Home Services Reviews: How Reviews Can Bring In 3x More Customers

Andrew McDermottHome Services, Reputation Management, Review ManagementLeave a Comment

home services reviews

When it comes to residential home services, reviews (e.g., plumbers reviews, electricians reviews, roofers reviews, etc.) hold a significant amount of sway with prospective customers.

There are a ton of distinct services, skill sets, and home service professions. Each home service professional’s business has a certain uniqueness when it comes to client expectations through the vetting stage.

home services jobs specialties from angies list

Just look at this list of popular home services on Angie's List.

There are also a ton of commonalities between specialties when it comes to finding new clients. As a home services provider, you're in a tough spot.

When customers request a bid, they expect you to provide rock-bottom pricing. You're routinely forced to compete with a bizarre mix of competent and incompetent home service professionals, each one doing their best to offer the lowest price.

Your customers can't tell the difference between them, so they use price as the determining factor.

Sure, pricing is important, but it stops mattering if the professionals you've hired produce shoddy work. What does this mean? There are other factors customers value more, or at least as much as price.

Why your home services reviews are so important

A report from Software Advice, a technology firm that analyzes how customers use software, shared key insights on home services reviews:

If you're an experienced home service provider, you're well aware of the dramatic impact a strong home service review portfolio can make on your business. What's more surprising is item number two - 86% of customers are willing to pay more for providers with higher ratings and reviews.

The question is, how much more?

SoftwareAdvice Graphic that highlights how much more customers would pay to a home service provider with better home service reviews

Very exciting stuff!

So, 46%, a little less than half of your customers are willing to spend moderate to significantly more money if you have the reviews. Get your existing customers to vouch for you and you win.

Home service reviews are something every provider has, right?

Wrong.

Why home services providers struggle to win customers

Many providers today have online reviews. What most don't have is a strong, balanced review profile. When it comes to online reviews, there's a significant provider divergence. There are a few providers who get it. They have a strong review profile, and they are working consistently to improve their portfolio.

These providers are the exception, not the rule.

A quick scan of providers shows most are struggling with one or more of the following problems.

  • Not enough positive reviews: Many home service providers have reviews, but they don’t have enough, on any platform, to sway new customers. These providers struggle as they work to build a strong, balanced and trustworthy review profile.
  • Too many negative reviews: Negative reviews tend to focus on a particular theme. Negative reviews could be pricing, customer service, quality of results, etc. These negative reviews drive up marketing costs, making it more difficult and expensive for providers to attract new customers.
  • Imbalanced reviews: Most providers have a top-heavy review portfolio (e.g., lots of reviews on Yelp or Home Advisor, zero reviews on Google, Angie’s List or Houzz, ). As a result, these providers lose a significant amount of business from customers because they’re not visible. As far as customers searching in Google are concerned, their business is invisible.
  • Poor reviews from the wrong customer: Most customers aren’t a good fit. You must be able to consistently weed out any customers who are difficult to work with. Avoid any needy, controlling, stubborn or unreliable customers. They’re difficult to serve and harder to keep.

Why are these details so important?

Competitors.

You're dealing with different kinds of competitors.

1. Local competitors: These are the people you compete with (in your town, city or state) regularly. I assume most providers understand this so I won't spend too much time on the competitors in this category.

2. Large competitors: These could be large regional or national brands or home service franchises (i.e., Roto-Rooter) with a significant amount of name recognition. A strong review portfolio is one of the easiest and most effective ways to compete with a large, well-established competitor.

3. Look-alike competitors: These are the competitors with similar names (or brands) to yours. They're also a serious problem for providers with poor review portfolios. Providers with poor local search and review management practices may be their own look-alike competitor! Customers often use aggregate reviews and local data to weed through the initial list of providers they're considering.

Here's an example.

This company has a Yelp profile they've claimed. But they have zero reviews.

example of a Plumber listing on yelp for home services.

Here's what I get when I search for their business in Google.

See the problem?

The keyword I used is "Bruce plumbing Houston Texas." If we take a closer look at these search results, a few things stand out:

  • There are multiple addresses used, but there’s no indication this business has multiple locations
  • There are multiple phone numbers with different area codes
  • Different people listed in the search results

These search results may be referring to the same business, but there's nothing official to indicate that. If I were a potential customer, I'd be very confused right now. These two providers could be amazing, but I have no way to tell. What's worse, they don't have much in the way of online reviews. It's easier to disqualify them from consideration and move on.

I get it, that sounds harsh.

But it's also the reality your customers face when they put potential candidates through their vetting process. Why take the time to sort through these issues when they can work with the provider with clear information and better reviews?

4. Fly-by-night competitors: These providers aren't really competitors. These providers are viewed as uncertified, incompetent bottom feeders. They use lowball pricing and unrealistic promises to steal business from you. These providers take money from good customers and opportunities from you. They deliver shoddy work; then they move on to the next town.

A strong review portfolio protects your business from these fly-by-night operators. Your portfolio also protects your margins. You're able to compete with lowball estimates, bringing in more revenue than your competitors.

See what I mean?

This is why your review portfolio is so important to your business.

Why though?

Why are online reviews so important to the home services industry? Why would reviews create such a strong competitive advantage?

The home services industry has a reputation

We're all aware of the industry's reputation. Specific segments in the home services industry have a poor reputation. All thanks to a few fly-by-night operators who consistently work to undermine and destroy customer trust.

Customers are understandably cautious.

Some segments (roofing) are more problematic than others (plumbing and electrical work). Customers are afraid of nightmare scenarios like these where low-cost providers promise the world but deliver disaster. In the video below, a plumber causes a major flood in an apartment building due to negligence.

It's your customer's worst fear.

It's also why customers focus their attention on your online review portfolio. Reviews are a reliable way for them to avoid expensive disasters like these.

Here's how these customers search for home service providers online. If they're searching Google they may see results like these:

If customers are searching on Yelp, they may see this:

A few different listings on Yelp for plumbers.

What about Angie's List?

Example of ratings and reviews for a plumber on Angie's List

First, let's take a look at local search keyword data. When we run the query "plumbers near me" through keyword tool.io, we see a nice list of keywords that customers are already using. Let's take a look at a small sample.

  • Plumbers near me
  • Plumbers near me open now
  • Plumbers near me free estimates
  • Plumbers near me emergency
  • Plumbers near me phone number
  • Plumbers near me commercial
  • Plumbers near me open on saturday
  • Plumbers near me app
  • Plumbers near me yelp
  • Plumbers near me affordable
  • Plumbers near me Angie’s list
  • Plumbers near me drain service
  • Plumbers near me that finance
  • Plumbers near me water filtration
  • Plumbers near me garbage disposal

We also see the standard modifiers used with additional keywords.

  • Inexpensive plumbers
  • Kitchen plumbers
  • Affordable plumbers
  • J&J’s plumbing
  • master plumbers near me
  • Mobile plumbers near me
  • Mexican plumbers near me
  • Marine plumbers near me
  • Plumbing and heating near me
  • Reputable plumbers near me
  • Reasonable plumbers near me
  • Recommended plumbers near me
  • A-Z plumbing near me
  • 24/7 plumbers near me

When we analyze this closely, some interesting details begin to stand out. We see that customers are looking for very specific information. They want plumbers...

  • With flexible hours
  • Who work weekends
  • Who are available on call to handle emergencies
  • Who are affordable
  • With the “master plumber” designation
  • With enough experience to handle A-Z problems (and can provide frequent help)
  • With specialties in specific parts of the house (e.g., kitchen, bathrooms basements, garbage disposal, etc.)
  • Serving a specific locale, town, city or county
  • With a social media presence on Yelp, Angie’s List and other review/rating sites
  • Who specialize in commercial

This list is the key to optimizing your website, local, review and social media profiles. These keywords give you the inside track to your customer's desires and intent. Here are some straightforward ways to use these keywords in your marketing.

  • Remarketing/retargeting ads on Facebook, offering an emergency voucher for customers.
  • Remarketing/retargeting display ads promoting your reviews on Home Advisor, Angie’s List or Yelp.
  • Using this review management checklist to optimize each of your review profiles.
  • Adding these desire and intent markers into your website means customers can find the education and information they need.
  • Performing a comprehensive review audit to assess the performance of your review portfolio (overall).
  • Promoting your fully optimized Yelp profile via sponsored listings.
  • Sharing social proof on your website via embeddable widgets like the Grade.us’ Review Stream widget.
  • Use Twitter’s location and search function (or tools like HootSuite mentions) + your keyword list mentioned earlier, to share your reviews with local and interested customers.
  • Create printed materials with positive reviews showcased on location, on company vehicles, or their paperwork. This one is obvious, yet it’s surprisingly uncommon.
  • Promoting your reviews + an irresistible offer + value proposition on paid audio advertising platforms (e.g., Stitcher, Pandora, Spotify, etc.).

Here's the good news about these strategies and tactics. They're simple, straightforward avenues you can take to convert more of the customers you attract. The bad news? It takes time for these strategies to produce results.

What if you need customers now?

Here's a six-step process providers can use to generate leads quickly.

1. Create and claim your review profiles

You'll want to create or claim your review listings on mainstream sites like Google, Yelp, Facebook, and other industry-specific sites like Home Advisor, Angie's List, or Houzz. Use the intel you've taken from your keyword data to optimize your home services website, local, review and social media profiles.

2. Create a compelling value proposition

Your value proposition answers one specific question. Why should I hire you for my contracting opportunity, specifically? It has four essential ingredients. Appeal (I want it), exclusivity (can get it anywhere else), clarity (I understand you) and credibility (I believe you). This is the most difficult part of the process. Stick with it until you've created a compelling value proposition that includes all four ingredients.

3. Create multiple irresistible offers

An irresistible offer provides your home owners and property managers with the overwhelming incentive they need to take action on your offer.

Examples include discounts (15% off  your first house call), bonuses (a one time free pest control treatment), vanishing or limited offers (be one of the first 10 callers and you'll receive...), guarantees (in-budget, on-time scheduled service appointments or your money back).

Create an irresistible offer for both your customers and tangential sources. Post your value proposition and irresistible offers (for customers) on the profiles you've created or claimed. You can share these details in your descriptions, as image snippets, or links to specially tailored, offer specific landing pages on your website. Be sure to include the keywords you've identified in your research.

4. Partner with complimentary or related busineses

Find (and meet with) other home service providers (electricians, HVAC pros, engineers, general contractors, roofers, etc.) tell them you can resurrect their dead leads, that you can put 40% to 60% more money back into their pocket, without any additional effort on their part.

5. Resurrect their dead leads

Ask each of these professionals to share a list of their dead leads, prospects they've contacted in the past but failed to close for one reason or another. Tell them you'd like to help them close these lost customers. Let them know you'll do all the legwork, keep them updated on your progress, and alert them when it's time for them to step in and help you close the sale.

6. Create a resurrection sequence

A resurrection sequence is nothing more than a follow-up sequence that's designed to grab and hold the attention of an inactive prospect. Your resurrection sequence has a specific set of details included in each message

1.) An irresistible offer

2.) An urgency trigger or incentive to act now

3.) A clear and unmistakable way for these prospects to opt-out

Your communication should include these three ingredients regardless of the channel used (e.g., email, text message, phone call, social media, etc.).

Combine this six-step process with the marketing ideas I've mentioned earlier. The more interested these customers are, the more of your attention they earn.

  • Cold traffic: An example would be prospects who are interested in a free consultation but abandoned your site without calling or signing up. Give these customers the content they need and track their attention.
  • Warm traffic: These are potential home service customers who have converted in some way (e.g., they’re email subscribers, existing customers, Facebook fans, etc.) and have expressed interest in your business, product, or service.
  • Hot traffic: These are customers who have requested a free consultation, bid or proposal. Maybe they’ve purchased an introductory product or service from you. Whatever the conversion, they’ve shown they’re interested in your business and engaged in the process.

Here's an idea you can use to jump-start this process.

  • Send an email to your (cold) dead leads with a link to a compelling offer and your landing page.
  • Drop a tracking pixel on your landing page.
  • Use that tracking pixel to launch remarketing/retargeting ad campaign.
  • Send your very best reviews to the customers who clicked on your email.
  • Send these customers a mix of offers over 90 days (e.g., irresistible offers + value proposition + urgency triggers + reviews) until they convert, ignore you or opt-out.
  • Share reactivated customers with your tangential sources. Ask these reactivated customers to share their feedback via a review.

Feel free to customize each of these details as needed. Create your own plans or work to mix and match each of the ideas I've shared so far.

All of this depends on your ability to earn five-star home services reviews

How do you earn five-star home services reviews?

It's easy, you ask.

Research from BrightLocal's annual survey shows 70% of customers will leave a review for your business if you ask them to. That's the problem though, isn't it? How do you go about asking customers to leave a review? The whole thing seems a bit - awkward.

Here are two templates you can use:

Subject: [Customer Name], we did it together! We finished [on-time and in-budget]

Wow [Customer Name],

It was challenging but we were able to finish your [type of work] project on-time and in-budget. We're happy if you're happy!

Would you be willing to share your story on [review site]? It helps us grow, but it also helps customers like you.

Here’s a link that makes it as easy as possible:

[Review Funnel Link]

We're thankful for you either way,

[Signature]

Text message: [Customer Name], did we make you happy? Would you be willing to share your story on [review site] either way? [Review Funnel Link]

Here's another template you can use.

Subject: [Customer Name], you're a...

[Customer Name], you're amazing.

We've finally finished our work together. I wanted to take the time to thank you before we wrap things up. Thank you for [praiseworthy detail].

You're an absolute pleasure to work with.

Would you be willing to share your story with other customers just like you? We'd be grateful for your help and support.

If you're interested, you can share your story here:

[Review Funnel Link].

Thanks again,

[Signature]

Text message: [Customer Name], you're a pleasure to work with. Would you be willing to share your story with our other customers? [Review Funnel Link]

Okay, we've made some progress. Customer reviews are beginning to roll in. Some reviews are positive, others negative. Who should be in charge of these new reviews that come in?

Here are some general guidelines you can use to determine who should be in charge of reviews.

If you're running a small business, the owner or general manager of the business should act as the first responder. They'll have the authority to make decisions on the customer's behalf. But they must have tough skin. If they prefer to blame, lash out or provoke reviewers, they're the wrong person for the job.

What about monitoring your reviews?

If you're taking the manual approach, most sites allow you to set up alerts for the review sites. Here are some instructions outlining how you can set notifications for the big three.

You want to use review platform like Grade.us 😉 to monitor niche, specialty and industry-specific sites like Houzz, Home Advisor, Angie's List, the BBB and more.

Here are a few additional review marketing tactics you can use to promote your business; our ultimate review management checklist and a straightforward way to audit your review management campaigns.

Use these strategies and tactics to triple your five-star review ratings in less time and effort.

Home service providers tend to compete on price

There's no reason you have to do the same.

Many providers today have online reviews. What most don't have is a strong, balanced review profile. The vast majority of providers are struggling with no reviews, too many reviews or a review imbalance. Then there's the list of competitors chipping away at your business.

Your competitors + a poor review portfolio = significant loss of business.

The research from Moz is clear. Increase the number of aggregate reviews listed in Google's search results and you increase the number of leads, customers and sales your business brings in. It's all about building a strong, balanced and comprehensive review portfolio. Do it and you'll find the majority of your customers are able and willing to spend more money with you.

About the Author

Andrew McDermott

Andrew McDermott is the co-founder of HooktoWin and the co-author of Hook: Why Websites Fail to Make Money. He shows entrepreneurs how to attract and win new customers.

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