to both Google and consumers that your business is worth the investment. Reviews show relevant activity, which Google relies on to generate the best Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) possible. If you aren’t familiar with the layout of SERPs, make sure you check out our video on search marketing, which offers key ranking factors for each section.
Prospective clients heavily depend on reviews when making their decision to invest or look elsewhere. The more recent and relevant your feedback, the more confident they’ll feel about choosing your heating and cooling services. Be sure to collect them as consistently as possible. Speaking of which…
How to Collect Reviews
Whether your company uses sophisticated software or old fashioned approach, collecting reviews boils down to one basic task: asking for them. If American consumers have proven anything, it’s that they have a very short term attention span. You need to ask your customers for their review as quickly as possible upon finishing any project. The longer you wait to request that review, the more goodwill is lost to forgetfulness.
A quick note: Google Reviews should be as natural and unfiltered as possible. You may ask clients to provide information about the services you provided and (perhaps) the project leader, but you shouldn’t ask for anything beyond that. Never offer to incentivise or compensate someone for a review. That includes discounts, gift cards, or direct payments to the clients involved. We’ll talk more about this later.
How to Handle Negativity
It’s so easy to take negative Google Reviews personally. After all, business depends heavily on maintaining a productive, positive reputation. Instead of immediately hopping on your GMB account, busting out your best writing, and making your case about how wrong their complaint is, pause. If you’re feeling heated, walk away from the issue for a few minutes.
You’ll need a cool head for tackling the problem. Here’s how to address negative reviews:
How to Respond to Negative Reviews
Analyze the Problem
Try to figure out what happened. Was there an issue in communication with the client? Did a sub make a mistake on a portion of the project? Even if there was no direct error on your team’s side, there may still be an opportunity to improve your services. So keep an open mind.
Be sure to put yourself in the client’s shoes too! So many complaints are the product of misunderstood expectations or lack of communication. Try to understand what that client is going through before you try to provide a solution.
Reply Directly to the Review, Then Take Things Offline
Don’t rush this step! Write a courteous, sympathetic response to the complaint. Keep in mind, it’s okay to apologize even if you haven’t done anything wrong. After all, you want all your customers to feel satisfied with your services. Offer to hear more of the client’s problem, but take the matter offline. You don’t need to continue the conversation in Google Reviews for everyone to see!
Ask the client to call or email you with a description of what went wrong. If the situation warrants it, consider providing free touch ups, a discount, or another solution. Remember, fixing the problem in a timely manner should be the primary concern. You need to get this step right!
Ask Them to Change Their Review
Once you feel confident the client has been satisfied, it’s time to move on to the final step. Remind the client how important their review is to your business. Politely ask if they would be comfortable with updating their review to a higher rating, or removing it completely. Most customers will be more than happy to update their original review. You may even get some free brand recognition from it!
After that, simply move on. Continue collecting Google Reviews from all your happy clients. Just ask immediately after you finish their project, or within the next few days at least. Enthusiasm fades over time, and even the happiest clients can be forgetful.
How to Treat Fake Reviews
Treat them like the plague. Avoid fake reviews at all costs, as they’ve been the death of businesses. Fake reviews destroy trust with clients. Just as important, they destroy trust with Google, who may respond by suspending reviews. Google may even suspend your GMB account, which would severely limit your ability to appear in localized search.
Essentially, fake reviews could make your business disappear from search. We’ve seen one business lose millions in annual revenue because of review snafus. That’s a risk you cannot afford to take. When it comes to reviews…
- Never pay for someone to provide a review.
- Never ask a non-client to provide a review.
- Never create your own reviews.
- Never create fake reviews on competitors accounts to hurt them.
- Never offer incentives for reviews.
- Just ask for them after each project.
Google Reviews create trust and connection with prospective clients. They also serve as a key ranking factor for local search, where the majority of online leads come from these days. Collecting them matters. So be sure to consistently ask clients for them, and you’ll notice stronger brand growth as a result.
Want help collecting those reviews and supercharging them for search? Try out our BrandREVU software, which comes with all of our custom designed websites. We’ve helped brand new businesses earn local map pack rankings in a matter of months, and we’d love to help you too! Call the Roofing Webmasters at (800) 353-5758 for more details.
Additional Resources From Roofing Webmasters
Related Podcasts and Articles
– Local SEO Updates for Roofers (Podcast)
– Survey Says: Roofers Need Reviews to Excel in 2020 (Research)
– Roofing SEO Conference 2020 (Podcast)
– Savage Exteriors Inc. (Case Study)
– Online Reviews and Reputation Management for Roofers
– Buy Roofing Leads