For better or worse, the internet is now a major part of every business. Many customers search for reviews about potential contractors before committing to a company, making what they find online about your business extremely important. In fact, upward of 90% of people make decisions based on what they see in online reviews.
The solar industry is becoming more competitive and your online reputation, in addition to excellent customer service, is what sets your business apart. Your positive online presence is crucial to gaining – and retaining – customers.
Read on to find out how you can build your reputation with reviews, as well as making the most of Google and maintaining active social media accounts.
Receiving and handling reviews
Ensuring your customers leave reviews about your business is of the utmost importance, because lack thereof gives off the impression of either an illegitimate or bad business.
The best way to get good reviews is, unsurprisingly, to provide fantastic customer service. People will be inclined to leave a positive online review after a great experience with your company.
Providing superior service will lead to word-of-mouth referrals, as well. Providing a positive, professional experience for your customers is the best way to gain their trust and continued business. A great online review is imperative, and the more you have, the better.
Work on getting reviews
If for some reason you do not receive any reviews organically, simply ask your satisfied customers to leave some! You can politely mention that leaving a review on relevant platforms, such as SolarReviews, Yelp, Google, or Angie’s list will help your business grow. This step is especially crucial if you are a newer company or are trying to grow your online presence.
Another important step is to make sure that you respond to reviews that customers leave you. Taking the time to thank them for their business and support will go a long way in showing your current and potential customers that you are attentive to their needs. It’s an easy way of showing that doing the job well is important to you.
Reviews show potential customers that your business is one they can trust. It is key to maintain consistent reviews, because if they are months or years-old, it can seem like your business does not exist anymore, or that your most recent customers were not happy with your work. In fact, 48% of customers only focus on reviews from the previous two weeks from the date they looked you up.
Handling negative reviews
There’s always the possibility of receiving a negative review. It’s best to respond to them with calm and professionalism – never in a retaliatory or angry way.
When responding to bad reviews, be sure to gain as much information from the customer as you can in order to understand how you can fix the issue. A great approach for this is to apologize, ask for their contact information, and handle the issue offline.
If the customer is unsatisfied with something that can be easily fixed, immediately amending the situation free of chage can make all the difference in the world. Or, when appropriate, offering a partial or full refund might be worth it. It will set you back a bit, but leaving a customer happy can pay for itself through word-of-mouth reviews.
The best-case scenario for a negative review is that the customer will go back and update their post to explain how you fixed the situation. This will show others that they can trust your business to install solar panels correctly, and you are willing to make things right in the eyes of the customer.
Google can help grow your business in several simple ways. First, you should claim your business listing on Google Maps. This will allow you to publicly share your contact information, making it the first thing people see when they Google your company.
Be sure to keep an eye out for what people are saying about your company by regularly Googling your business’ name. Unfortunately, it is very hard to remove negative content online but you can still attempt to do so by contacting the content writer or publication.
If that approach proves to be unsuccessful, you can write new content, like a blog or article, that will rank higher on Google and push the negative content down. While you can work with SEO consultants to help drive this, the negative content will eventually be moved further down on Google’s search engine results page if your company consistently receives positive news and reviews.
Setting a Google alert email can help you monitor what is written about you in the news or online. You will automatically receive information about any online content containing your company’s name.
Be active on social media
Utilizing social media can help you to humanize your brand. Determine which social platforms make sense for your business and maintain consistent postings of relevant topics either written by you or reputable sources. Many business owners turn to Facebook to start.
Maintaining a social media profile ultimately drives people to your website. You can also use social media to enhance positive news about your business, repost positive reviews, and respond to customer comments or questions. Many customers use social media by messaging or commenting on a company’s page to ask questions about services offered.
Making the most of your online presence
There is no way to avoid being online as a business owner, so make the most of it by maintaining an active, positive presence. Be sure to encourage your customers to leave reviews and quickly respond to negative feedback.
When possible, fix the issues that unhappy customers had with your service. And remember to maintain an active social media presence so that customers can learn to trust your company and ask questions directly to your team.
By Lachlan Fleet, solar installation expert at SolarReviews.
— Solar Builder magazine