What’s the value of customer reviews on Yelp, Google, Facebook, or HomeAdvisor? In 2021, online customer reviews play a much broader role than ever before. They are no longer a “nice to have” differentiator, but they are central to how homeowners find your business and how they think about your company brand.
As a general rule, your online business presence is an extension of your business brand. How you represent yourself and engage with your customers online is a great indicator of the importance you give to customer service offline. These review sites are great opportunities for potential customers to learn more about your business. Great reviews can help you:
- Build credibility and trust among homeowners;
- Get exposure to prospective customers who are browsing the review sites;
- Show your competitive strength or what makes your business different;
- Demonstrate your presence in your local community
You can see that having online customer reviews is an important part of building your business brand. But did you know that reviews are also attracting homeowners and closing jobs?
Let’s look at a customer journey. When homeowners are ready to do a roofing project, they typically search for a local roofing contractor on Google and use what is known as a “category search”—like using the terms “roofing contractor”—and they will see the following, from top to bottom: paid ads, the “Google 3 pack,” and organic results.
Most prominent is the Google 3 pack, consisting of selected three business listings that Google shows local searchers. It’s heavily influenced by the number of customer reviews. After the Google 3 pack, those searching will see other roofers listed near their location. Unfortunately, many homeowners don’t take the time or effort to "View All" and may prefer to go with options in the 3 pack.
Alternatively, for homeowners who know the business name, as in the case of a referral, they search for the business by name and find its Google business listing. This profile shows general business info and "Reviews from the web" from other review platforms such HomeAdvisor, Facebook, and Houzz. And immediately below this section, Google offers up its reviews and illustrates how reviews are presented at just about every online customer touchpoint.
Why do reviews take up such prime real estate on the Google Business listing? Simply because they play a big role when homeowners choose their service provider. We find that homeowners:
- Are looking for reviews: A survey found that 87% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses in 2020. (BrightLocal);
- Choose businesses based on their rating (Whitespark Local Search Ranking Factors Survey 2020);
- Want to see recent reviews: 73% of consumers only pay attention to reviews written in the last month (Bright Local)
As a business owner, you need to not only have some customer reviews, but you must have an overall high rating, with a high number of reviews, AND have reviews that are written in the last month. That’s no small feat for most roofers who are busy with jobs.
So how do you keep fresh reviews coming in each month? It takes planning and must be incorporated into your business processes. You can download our guide, 20 Hacks to Get Reviews, which might inspire your team. And if you prefer a hands-off approach, you can automate requests and start building a healthy pipeline of reviews so that you are not constantly playing catch-up.