May I Come In?
Editor’s Note on May 29, 2020: While this post was written in 2017, these home service industry tips still reign true today. Some additional details have been added – the updated notes appear in bold, italic text below.
Back in the good ol’ days, if the doorbell rang, you’d shoot towards the door in the hopes of entertaining an unexpected neighbor, friend, or guest.
Nowadays, if there’s a knock on my door, I stealthily check the peephole, grab the mace my overprotective brother bought me, and cautiously open the door.
The times, they are a-changing, and with these changes come more difficulties for many traditional business models, most notably the door-to-door salesman. In many ways, companies that are classified under the “home service industry” umbrella are the modern-day door-to-door salesmen.
Having easy access to the web has radically changed the way people shop for almost everything today. These companies need to build a reputation of trustworthiness and honesty in order to get prospective clients to *potentially* open their door to a complete stranger.
How? Through reviews and an online personality.
The Importance of Reviews
The home service industry lives and dies with reviews. Think about it, when someone is looking for a new roofer or flooring installer, they’re going to be incredibly cautious of who they choose.
First of all, individuals aren’t going to be stingy when it comes to home improvements. The average homeowner is going to have one roof, one furnace, and one kind of flooring in the length of time that they’re in that particular house. Potential customers aren’t going to pick the first person that pops up on their Google search.
Secondly, these people are going to be letting complete strangers in their home – literally. Who would you trust more, someone with a 2-star rating, or someone with 5 stars? The higher the rating, the more likely that company is to be chosen.
We’re more likely to make a purchase if others around us – even total strangers – agree that it is a good decision. Today, online reviews are the biggest source of social proof, and they have a clear impact on sales.
In fact, 88% of prospective clients trust reviews as much as a friend’s recommendation, and 92% of all potential customers read the reviews before choosing who to go with.
As a marketer, I can tell you that in all honesty, reviews can be a pain in the ass because an angry customer is 10x more likely to leave a review than a happy customer. So I think it’s safe to say that one should take reviews with a grain of salt. Nevertheless, that does not detract from their importance or validity. P.S. check out this nifty infographic on the importance of reviews.
Here are a few ideas on how to generate reviews:
- Create a rewards system – leave us a review and get a Starbucks gift card (or something like that)
- If you’re just starting up, ask your friends and family to leave reviews for your business
- Send a follow-up email asking for feedback and include links to leave reviews on various sites
Create an Online Personality
The home service industry has a special opportunity that I think all companies should be doing, but most don’t: show off your employees! If I know Mike is going to stop by to fix my dishwasher, I want to know what Mike looks like, how he met his significant other, if he likes sushi, and if he’s an IU or Purdue fan, ya know?
To win business online, you need to use your most precious asset – your personality.
Consider creating a “meet the team” page on your website like ours. Or, use social media to share information about your employees! If a company posts about its employees, it breathes life into its timeline and makes them seem less sterile and more approachable.
The more you show off your employees, the less they feel like strangers, and the more trusting someone may become of the company and its installers. You hired these people for a reason – because you like them, trust their work, and think highly of them – so show them off!
All this is to say: the more positive reviews you can get, the more likely you are to have more customers. But in order to first get these customers, you need to get people to trust you and your employees! One of the best ways to get people to trust your company is to show off your employees on your website and social media.
And if you need any help – you know who to call…
need help creating your “meet the team” page?
You first need to develop employee profiles. Sam recently spoke with Lorraine on More than a Few Words about this exact topic! Be sure to give it a listen.
How can the home service industry improve its online presence?
The home service industry can improve its online presence by receiving reviews, creating employee profiles, and sharing to social media.