Online reviews are a hot topic for business owners, and if you own a deck and patio building company, you need to know the ins and outs of all online review platforms. Here’s your special guide to Yelp reviews, as well as some helpful information and insight into online reviews in general, including some of Yelp’s top competitors.
Deck and Patio Builders, Online Reviews are Your Friends
First, resist the urge to consider online reviews a negative thing. All businesses get the occasional low or unfair review. However, with proper management, Yelp reviews can be your friend. Studies indicate that between 80% and 90% (depending on the study) of consumers consult online reviews before doing business with a local company. This includes choosing a deck and patio builder. Nearly 80% of consumers trust online reviews as much as a friend’s recommendation, so consider Yelp and other reviews as good advertising.
Be sure to partner with top-tier suppliers and vendors, as vendor reviews often reflect on your own reviews. For example, if you offer financing to your customers through a financing partner, pick one with an excellent reputation for customer service, and they’ll help you keep your customers happy from the beginning of the project through the end. Those happy reviews end up as shining 5-Stars on your Yelp review page.
The Importance of Promptly Replying to Online Reviews of Your Deck and Patio Business
Most of the consumers who report reading online reviews also pay attention to the business’ response. This means that if you respond to poor reviews, your side will be heard almost as much as the reviewer’s. For example, if you reply to a negative review indicating that you tried to make amends and the reviewer did not cooperate, people will be able to see that you’ve made an attempt to do honest business.
Additionally, you can comment if the reviewer isn’t a legitimate customer of yours, or if you’re being targeted by a competitor or a disgruntled former employee. Reply promptly, professionally, and courteously, no matter how bad the review, and those 1-star reviews can be an opportunity to engage with potential customers and prove you are a reliable, trustworthy deck and patio builder.
Handling the Dreaded 1-Star to 3-Star Reviews of Your Deck and Patio Business
Here’s how to handle a review of your deck and patio building business if it’s 3 stars or below:
- Identify that the reviewer actually was a customer of your business. If you cannot determine that, state this in your response. No additional information or reply is necessary.
- Listen sincerely to the negative review. Try to picture their point of view. Don’t reply until you’ve calmed down if the review upsets you.
- Answer their specific problems, without being defensive or bringing up new issues. Make it clear to them, and to other people who read it, that you’re willing to do the right thing.
- Encourage the reviewer to reach out by phone or stop by your location (if you have a public storefront). This gets the conversation offline (and out of sight of the internet at large) while also proving that you’re serious about making things right.
- Make amends as much as you can when they do reach out. Remember that “being right” is sometimes less important than appearing to be an upstanding business owner.
- Always take the opportunity to use negative Yelp reviews for training for your staff. Do the comments indicate that your front desk personnel need more customer service training? Perhaps your building crew could use some additional training on being professional in and around customers’ houses. Or maybe your clean-up crew could use some additional work on their wrap-up skills after a job.
- If you rack up a few negative reviews, the best way to address those is to flood Yelp and other review sites with glowing reviews by happy customers. Always ask your satisfied customers to leave you a good review. If you can, print up some cards to leave with homeowners after the job, telling where they can leave good reviews, or send them a “thank you” email afterwards that includes links to your review sites.
Handling Those Glowing 5-Star Reviews of Your Deck and Patio Business
Great! You got some sweet 4- and 5-star Yelp reviews! No need to reply, right? Actually, replying to these comments shows your appreciation for your happy customers, and also shows your potential customers that you do truly care about what they have to say. Always generously thank your customers who leave good reviews.
Be sure to throw some love to your vendors, as well. They will benefit when you share the success of your 5-star reviews. Partnering with reputable vendors like HFS Financial helps you provide more to your customers. This is usually listed as a benefit to using your deck and patio building services and helps draw new customers that are in need of financing services.
Other Review Sites for the Deck and Patio Builder to Take Advantage Of
Google ranks all things Google above all things everywhere else, and that’s just the facts. In addition to your reviews on Yelp, you need to pay particular attention to your Google reviews. Google displays these in your Local Pack, meaning that when local customers search for your deck and patio business, they see your star rating along with your name, address, website, and other info. Google reviews should always take priority when you reply to and manage online reviews.
Here are the other online review sites (Yelp’s competitors) that you’ll want to make sure you have a strategy for when promoting your deck and patio building business:
- Your Facebook Page
- Angi’s List
Manage these in the same way as noted above.
Deck and Patio Builders Should Offer the Best Financing Options
Do you offer your customers everything you could be with your deck and patio building services? HFS Financial has a proven reputation for excellent customer service, fast loan processing, no staged funding, and speedy payouts. Earn more great Yelp reviews with financing options from HFS Financial for your wonderful customers. With just a short application, you can be well on your way to offering exceptional contractor financing at no cost to your business. Apply today! With HFS Financial, “You Dream It, We Finance It.”