Updated: Jul 2
From my Carennedy Solutions Blog November 2013: (edited 2015)
If you are a homeowner, at some point in time you are going to need to hire a contractor. The question is who to trust? HomeStars.com is a review gathering site for the home service industry in Canada and they help homeowners decide which contractor to hire.
Ever read a review?
In 2007 when I was posting reviews on epinions.com, reviews were written mostly for products. Today, according to Bright Local's 2013 Customer Survey - 76% of consumers read reviews on any product or service, before they make their final buying decision. Click for stats
Reviews are taking over from advertising and marketing as the go to source for trustworthy information on a product or service. What does that mean for your company? It means that you are no longer the only person telling your story to the marketplace.
HomeStars.com enables home service companies in Canada to build a positive online reputation by collecting reviews from their customers in one place.\
How do you Mitigate the Damage of Bad Reviews?
We all know that unhappy customers will tell as many people as they can. Today, thanks to the Internet, that means the world. Make sure you have a large source of 'good' reviews online and that you reply to those unhappy reviewers in a professional manner.
Bad reviews are a Good thing.
Bad reviews increase the credibility and authenticity of all your reviews because they prove the profile is unedited and real. Hiding bad reviews won't help anyone's credibility. Everyone knows that things go wrong, that there are some real nit picky people out there, and there are two sides of every story. Bad reviews give you the opportunity to respond with your Customer Service message.
If responses to reviews are written in a professional manner, outlining the options the reviewer had, then it can make the company look good. If a company responds by bullying or slamming the reviewer, it'll only make the reviewer's point.
What about Fake Reviews?
I'm sure you've read about fake reviews. The good news is HomeStars.com verifies reviews to ensure a transaction actually took place. If a company suspects a review as being 'faked,' the onus is on the homeowner to prove that it isn't. If HomeStars suspects the company of 'faking' their own reviews they will investigate and penalise the company.
Reviews are no longer just for products, books, and blogs. The Internet has changed the way people make buying and hiring decisions. You can choose to ignore it and get left behind, or you can embrace the change and grow your business. It's your choice.
MarketAPeel helps professionals and businesses create a review gathering process and implement it to build their online reputation. Click here to book a chat.
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Shannon Peel is a Professional Marketing Manager and Storyteller. Her company, MarketAPeel, helps Professionals define their personal brands and tell their story through different channels, including writing their book.
The Power of Real Estate Reviews
Positive ratings and reviews are extremely valuable in the real estate industry. Home buyers are online looking for available properties and guess how they begin their research? Reviews.
A home is the largest financial decision a person makes in their lifetime and reviews are the perfect way to build that trust and credibility that aspiring home buyers are looking for.
Reviews are a powerful force when it comes to driving new business. Do you have processes in place to collect reviews on a regular basis within your real estate business?
If you haven’t already, ensure you are asking all your happy clients to leave you a review in places such as your Google my Business listing, Zillow and rate-my-agent.com.
From there, the ways to recycle these reviews for marketing purposes are plentiful!
Let’s delve into ways that you can be getting more reviews for your real estate business and using these to boost your marketing efforts.
Don't fear reviews.
Good and bad are opportunities for you to tell your story, show your integrity, and inform about your policies.
Let's say you get a horrible review from a client who wasn't happy with your service. You did everything you could to make them happy, you even gave them the kitchen sink and they still sunk you online.
Has this happened to you?
It happens to small businesses all the time because some people are jerks. They want to get everything for free and have you thank them for the opportunity to serve them. These are the people you don't want to have as clients, they don't deserve your service.
When I worked in the online review industry I had clients who found themselves in this position and would call me looking for help. The good news was that the review brought them to the table and they could tell their side of the story in a professional manner. It also meant that the business owner could bring all his happy reviews to the table to offset the one bad review.
Online reviews are like a scale. Good on one side, bad on the other. As long as you have enough good reviews to offset the bad ones, you're golden. In fact, your more golden then if all you have are good reviews, because people don't trust companies with no scars.
Reviews and customer comments on social media are part of your story. Draw on them to show the marketplace why they should contact you.