Online review sites. A place once ignored by excutives has now come to demand the attention of all service businesses. When it comes to your field service management, technicians must be trained on not only how to do the job at hand, but also how to communicate with customers when in the field. This in turn will build your business and brand, especially when word of mouth travels around the neighborhood, or in this case, around the online reviews of the internet.
We recently spoke with Justin Guinn, a market researcher at Software Advice, a web-based firm that reviews field service software. Their new study - The Use of Online Reviews to Select Residential Service Providers, shows just how valueable a review of your service can be to your entire organization.
Jessica: Why do you think it is important for customers to look into online review sites prior to purchasing or working with a field service provider?Justin: “Customers want the best possible service for their money. In the age of online reviews, customers are able to learn what company, product, service, etc. is best and plan their spending accordingly. This is especially important for field service businesses, where customers may be less familiar with what defines quality service. Perhaps its the first time they need to hire an exterminator or an electrician. In fact, 68 percent of respondents find online reviews “extremely” or “very” valuable. This is something that field service businesses need to keep in mind.”
Why should reviews such as those found on Yelp, Google +, and Angies List be taken into serious consideration by service companies looking to make changes or improvements to their service organization?“The insights featured in these online reviews provide snapshots of real customer pain-points. Overcoming these pain-points would definitely increase customer experiences and could lead to substantial gains in customer loyalty and retention."
Why are online reviews (both positive and negative) important to a residential field service business such as plumming, HVAC, etc?
“These reviews are a new, widespread word of mouth mechanism. If there’s a ton of reviewers saying a service company is always late for appointments, potential customers could be turned off by that. However, the most compelling reason to take these reviews into consideration is because consumers will actually pay more for services from a company with higher reviews. Our study found 86 percent of people will indeed pay a higher rate for services from a company with better reviews and ratings online.”
In all, 86 percent of respondents said they would pay more, to some degree, for a service provider with more positive reviews. Clearly, there is real revenue-generating potential for businesses with positive online reviews.
Explain the chart below that shows what respondents most frequently said regarding the information they seek when evaluating residential service providers.
“We sought to learn what information customers look for when they consult online reviews. Our study shows that the most-popular information is quality of service, which 87 percent of respondents consult. The second most-sought information with 78 percent of respondents, is cost information. So the takeaway here for business operators is to be sure to include as much information as possible in online profiles about services offered and prices. Along with that, encourage customers to leave positive reviews highlighting great quality of service and fair prices.”
Based on these findings, what are next steps residential business owners could or should take in order to ensure their business is best exemplified online and through word of mouth referrals?
“First and foremost, business owners need to emphasize excellent customer service with all team members. This will help ensure positive discussion about their brand and company, whether online or word-of-mouth. After instilling this customer service cornerstone, businesses should encourage customer to leave a comment on Yelp. I say Yelp because our study shows that 74 percent of people use Yelp to help select residential service providers. That’s 10 percent more than any other review site. Now, instead of just telling a customer, “write us a review,” businesses should make it as easy as possible for customers to do so. They can send customers a link via email or social media that takes them to the page. This will definitely increase the likelihood of getting a review."
How can a field service solution help generate better customer service? Download our whitepaper to find out!