How to Manage Your Online Reputation — and Why It Matters


Steve Raines
Co-Founder & Chief Innovation Office
March 22, 2019
minutes to read

Get to the Point

  1. The Internet Has Changed the Way Customers View Service Businesses — One bad review can hurt your business, even when it’s not justified.
  2. Make a Habit of Looking at and Responding to Every Review — For negative reviews, reach out to try and resolve the problem.
  3. Make Sure Your Team Is Asking for Reviews Every Time They Do a Job — Making it personal makes it more likely you will get a review, and more likely it will be positive.

The internet has dramatically changed the way that customers view companies. One bad review can hurt your business, even when it’s not justified. This means maintaining a good reputation is crucial for any service business.

The best way to maintain your reputation online is to work every week to keep up with reviews and to encourage customers who have had a positive experience to leave a review on your Facebook page, Yelp or home service sites (we’ll get to some examples of these below).

Let’s take a look at why to check for reviews, how to respond to them, and why you should be encouraging your techs to ask for them.

Checking Reviews

The first step is looking at your reviews. This can be difficult — after all, no one likes to read negative things about themselves. It can also be time-consuming, especially if you haven’t been reading your reviews regularly.

However, going back to look and analyze reviews is extremely important. You can learn a great deal about the public perception of your business and your employees.

One useful idea is to create a short checklist of sites to keep track of — perhaps start with Facebook, Yelp, Google My Business, Amazon Home Services, and Angie’s List/HomeAdvisor (The latter two fall under the ANGI Homeservices, Inc. portfolio of digital home service brands.) With a checklist, you’ll never forget to check a site, and can also keep track of what sites your customers use most. Here’s a downloadable checklist for you to print out and update.

You should respond to every review, whether it’s positive, negative or neutral.

Responding to Reviews

There’s no getting around it: You should respond to every review, whether it’s positive, negative or neutral. Sometimes you'll get a four-star review with no explanation. It is still respectful to thank the contributor, and asking why you received the review might strengthen your credibility.

If a customer has left a positive review, thank them and express how much you appreciate that they noticed whatever aspect of your company they focused on — responsiveness, timeliness, friendliness, etc. Very rarely will a homeowner rate you on the quality of the work, so don’t take that personally.

For negative reviews, express your concern about the issue and tell the customer you’ll reach out to them to try and resolve the problem. Immediately call them and — this is very important — do not escalate the conversation on the review site.

Instead, work it out on the phone, and when the customer has been satisfied, ask them to update their review to mention that you quickly resolved the issue to their satisfaction. It’s often better for a company to have a review that shows you listen and made things right than it is to have only positive reviews.

If you haven’t been responding to reviews, go back and respond to any received in the last couple of months at the very least. This will usually notify the reviewer, which may prompt them to make a referral they might not have otherwise made.

The easiest way to handle responding to reviews is to define a dedicated responder on your team. Each week, this person should be responsible for responding to all reviews that come through. Remember the checklist idea above? Here is when that can come in very handy.

Ask for Reviews

Make sure your team is asking for reviews every time they do a job. It’s particularly effective if your techs express to the homeowner how the reviews help them personally, as opposed to just helping the company. (Check out this post for tips on how to ask customers for reviews.)

Making it personal makes it more likely you will get a review, and more likely it will be positive. Additionally, knowing they need to ask for a review means that techs will put a little extra focus on their interactions with the homeowner.

Another idea to consider: You may choose to incentivize your techs to get reviews. It’s one way to get your techs on board with the concept that reviews matter, and that good ones can make a world of difference.

Clearly, there is much to consider when it comes to reputation management, and knowing where to turn for answers can help. Unlimited business coaching is an essential component of Pointman PACT, and discussing these concepts — responding to reviews, asking for them, how best to incentivize for reviews — can be part of your coaching calls. Your success coach can even analyze your responses, and offer suggestions for your approach and what sites to focus on.

Look at Pricing

The start of the year is a great time to look at pricing. Usually, you have an idea of how your company fared the year prior, and you want to ensure you will continue to grow in the months to come. Many of us make New Year’s resolutions with respect to spending or saving in our personal lives, and it’s no different for business owners. Making sure your pricing is in line with where it should be is one of the strongest ways to start the year the right way.

Part of looking at your price book is finding where the issues are, and that can take time. An HVAC company in January is going to be very busy, so it’s a difficult time for a close look. However, a plumbing company might not be as busy. Whenever you tackle this job, your best bet is to look at what your labor rates are. Start there, and let it trickle down across the board. Ask yourself, “Are my labor rates helping my business stay profitable?”

Remember, there are many different services out there and many different groups or communities that you can engage. Never hesitate to say, “Hey, I’m a business owner in Florida. What should my labor rates be?” You can build your price from there. There are also some great billable hour calculators available.

Set Goals

There is no better time of year for looking inward than January. Set your personal goals and company goals for the following 12 months. If you can break those down into departmental goals, even better! Perhaps that means a CSR booking closing rates a little better, or a truck doing 250,000 a year rather than 200,000.

Many companies have found that using an Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) goal-setting system pays off. Looking for a guidebook when it comes to OKRs? Check out Measure What Matters: How Google, Bono, and the Gates Foundation Rock the World with OKRs by John Doerr. 

One key question is the best way to handle setting goals: Is it smarter for business owners to handle this solo, together with staff, or to delegate completely? 

The best approach is to set goals at the department level. As an owner, you need to take the time to understand what the goals are in each department, and make sure they are in line with your goals for the company. No one likes to set unattainable goals for themselves, so make sure you push your departments to set goals that are lofty, rather than simple ones to feel good about hitting. Entrust your staff to aim higher, and watch how they respond.

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