The water damage restoration industry is a referral based business. More often than not, a flood victim learns about your company because they were sent your way by their home insurance provider or another contractor.
Although it might seem like a referral would be enough to secure that business, that actually hasn’t been our experience. Instead, in a world where anyone can Google anything, we’re finding these referrals are doing their own research, looking for proof of reliability based on our online credibility.
Your online credibility is about the reputation you have built online as an expert in your field. When a potential customer searches out your company online, they’re looking for proof that you know what you’re doing and will do it well. Building this credibility can be accomplished in a variety of ways and we suggest that water damage restoration business owners work at building their credibility from all angles. Here are five specific ways to boost your online credibility.
Bolster Your Google Reviews
An estimated 88 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as they trust a referral from a friend. This is why we have placed so much importance on increasing your Google reviews. Although it is considered bad practice to incentivize leaving a good review, it is OK to simply ask and encourage previous customers to share their experience with your company online.
Google reviews can be bolstered in a variety of ways.
- Make leaving a review simple by offering a direct link to the review page and education to your customers on how to leave a review.
- Remind customers to review regularly in a variety of ways. Talk about it on your Facebook, add it to your email signature, remind customers to leave a review when they’re invoiced.
- Read and respond to all reviews on your website. This is looked on favorably by both Google and consumers.
- Say “Thank You!” It is against Google policy to incentivize positive reviews, but it is possible to tastefully thank reviewers after the fact with a coupon or gift card.
Give Yelp a Try
Yelp isn’t just for restaurants anymore. Service providers are using this review website and app to build their online credibility, too. In terms of the usefulness of this state, we know there is a direct correlation between a higher star rating and increased revenue.
Like Google, Yelp reviews cannot be bought but previous customers can be encouraged to hop online and share about their experience with your company. We suggest regular reminders with a direct link to the review page sent with invoices, invoice follow ups, and check-ins after the work is complete.
Add Reviews on Your Website
In addition to review sites like Google Reviews and Yelp, including reviews on your website is another way to build your credibility online. At Power Dry, we encourage our existing customer base to complete a customer survey. It is a simple survey, because we found customers are more likely to complete surveys that only take a few minutes.
Once the survey is completely, we reward reviewers with two movie tickets. We also take this opportunity to ask them to share their experience on Google, Yelp, or our company’s Facebook page.
Remind Website Visitors of Your Credibility
While many potential customers will hunt your company down on Google or Yelp, many will start with your website. This is a good way to make a strong first impression by pointing out the strong reviews your company has received lately.
Use your website as a chance to brag a little about your good work. Share reviews and high star ratings from Google and Yelp on your home page. Just be sure that, if the review was shared privately through a survey response form, you get permission from the customer first before adding it to your website.
Create a System for Online Reputation Management
Like any other process within your business, effective management of your online reputation will only be successful if it is automated through a system. Make monitoring review websites and responding to reviews the job of one person in the office. Include these tasks in check-off lists or set calendar reminders to make sure your online presence is being monitored at least twice a month, if not more.
At More Floods, we provide our Network Members with the training they need to effectively manage their online credibility. To learn more about joining More Floods, click here or call 1-866-667-3356.
For more information about this topic, check out our Water Damage University Video at http://www.morefloodsmembers.com/webinar/february-2016-2/importance-of-online-credibility/ .