27th June 2024

Client Relations
How to get reviews as a trades business

Learn how to effectively achieve reviews from your customers and how to make them work for you

Reviews: Let's Face It, They're Very Important for a Trades Business!

Let's be honest: reviews are everything when it comes to attracting new work for your business. Think of a scenario where you looked up services for a business and were put off from using them because of their reviews. When it comes to acquiring new customers in a trades business, reviews are at the top of the list! In this article, we will discover ways in which you, as a trades business, can acquire reviews effectively. This includes creating systems that prompt your customers to leave a nice review and knowing how to ask for a review while on the job—like what to say to the customer!

Less Is More

There are several ways of collecting reviews as a trades business. We believe that when you first start, it's most important to grow one review platform! Trying to manage too many at the same time is extremely tiresome, and as a trades business with a lot on your plate, you really just don’t have time to manage it all. One of the most important parts of this step is choosing the right platform. We highly recommend that you start out with either Google Business or Facebook!

  • Google Business: Google Business is an excellent way to collect customer reviews because it’s easy to share, and a lot of people have Google accounts. Additionally, when people search for your website, the first thing that will come up is your website (if SEO is done properly, of course) and your lovely set of reviews! This can lead to a click from the customer, whether that be a phone call, an email, or a visit to your website to fill in your webform.
  • Facebook: Facebook is another utility that you, as a trades business, can harness. It offers many resources and ensures that you're appealing to the correct demographic (most of the time, it's people with homes). To appeal to the correct demographic, you need to use the platform they use. We found that ages 25 and up mainly use Facebook, and those ages typically are homeowners or business owners. Facebook allows you to show customers that you're an active business ready to take on work. We don’t think Google does that very well, as potential prospects can’t see if your business is still active. Facebook provides social proof and allows you to interact with your customers publicly, which is great! Another great thing about when a customer leaves a review on Facebook is that the review actually shows up on that person's feed, meaning all their friends can see it, which is a fantastic opportunity for you.

In conclusion, we love Google and Facebook. If you’re brave enough, you can leverage both when you're first starting out. However, we believe it’s best to grow one and then, once you’re confident with your results, move to another.

Honorable Mention: We also found sites like Checkatrade or Trusted Trader to be good ways to collect reviews, but to be perfectly honest, we think your best bet is to stick with Facebook and Google, as that’s where most of your customers will come from. In the future, if you’re big enough, we definitely suggest you hop on these platforms. They’re great and will make your business even more recognizable in your community, so don’t forget them!

Let's Start Getting You Some Reviews!

So we’ve established the platforms that you will be using to collect these reviews from your customers. Now let's talk about acquiring them!

Here’s a list of ways that you can start collecting those stars or recommendations!

  • In-Person Requests: This is a more traditional approach, but it’s one of the best! Actually speaking to the customer rather than sending a follow-up email is much better for your business, as it adds that personal touch! A customer is more likely to be happy to leave a nice review if you actually speak to them directly!
  • On-Site Prompts: To supplement this, a good idea is to also leave a card with them! This card should link to your desired review platform, providing easy access for the customer. To make this even better, if the customer has contacted your business through Facebook, ensure you give them a card that links to your Facebook page! If they contacted you through a webform on your website, make sure you give them a card that links to your Google Business profile. Having a printout for each platform is a very good idea and takes away the complication. If your customer likes using that platform, make it easy for them! You can also use this card as a sort of business card too—customers are likely to give this to someone else to contact you, so it’s genuinely a win-win!
  • Online Requests: We still definitely recommend you do this if you don’t have the time or maybe forget to ask the customer for a review on-site. This includes requesting a review through online means, whether that be sending them a direct message on Facebook or a nice email with a link to your Google Business page. It’s still effective, but we really suggest pushing for more in-person requests rather than online! You could even text message the customer, providing another way for them to leave a review.

Want to Ensure That the Customer Definitely Leaves a Review? Let Them Do It in Front of You with This Neat Little Tip!

We definitely wouldn’t recommend pressuring the customer to leave a review if they feel uncomfortable doing so. We don’t want that happening—they might not recommend you, or even worse, take down their review in the future! Understandably, this is a little bit expensive, but if you invest in a review contactless card, people can scan it like they would if they were paying for something on your phone (yes, it’s that easy). This removes the awkwardness of the customer searching for your review platform. Instead, you can take them right to it with this simple little card. These cards are called NFC cards! We prompt all our trades businesses that we work with to buy one. They cost around £30 (the ones with branding), or you can opt for a simpler white card without branding on Amazon.

How to Get a Five-Star Review!

What to do before the job

  • Clear Communication and Punctuality: Make sure you’re completely transparent with your customer, whether it be the pricing of your services and what the customer can expect from the service when you carry out the work. Always try and ensure that you arrive on time and if you cannot in some circumstances, always inform the customer whether that be from a phone call or a text message and always apologize for the inconvenience of this.
  • Professionalism and Presentation: As a tradesperson, you must always ensure that you are projecting yourself in a professional manner, whether that be how you communicate with your customer (ensure you’re polite and always respectful) or how your appearance is for that day on site. No matter what, if you’re a business owner, you must maintain professional practice as it speaks volumes for your business!
  • Online Requests: We still definitely recommend you do this if you don’t have the time or maybe forget to ask the customer for a review on-site. This includes requesting a review through online means, whether that be sending them a direct message on Facebook or a nice email with a link to your Google Business page. It’s still effective, but we really suggest pushing for more in-person requests rather than online! You could even text message the customer, providing another way for them to leave a review.

What to do during the job

  • Prioritize Quality Work It goes without saying, but making sure your work is at the best of its ability is crucial. We get it—sometimes an easy fix is great at the time, but if it becomes a problem for the customer in the future, then it’s either a problem that you will have to revisit or the customer will not leave a very nice review. We know that you’re great at your job, but we also understand how easy it is to slip into these habits!
  • Cleanliness Cleanliness has got to be one of the most reviewed things in the trade industry. If done right, it shows respect to the customer and lets them get on with their day without this added chore. We understand you’re not in the cleaning industry, however, it’s an unwritten rule to good work. If you’re really keen on getting that 5-star review, then this shouldn’t really be a problem. It really is the bare minimum when it comes to working in someone’s home or business.
    Along with cleanliness, it always goes without saying that avoiding damaging the property of your customer should definitely be avoided. If you do damage any property, do the right thing and compensate the customer for it. Your reputation is everything as a tradesperson, always remember that. Bad news spreads like wildfire if you’re not careful!
  • More on Communication Another great thing to do is inform the customer where you’re at with the project. Let's face it, the customer wants to get on with their life, and you want to move on to your next job. So, letting the customer know how long it might potentially take is always good. Never make any guarantees but ensure that the customer stays in the loop. This will build a lot more trust and create a better relationship with your customer!
  • Problem Solving Whether we like it or not, problems happen. Whether that be the damage of the customer’s property like we mentioned or a bigger expense for the customer, we should always face it in a professional manner. Be calm and take a step back, and talk with your customer to come to a conclusion that you both agree on. Never argue, and if the customer does instigate, try to never argue back. Be logical and effective like a business should be.

What to do after the job

If you feel the job has gone great and have confirmed with the customer that they are happy, then this would be the best time to ask for a review. We have added plenty of ways to ask the customer for that lovely review. I’m sure if you do everything in this article correctly, that customer of yours will be more than happy to leave a couple of stars on your platform!

  • Stay Connected Always stay connected with the customer, whether it’s check-ins on the project to see if the work has benefited them. They love that, and it shows you care! Building a healthy relationship with the customer can mean more work in the future with them, and they may recommend you to other relatives or friends.
  • Follow up the review: It’s an amazing feeling when you get a nice review from a customer, but you can make yourself even better by replying to the review on your chosen platform. This shows the customer and other customers that you appreciate their recognition of your business. It adds personality to your business and shows that you respect how your customers feel. We have added a short message you can use as a reference for your abundance of 5-star reviews!
  • Example

    "Dear [Customer's Name], thank you so much for your wonderful review! We are thrilled to hear that you had a positive experience with us. Your feedback means a lot and motivates us to keep providing excellent service. We look forward to working with you again in the future. Best regards, [Your Name] from [Your Business]."

  • Show it off: Whether it be your website or social media, you need to show off those reviews like you show off your good work. Whether it be adding a testimonial page/section to your website or a simple post about a customer’s experience with you, it’s always important to share what others have said about you. People like knowing you’re credible, so show them you are with past experiences.
  • Expand it: If you have the time: Develop case studies about customer experiences that have gone well with you, add in-depth information about the work you carried out on your website. This will lead to more trust and also have a positive effect on your SEO. The more content you write about your services, the more it benefits your business in a marketing sense. Testimonials don’t have to be just stars and one paragraph. It's an opportunity to show what you’ve got! So use it!

What to Do If You Get a Bad Review

Don't Worry, It's Not the End of the World

We understand the heartache of receiving a bad review, but it's something that all business owners must face. You could have executed the job perfectly and still received a bad review. Sometimes customers act on emotion, or you may have made a genuine mistake that you and the customer haven't communicated about. You can question the why's and what's to yourself, but the best thing you can do is question the customer and offer to rectify! Make sure you reply to any review you get on Google, whether positive or negative! For negative reviews, reply with empathy and understanding. You need to understand what the customer is unhappy about and see if there's anything you can do about it. A great way of countering such issues is by giving the customer a phone call (make sure you schedule it, not out of the blue) as sometimes text messages can be taken out of context, which is never good when emotion is added to the equation. Here's a little script to practice when talking to your customer about reviews. Make sure you say this in a professional manner and don't let it get to you. Think logically and find a solution to your problem.

Script for Responding to a Bad Review

Initial Response Online:

"Dear [Customer's Name], thank you for your feedback. We are sorry to hear that your experience was not up to your expectations. We take our customers' satisfaction seriously and would like to discuss how we can make things right. Please contact us at [your phone number] or [your email] at your earliest convenience. We look forward to resolving this matter."

Phone Call Script:

  • Introduction: "Hi [Customer's Name], this is [Your Name] from [Your Business]. I hope you are doing well. I wanted to follow up on the review you left us and see if we can discuss it further. Is this a good time to talk?"
  • Listen Actively: "I understand that you were not satisfied with [specific issue mentioned in the review]. Could you please provide more details so that I can understand better what went wrong?"
  • Empathize and Apologize: "I'm really sorry to hear that you had this experience. We strive to provide excellent service, and it sounds like we missed the mark in this case. I genuinely apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you."
  • Offer a Solution: "I'd like to make this right. What can we do to resolve this issue for you? Whether it’s revisiting the job or offering a discount on future services, we want to ensure your satisfaction."
  • Confirm and Thank: "Thank you for giving us the opportunity to address this. Your feedback is invaluable to us, and we appreciate you bringing this to our attention. We hope to regain your trust and continue doing business with you in the future."

Follow up

After your conversation, make sure to follow up with an email summarizing the discussion and the agreed-upon resolution. This will show your commitment to resolving the issue and provide a written record for both parties.

In conclusion, we believe that reviews are paramount and support the foundation of any business! If you feel like this was a good article and you benefited from it, please share it with other business owners you know. We love helping the trade industry and would like to be a new place where tradespeople can find information about scaling their businesses online! Thanks for reading, we are Team Fortis, always helping the trades industry out!

All the trades we think this can work for: Electricians, Carpenters, Plumbers, Plastering and decorating, Roofers , Landscapers, and pretty much anyone in the industry