In our digital world, the experience your customers share online about their interaction with your commercial property inspection business will determine your online reputation. The pervasiveness of social media, online directories and sharing apps have made online reviews an extremely influential marketing resource. Positive reviews can help your business flourish, while negative reviews could damage your reputation. Yes, online reviews matter.
Statistics on the Importance of Online Reviews
- 90% of consumers read online reviews before interacting with a business.
- 88% trust online reviews to help them make decisions.
- 72% say that positive reviews make them trust a local business more.
- 86% will not engage with a business if they have negative reviews.
*Statistics provided by Business 2 Community.
As you can tell, online reviews play a critical role in an inspector’s reputation, and an inspector’s reputation is vital to his or her success.
Review Sites Matter to Search Engine Results
SEO (search engine optimization) is important to help your business rank higher in search engine results. The higher it’s listed in the search returns, the more likely potential clients will be to visit your commercial property inspection website. A business that receives positive reviews (or number of stars or positive interactions) will be pushed to the top of the search results. Search engines want to give users the answers they’re looking for, and users aren’t looking for businesses that do not inspire trust.
Ranking Within Directories Is Important
Your rankings in specific online directories like Google Business, Thumbtack, Yelp, Angie’s List and even Facebook are also important to your visibility. These listings are often filtered by both reviews and location. Appearing among the top ten of these directories is a great place to be regardless of where you are in search engine results.
If you haven’t already created accounts with various directories to diversify your online presence, read CCPIA’s Commercial Inspectors: Claim and Clean Up Your Online Directory Listings article for more information. You want your prospective clients to learn about your business no matter where they’re conducting their online research.
Managing Your Online Reviews
Make sure to always ask your clients for online reviews, especially if you’re confident they had a good experience. Asking for reviews doesn’t require special software or technology, although there are plenty of options on the market. Research your options to see what works best for you. Also, check with your current software company; some of them may be able to handle asking your clients for reviews for you. According to a survey conducted by BrightLocal, there is a good chance of a client leaving you a review if you ask them to. The key is to make sure they see it through.
Keep in mind that negative customer experiences lead to bad reviews. Always be professional, and perform your job to the best of your ability. Ask your client if they are satisfied with your service. If someone is dissatisfied, try to remediate the situation before it results in a negative review. Generally, it’s said that it takes 40 positive reviews to undo the impression of one negative one, so focus on customer satisfaction and maintaining a spotless reputation online.
If you’re absolutely unable to come to an understanding with your dissatisfied client, and the content of their review is untrue, libelous, or both, write to the site that published the review and explain the facts (including the relevant portions of the ComSOP and the contract signed by the client), and ask that the site’s administrator remove the negative review. Be careful not to disclose any confidential information that you would need your client’s written permission to share with a third party.
If the author of the negative review or the site owner does not remove the post, you should consider legal action, such as a defamation lawsuit. Start first by sending a cease-and-desist letter to the person who left the negative review. Try to document your economic damages. One way to do this is to compare the volume of phone calls or revenue you were receiving before the negative review was published with the volume of calls or revenue you received after the review was published.
It’s also important to make sure your contract or pre-inspection agreement contains a clause that requires your client to pay your attorney’s fees if you prevail in any lawsuit against you. For information about relevant court cases, visit CCPIA’s Commercial Inspection Legal Case Library.