Reputation management


Consumers in today’s day and age often refer to online reviews before selecting a restaurant, salon or other service industry. Bearing this in mind, remodelers need to be cognizant of their online presence and the number of potential customers viewing their social media pages and online reviews.

Sites to consider

Steve Stewart, president of Landscape East & West, Clackamas, Ore., finds Houzz, Pinterest and Angie’s List to be particularly effective sites. 

On Houzz, Stewart stresses the importance of getting your name out there, building a profile and posting projects. “It’s also really important when you post your projects to use keyword identifiers,” he says. “It’s more than putting the picture up there and walking away from it. You get a project up there and let people know what it is because when they’re searching, they’ll search by geographic area of type of project. For example, if you post a kitchen remodel and don’t identify it properly as a kitchen remodel, such as tagging ‘granite countertops,’ people won’t be able to find it.”

Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter require active posting and audience engagement. “Having a plan or roadmap and putting some thought into those sites is very important. It’s critical to have that plan as opposed to randomly posting stuff out there. Keep your followers engaged. It has to be something that’s relevant to them,” Stewart says. “For example, people love before and after photos so that’s something that’s really important to get out there. Looking at a finished picture is one thing, but they want to see what it looked like before.

“The other thing with social media is we’re not always trying to sell our services,” Stewart explains. “We’re out there trying to educate and provide information we think will be useful to the consumer and our future customers. For example, we install pavers, but we don’t have a problem putting a post out there about how to do it yourself. Ultimately, if people want to do a project like that themselves, they’ll find the information; it might as well be from us. Eventually, that could lead to someone else looking at that same article, realizing it looks like hard work and then they’ll hire us. If you’re always out there trying to pitch yourself and sell something I don’t think that works out very well.”

Soliciting and managing reviews

Many sites, including Angie’s List, Houzz and, to a certain degree, Yelp, have effective methods to solicit reviews from customers. “Online reviews are almost as powerful as your neighbor saying ‘You should use this person,’” Stewart says. “People really trust those reviews; it’s huge. Google reviews, Yelp, Houzz, Angie’s List and more. All of those reviews are incredibly important to your online reputation.”

After customers post reviews online, Stewart recommends responding to each one, whether it is good or bad. “If someone says they weren’t happy with the service you provided, respond back and say you’re happy to talk through that with them.”

He also has experienced online reviews from people who they have no record of as customers. In those circumstances, Stewart recommends responding with something along the lines of: “I have no record of you as a customer, but if we didn’t do something right we’d love to talk to you. Give me a call.” He says, “Offering that up really helps when seeing responses to those reviews.”

Other times, a customer is seemingly pleased at the end of a job but then later posts reviews expressing disappointment in the finished job. When faced with that scenario, Stewart says it’s a good opportunity to communicate with the customer and try to make it right for them. “We’ve been able to go in on those negative reviews and talk to them if it’s reasonable,” he says. “Some people will never be happy, but it gives you the opportunity to go out there and make things right. Then, they post online the contractor came back, made it right and might do more business together.”

Replying to all of the aforementioned reviews, plus any others that might pop up, can help drive business and add credibility. 

Ultimately, online presence is meant to get a customer to search for a service, find your company, validate your company and hope the potential customer calls. “Once they call, it’s up to us,” Stewart says. “The whole purpose of that online presence is to get them to email you or pick up the phone and give you a call. If you have great online reviews and they call in, then we drop the ball, it won’t matter; they won’t be patient for you. That’s our goal: To validate our presence and get prospects to call.”

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