Question: What do 90% of your clients do before they buy landscaping or lawn care services?
Answer: They read online reviews.
While there are many fantastic ways to promote your lawn care or landscaping business, online reviews can actually help market your business for you.
If people like what you do, they’ll tell other people about it. They’ll tell friends, family, coworkers, or neighbors. They might even talk you up on social media or post a great online review about you.
And when it comes to online reviews, you want two kinds of them: 5-star reviews and new 5-star reviews—and lots of them.
Online reviews serve as free advertising, give your business greater visibility, set you above your competitors, and can increase your revenue.
How Online Reviews Can Make New Clients Care About Your Lawn Care Company
Online reviews are word of mouth for the Internet age. Nearly 90% of consumers read online reviews to determine the quality of a local business, and 39% do so on a regular basis.
Consumers read online reviews because they trust them:
- 88% say they trust online reviews as much as recommendations from neighbors and friends.
- 70% say positive reviews make them trust a local business more.
- 85% of customers will only trust a business with at least 10 positive reviews.
However, just as positive online reviews create trust in a business, negative online reviews “have become the number one factor” that causes consumers to form negative opinions.
While nearly nine out of 10 consumers will base their buying decisions on online reviews, 80% will change their minds based on negative reviews. Only 14% will even think of doing business with a company with online reviews averaging two stars or less, and 19% will take their business elsewhere after reading a single bad review.
5-Star Reviews will do many things for your company:
- Drive up your overall average rating
- Clients are more likely to disregard any negative reviews if it’s surrounded by positive ones
- Make your company appear higher in search engine rankings (you will appear higher on the page when people search for lawn care and landscaping services on Google or Bing)
Positive online reviews are critical to any local business, especially lawn care and landscapers.
The Most Important Places to Get Reviewed Online
The location of your online reviews is just as important as the quality of them. Here are the main places to get reviews:
- Your company’s Facebook page (Set one up if you don’t have one.)
- Google+ (Sign your company up at business.google.com.)
Small business listings are also great places to collect reviews, as well as generate leads and referrals. Make sure your business is listed at the following:
5 Tricks to Get More 5-Star Lawn Care and Landscaping Reviews
In general, make it as easy as possible for happy clients to leave reviews. While you shouldn’t be afraid to ask your customers for them, you don’t want to pester them either. Don’t ask for a review when you send them the bill, either, and don’t try to get all of your reviews at once.
Instead, try these tips to get dozens of 5-star for your lawn care company:
- Ask for a review in person after a client is really pleased with your work. Appeal to their empathy. Tell them how much a 5-star review would mean to you.
- Ask for reviews on your website—but only where your satisfied clients go.
- Include links to review sites in your Email signatures.
- Request a review by email after they’ve sent you a positive email.
- Find ways to offer incentives in exchange for reviews. Try online review competitions or raffles. For example, everyone who sends in a positive review will be automatically entered to win a gift card, iPhone, or a free flower install.
Why You Should Respond to Your Reviews
Online reviews are a great way to build relationships with your customers, protect (or repair) your reputation, and show leads and prospective customers that you have the highest quality customer service.
Reviews come in three categories—good, lukewarm, and bad—and the folks at Landscape Leadership have put together some great tips on how to respond to all three. We summarized them below.
If you get a good (4 stars or better) review:
- Gather any information you can about the client. Try to determine their identity without stepping on their toes.
- Quickly (in a week or less) thank them for their time and kind words, and let them know you’ll be sharing their review with your team. (This will reinforce your company’s commitment to customer satisfaction.)
- Write a clever, original response for each good review. Write a few sentences, highlighting the services and other key information other prospective clients might be interested in. Use keywords if you can.
If you get a lukewarm (typically 3 stars) review:
- Address the review quickly, within 12 hours or less.
- Gather as many details as you can. Attempt to identify the client and contact them directly. If you can’t, provide a way for them to contact you.
- Let the client know you hear and empathize with their concerns. Ask for more details without making excuses, deflecting responsibility, or assuming you know about everything that happened.
- Highlight—and thank the client for—the positive aspects of their review.
- Acknowledge/repeat any positive elements of their comment.
If your lawn care business gets a bad online review:
- Respond even more quickly than after a lukewarm review, trying to reach the client personally in order to get as many details as possible. If you can’t identify or reach them, let them know.
- Tell the client that you take their concerns and goals very seriously. Tell them that this type of situation doesn’t typically happen, that are you are very concerned that it happened, and that you will be discussing with your team ASAP. Don’t lecture, attack, accuse, or patronize the client. (Use caring, yet professional, language in your response.)
- Assume nothing. Ask for as many details as possible without making excuses or deflecting responsibility.• Document all the steps you take to address and rectify the issue.
Don’t let negative feedback bring you down.
If you put in the work and make your clients happy, you’re sure to get more referrals and better reviews. Pretty soon, all you’ll have to worry about is how you’re going to get all your work done. And that’s a pretty great problem to have…
Bill Colrus serves as a marketing writer and social media editor for Service Autopilot. Bill got his start as a reporter for his hometown newspaper while still in high school, and has spent more than two decades creating content and content strategies for publications, companies, and clients. He takes pride in providing service business owners with practical information and inspiration that will help them achieve their goals.