Several friends have asked me recently how I have generated a large number of reviews for Lazy Day Pools. Given the importance of the subject, I thought I would share what I have learned and how I have accomplished my review goals each month. Hopefully, you will find it helpful for your business.
Before I cover my three biggest review strategies let me fill you in on the basics of online reviews. Having great authentic reviews about your business is just about as important as anything else you do. Great reviews drive business growth..it’s as simple as that. There are a few things to keep in mind when you think about a review strategy for your business. First, reviews must be authentic. If you start creating fake reviews for your business it will only harm you. The algorithms are just too good to trick anymore so don’t even waste your time trying. Second, bad reviews aren’t always bad. As long as you reply to each review respectfully and quickly with your side of the story most customers will give you a break…especially if you have ten great reviews for every one bad review. I will not do business with any company that has a perfect record of 1000 five-star reviews and no negative reviews at all. Something just isn’t right if this is the case! Third, you must be very proactive with your review strategy. Your customers have their own lives…their own problems…and chances are (if you’re doing a good job) they don’t think about you very much. This means you need to take on the responsibility of being proactive.
The following three strategies have worked great for me and I think they will produce the same results for your business. I am listing them in order of effectiveness from the most productive strategy to the least productive.
Review Your Customers Before They Review You
At the risk of sounding completely insane, I am going to go ahead and say that the results I have produced using this strategy have been mind boggling. Who woulda thunk that something like this would work so well! Before I discovered this strategy I would have to make 11 verbal requests for online reviews just to receive one. My customers loved me but they would get busy and just forget their promise to review my company. This customer review thing is something I found just a couple of months ago and it has allowed me to spend a lot less time and energy generating reviews for Lazy Day Pools and has produced about 10 times the response. For every two customers I review, I am getting one review in return. That’s a 50% ROI and it takes like ten minutes to do! Also, every now and then I get a bad review from a customer (sometimes deserved…sometimes not) and this strategy allows me to quickly stack great reviews on top of the bad review which, of course, means that potential clients must read five great reviews before seeing the one bad review. It gives me a feeling of power over my own online reputation that I never really had before.
So how do you “Review your customers before they review you”? I use onegreatcustomer.com as my review platform. Here’s how it works. You log in and write a five-star review on one of your customers. The system allows you to choose whether or not to have your review emailed to your customer and I always choose to email them. The customer receives an email that contains a copy of the review you wrote about them as well as a request to return the favor and links to popular review sites. The reason the ROI is so high with this strategy is the Law of Reciprocity. Psychologically speaking, when you do something nice for someone they feel compelled to return the favor in order to keep from feeling like they owe you something. I’m not sure about psychological theories but I know it works and that’s really all I care about! By the way, it is super cheap too!$$$!
Another couple of interesting things I have noticed is that my customers who respond to my review by writing one for me in return tend to spend a lot more time and effort writing the review which is pretty cool. Also, I have been able to move some of my clients from liking Lazy Day Pools to loving Lazy Day Pools simply by writing a great review about them! I suppose it is kinda hard to write a bad review about someone who just wrote you a great review. Weird how that works.
Here is a sample review I completed yesterday:
Joe Williamson Lawrenceville, GA
Mr. Williamson is a longtime customer and we appreciate him very much. He hired us last year to install a pool liner and we have maintained his pool on a weekly basis ever since. He has been a great customer for Lazy Day and we would recommend him with no reservations.
Anyway, check it out and see if it works as well for your business.
Do a Great Job
This may sound simple but it’s true. If you didn’t do a good job for your client/customer you don’t really have the right to request a five-star review. In fact, you will probably harm your reputation pretty badly if you ask for a review from someone whose expectations you have failed. None of us are perfect. We all make mistakes. But be cognizant of the truth when it comes to the level of quality you have provided your customer. Be realistic and consider their verbal and non-verbal cues. When I collect final payment from a client I can tell if they love us. They ooze clues about how happy they are. When a customer is dissatisfied I know that too. It is the customers that fall somewhere between love and hate that represent the largest population of review writers. These are the ones you must win over. Writing a review about them can do the trick or you can make a follow-up call after the fact asking them to help you improve your business by providing feedback.
Ask for the Review
Did you know that most people (like 80%) actually have a slight fear of asking a customer for a review? As a result of this slight fear, business owners, and sales pros don’t simply ask for the review. Asking for reviews is part of my sales process. It the last part of the sales process and is as important as the initial sales call itself. Up until a couple of months ago, I would actually check off a checkbox on the back of the contract TEN SECONDS AFTER I collected final payment stating that I had asked for a review. This has changed recently because I now check the box when I review my customer online. I made this change because I was getting much better results by reviewing my customers than by simply asking for the review face to face. Even if you choose not to start reviewing your customers before they review you it is imperative that you start forcing yourself to ask for the reviews.
Missing positive online reviews is a mortal sin for your business and competitors who outperform you in the online review realm will slowly chip away at the edges of your business until your business starts to bleed out. Protect yourself and make review building part of your corporate culture.
I hope this information has helped you in some way and remember if you have any questions at all about swimming pools OR building the business of your dreams feel free to email us through the contact page of lazydaypools.com.
My closest friends call me by my USMC callsign “Wardawg” or one of a few lesser known nicknames such as Chocolate Thunder, 12 swingin, ( TMIMU) The Most Interesting Man in the Universe, or Francisco D’Anaconia.