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Why You Should ask for Online Reviews

A wise lit­tle rab­bit once told his deer friend, If you can’t say some­thing nice, don’t say noth­in’ at all.”

If only that were true on the internet…

In today’s econ­o­my, where it prac­ti­cal­ly requires a pop­u­lar vote to decide where to pick up a piz­za on the way home, busi­ness­es live and thrive on their abil­i­ty to gen­er­ate pos­i­tive online reviews. We all know word-of-mouth is a tried-and-true way to grow your busi­ness, and it’s prob­a­bly the most rep­utable way to go for those who have been able to cul­ti­vate that return cus­tomer base. But the days of pass­ing along the busi­ness card out of your Rolodex are over — and online reviews are king.

A 2017 study con­duct­ed by inter­na­tion­al search firm Bright­Lo­cal revealed some pret­ty shock­ing numbers:

  • 97% of con­sumers looked online for local businesses
  • 73% of con­sumers trust a local busi­ness more due to pos­i­tive reviews
  • 49% of con­sumers need at least a four-star rat­ing before they choose to use a business

Our trust­ed part­ner, Nice­Job, also gath­ered data. Here’s what their online review sta­tis­tics reveal:

  • 97% of cus­tomers say reviews impact their buy­ing decisions
  • Peo­ple think reviews are, on aver­age, 12x more cred­i­ble than a company’s own sales copy
  • Web­site vis­i­tors are 74% more like­ly to con­tact a com­pa­ny that shows cus­tomer reviews online than a com­pa­ny that doesn’t

That shows the pow­er of a pos­i­tive online rep­u­ta­tion! Which means it’s more impor­tant than ever to cul­ti­vate your business’s rep­u­ta­tion through online reviews.

So how do you go about get­ting those reviews? Turns out…just ask for them. But as we found out at White Cas­tle Roof­ing, there’s a way to do that with­out seem­ing too over-eager or high-pres­sure — or too hands-off, so as not to receive a review at all.

First of all, let’s get this out of the way — cus­tomers aren’t going to review you out of the good­ness of their hearts. Think of all the busi­ness inter­ac­tions you had this week: buy­ing gro­ceries, pick­ing up your morn­ing cof­fee, going to the bank, fill­ing a pre­scrip­tion, get­ting gas, and so on. Did you leave a review for any of those busi­ness­es? Odds are, the answer is no. So it’s non­sen­si­cal to assume cus­tomers will just leave you reviews because you did a good job. Don’t expect it with­out asking.

And when you do ask, it needs to be at-their-fin­gers easy! At White Cas­tle Roof­ing, for a full year, we sent a lit­tle card with our thank-you notes, with step-by-step direc­tions on leav­ing a Google review on mobile or desk­top plat­forms. I wish I could say the reviews poured in — but they didn’t. As we came to real­ize, it just wasn’t imme­di­ate enough. A cus­tomer, even a hap­py one, isn’t like­ly to set down their cur­rent task to log in to their lap­top (or even their phone) and leave you a review — but if they don’t do it right then, it isn’t like­ly that they’ll come back to it.

Instead, here’s what has worked WON­DERS for us — to the tune of 90 reviews (some Google, some Face­book, and some on our web­site) through the first two quar­ters of 2018. Some may not be applic­a­ble to every busi­ness, but if you’re a con­trac­tor, this mod­el could be mod­i­fied for a whole host of fields — like­ly includ­ing yours.

  • First, we got over our fear of awk­ward­ness and just start­ed ask­ing cus­tomers, on the spot, dur­ing a post-job inspec­tion, if they were pleased with the ser­vice enough that they would be will­ing to review us. That step was prob­a­bly the hard­est to over­come! But with good train­ing, it’s paid off. We assign one of our Project Man­agers to each job, who estab­lish­es a rela­tion­ship with the cus­tomer on the day of the project by intro­duc­ing them­selves as the day-of con­tact for any ques­tions or con­cerns. After the job is com­plete, the Project Man­ag­er vis­its the job site to com­plete an inspec­tion, and touch base with the home­own­er again — in per­son, if at all pos­si­ble. He explains what we did, and that he has checked over every­thing to ensure it’s up to our rig­or­ous stan­dards and invites any ques­tions or con­cerns. Only then, after the cus­tomer has stat­ed they are pleased, does he ask, out­right, if they would be will­ing to review us — and often, that answer is yes!
  • In the event that the Project Man­ag­er was unable to reach the cus­tomer after his inspec­tion, the sales­man who sold the job reach­es back out to the cus­tomer, ide­al­ly via e‑mail. He goes over what the Project Man­ag­er would have said — the scope of the job, any devi­a­tions from the plan, etc. — and thanks the cus­tomer for their busi­ness. He also includes with that e‑mail a Before and After com­pos­ite from Com­pa­ny­Cam, and link to review us.
  • Final­ly, we part­nered with a dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing com­pa­ny to help man­age our online rep­u­ta­tion through their review plat­form, which has helped us immense­ly! But it’s still pos­si­ble to make it easy to leave a review with­out this app. If you can make it too easy for the cus­tomer to say no, they’re more like­ly to say yes! Include a direct link to review you on Google, Face­book, or Yelp in your e‑mails, and if you uti­lize a Project Man­ag­er, set up a stan­dard e‑mail with those links that he can send to cus­tomers on the spot. Tech­nol­o­gy is your friend here — use it!

Ulti­mate­ly, as Bright­Lo­cal reveals, 68% of con­sumers will leave a review when asked — but only 74% report being asked in the first place. But ask and ye shall receive! And the best way to ask, that we’ve found, is to com­mu­ni­cate what you did, polite­ly ask for feed­back, and fol­low up on it.

And one more thing — when a cus­tomer does leave you a review, respond! Be sure to thank them for their kind words. Express your appre­ci­a­tion for the oppor­tu­ni­ty to do busi­ness with them. And if the review wasn’t a pos­i­tive one (they do hap­pen…), thank the cus­tomer for the oppor­tu­ni­ty to make it right, explain what you’re doing to achieve that, and reach out to the cus­tomer offline to work it out. A full 30% of cus­tomers stat­ed that busi­ness­es respond­ing to reviews is key in their opin­ion of the busi­ness — and that’s an easy one to nail since the hard­er part (get­ting the review in the first place) is already done!


Man­ag­ing your online rep­u­ta­tion is impor­tant. But it doesn’t have to be rock­et sci­ence. Just a lit­tle extra com­mu­ni­ca­tion and a lit­tle bit of tech­nol­o­gy can make a world of dif­fer­ence in your busi­ness. So har­ness the pow­er of word of mouth, and start ask­ing your cus­tomers for their online feed­back today!

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