By Shellie Kreter and Bill Smith, BBB Reporters
BBB’s Customer Reviews have been helping consumers easily find positive information about Accredited Businesses for over a year now, and by all measurements, the program is a success.
BBB Accredited Businesses tell us that BBB’s customer reviews have helped them to stand out from the competition and get more business. BBB has received 6,777 customer reviews so far in 2015, a 117% increase over 2014—and it’s only September.
According to marketing firm BrightLocal, fully 88 percent of people surveyed said they consulted online reviews either occasionally or regularly. By all accounts, customer reviews are here to stay, and they’ll only get more popular.
So how can BBB Customer Reviews help your business to shine?
Reading positive BBB Customer Reviews on your BBB Business Review shows potential customers that not only are you committed to customer service, but also that your customers are satisfied with your work.
Daniel LaGarce , owner of Budget Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing in St. Charles, sees BBB Customer Reviews as valuable tools for bringing in business, he said. They demonstrate to potential customers that “we’re good at what we do.”
Doc Murcelli, owner of St. Louis Leather Repair, says that customer reviews are a “huge benefit” because “they help you to see your impact on the clients, and the benefit of our products and services as a whole.”
Customer Reviews can also help you communicate the value of your products and services. Michael Beran owns and manages Wildlife Command Center, an Accredited Business in Imperial, Mo., that conducts nuisance wild animal control. Beran calls BBB Customer Reviews critical to building a company’s positive image in the community.
“Many customers call me for service and, during that conversation, they mention that they read reviews and testimonials and say things like, ‘You’re a little more expensive, but I think you are the right company to handle my problem.’”
Aaron Eades of Accredited Business Elite Pest Control in Cape Girardeau, Mo., says he’s had similar experiences. He has says that many customers specifically hire him because of his BBB Accreditation, and these customers are more likely to write a BBB Customer Review.
At CJS Roofing in Fenton, owner Chris Sielfleisch, said prospective consumers put a high priority on the reviews of past customers. The reviews also offer what Sielfleisch calls “an opportunity to learn. We never think we know everything and are always open to learn from customers.”
Daniel LaGarce agreed, saying, “By constantly receiving new reviews, it helps refine our service and products and makes sure we are remaining competitive, efficient and customer oriented.” By interacting with your customers through the customer reviews, you can maintain your relationship with them and remind them that customer service is important to your business.
Customer Reviews can enhance the appearance and quality of your BBB Business Review in online search results. Accredited Businesses with Customer Reviews have their customer review star user rating displayed beside the link to their BBB Business Review in search results for their business. Your star rating, which is calculated using your BBB rating and your Customer Review average, will give Internet users a quick and easy visual indication of the quality of your work.
Accredited Business owners also say that the process of leaving a review can be as easy as finding the reviews. Many businesses make sure to provide their customers with a direct link to the web page where customers can write a review for their business. Carolyn Sandgren-Kempf, owner of Accredited Business Elite Travel, says that she loves “the ease of taking a few seconds to click a link from our web page to say something great.”
Chuck Easter, president of Easter Fence, Deck and Renovations of South St. Louis County, agrees that people searching for reputable businesses want to be able to access information quickly. Online reviews offer an ideal way to do that. Even the occasional poor review is beneficial, he said, because it alerts the company to an area needing improvement, and it offers an opportunity to turn a negative customer experience into a positive one.
Accredited Business owners tell BBB that they have found that all customers, and younger customers in particular, depend on BBB customer reviews.
Today’s internet-savvy consumers expect customer reviews, and BBB’s customer reviews provide the great information and user experience that they’re looking for. The information in customer reviews will help your business show off your great work and display the strong values that make your businesses succeed. So ask your customers to get reviewing today!
Several BBB Accredited Businesses share tips on getting more BBB Customer Reviews:
GO AHEAD AND ASK! – Daniel LaGarce said the best way to get customer reviews is simply to ask. “When they’re happy with the service, they’re more than willing to say something nice about us.” Patty Vergano of County Cottage Realty says, “I try to make it a practice – to ask customers to write a review if it was a positive experience.”
MAKE IT PART OF YOUR CLOSING PROCEDURE – Robert Bynum, owner of Like New Construction, based in St. Louis County says that as soon as his business finishes a job, “we ask customers to submit reviews.”
ADD IT TO YOUR SURVEY – Veterans United Home Loans has added a request for customer reviews to the survey it sends to customers after they close on their homes, said Matt Polsky, client experience manager for the company.
GIVE THEM THE LINK – Make it easy for customers by emailing them with the link to submit a customer review. Kenneth Miller with Classic Buildings LLC says that if customers are happy, he sends them an email with a link to BBB’s customer review page.
PICK UP THE PHONE – Michael Beran from Wildlife Command Center actively solicits reviews from customers during a follow-up phone call and then emails then a link to the review site.
MOTIVATE YOUR EMPLOYEES – Chris Gianino, owner of Simple Moves, a moving and storage business that serves the St. Louis area, says they also send survey cards to their customers. He said they use customer reviews to identify employees for a variety of reward and incentive programs. Carolyn Sandgren-Kempf agrees: “It’s very encouraging for our staff when people sing our praises: It makes us want to do more.”
This article originally appeared in the Fall 2015 BBB’s Torchlight magazine, produced exclusively for BBB Accredited Businesses and BBB Accredited Charities.