By Paul Mac Donald, USA Executive Director
We’ve all been there: You need to find a restaurant in a part of town you haven’t explored before. Where do you start? Google, of course, which may lead you to Yelp or another online review site. You’ll probably search for the type of food you’re considering, read through a few reviews and see how many stars a particular place has received to help with your decision.
It’s not just restaurants. Virtually every kind of business today, including appliance repair, relies on online reviews to drive new sales and reinforce loyalty among customers. This isn’t just an anecdote—it’s been investigated. According to a study by Michael Anderson and Jeremy Magruder in The Economic Journal, higher ratings on Yelp were found to lead to restaurants selling out tables almost 20% more often. Another working study from the Harvard Business School found that a one-star increase in Yelp ratings led to a 5% to 9% increase in revenue. These studies note that Yelp and other such sites provide a valuable resource for customers to learn about businesses where information on quality is otherwise scarce.
While the exact value of each additional star in a rating may be up for debate, the conclusion is clear: online reviews have a significant and measurable impact on businesses today.
Review sites are so valuable because the reviews and ratings are made by real customers. They’re not ads or press releases full of marketing lingo and false promises. They’re straight talk by people who have used the service, time-stamped and geographically targeted to show when and where the review was made. The question, then, is how to get more positive reviews.
As a service person working directly with customers, you have a major opportunity to directly increase the number of reviews your customers give. It’s okay to ask for them directly—in fact, that’s simply the best way to do it. Build it into your process so you never forget to make the request. If you send emails to customers, include a note and a link to a relevant ratings site. Be open and honest, and make it easy for them to do. Point them to the key websites that influence your industry and location—likely Yelp and Google. You don’t want to be pushy about it, but point out that it’s an opportunity to offer feedback.
Of course, simply getting any old review isn’t the goal—you want positive reviews. Quantity and quality. For service repair technicians, a great way to ensure you always have a positive experience is by following a proven system, such as the G.L.E.E.P.S. technician training program by Dean Landers. It includes six straightforward steps that if followed on every call will help you deliver effective and efficient service, ultimately enhancing the relationship between technician and customer. Outstanding service starts as soon as you answer the telephone, and lasts for the duration of your interaction and beyond, with prompt follow-through on any commitments you’ve made. Having a standard process such as G.L.E.E.P.S. helps you deliver consistently strong and friendly service on every call. It becomes part of your DNA, something you do without thinking.
It’s worth noting that most positive reviews you read online focus less on the technical knowledge of a customer service representative or technician, and more on attitude and manner. Words such as quick, courteous, clean, pleasant and patient frequent the reviews of the highest rated businesses. Expertise is essential, but it’s more than being the smartest person in the room—it’s about repairing the customer and making them feel comfortable and confident in your abilities.
It’s all about being attentive to the customer, listening to what they have to say, and looking for opportunities to strengthen your connection in a positive way. Breaking down the service call into a series of steps will help you do that. It will make asking customers to give you a positive review online that much easier—and that will go a long way to increasing your ratings, creating loyal customers and generating more sales.
Attend USA’s RSTI or ASTI programs to learn more about managing your online reputation and the G.L.E.E.P.S. program. Visit www.unitedservicers.com.