Expert Tips for Cleaning Companies to Improve Online Reviews

  • December 18, 2018
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We asked the experts about what advice they have for cleaning companies who want to improve their online reviews. We got responses from experts in a number of industries, including owners of cleaning companies with firsthand experience in handling online reviews.

Here’s their advice.

1. Greg Shepard, CEO of Emily’s Maids in Dallas

We have one of the highest-rated reputations online among all the maid services. The tiredly repeated advice of focusing on getting 5-star reviews to drown out 1-star reviews is somewhat misleading. Of course, 5-star reviews help. BUT removing a 1-star review has a much bigger impact to your rating.

To do this, do EVERYTHING possible to make that unhappy customer, happy. Even if you have to give away your services for free. In the end, the higher online rating will more than compensate the cost.

Let’s say you have five, 5-star Yelp reviews and one, 1-star review for a total of 6 Yelp reviews. To reach 5 stars on Yelp you can either 1) add ten, 5-star reviews or 2), remove that one, 1-star review.

As you can see, removing that 1-star review is the quickest way to 5 stars. A fellow owner had calculated their business lost $3000.00 monthly in business by having 4.5 stars instead of 5 stars. So giving a free $250.00 clean to persuade a customer to remove that 1-star review is a small price to pay not to lose the extra $3000.00!

Greg Shepard is the CEO and Founder of Emily’s Maids in Dallas, Texas.

2. Joe Goldstein, Director of SEO & Operations, Contractor Calls

While you can’t pay for (or even incentivize) reviews on any review platform that matters, you can absolutely offer gift cards to customers who upload before and after photos of their property. Once you’ve put a customer in a good mood, led them to your review profile, and got them to log in and upload their photos, it doesn’t take much of a reminder to get a review as well.

Another highly effective option is to incentivize your employees instead. If you have multiple teams or cleaners in the field who can earn their own reviews, run contests to see who can earn the most reviews over the next month, without breaking any terms of service.

While the exact prize should depend on your business’s model and overall size, your options are nearly limitless. Just make sure the prize is big enough to keep them engaged, but not so big that it demoralizes everyone who doesn’t win.

Joe Goldstein is the Director of SEO & Operations at Contractor Calls, a web design, SEO, and online marketing agency that works with plumbers, landscapers, cleaning companies, and other home service businesses.

3. Brandon Seymour, Founder of Beymour Consulting

Positive reviews are worth their weight in gold. Have you ever noticed how most businesses seem to have a lot more negative reviews than positive ones? Loss aversion plays a big role here.

In most cases, a customer’s general expectation is that they’ll have a positive experience. Since the bar is already set pretty high, it doesn’t take much to ruin their experience (I talk a lot about this here). That’s why I put such a high value on positive reviews – and that’s why customers do, too.

Another great metric is the churn rate. When you measure YoY and MoM attrition, you can more accurately estimate the approximate lifetime value for customers, which can help you calculate your marketing ROI. For technical support and call centers, I like to measure problem resolution time. This metric refers to the length of time it takes to resolve an incident. This metric is great for vetting the performance of individual employees.

Brandon Seymour is an SEO and online marketing strategist with over a decade of experience, and the founder of Beymour Consulting.

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4. Nicolas Straut, SEO Associate, Fundera

Service companies can improve their online reviews on various review sites by incentivizing honest reviews from their customers. A local dentist achieved great results by promising a $15 gift card for every review, whether positive or negative, on Yelp, Google, and Facebook. Making the reward a gift card rather than additional free services like a cleaning is important because $15 will likely be cheaper.

If you would rather not offer the $15, you could also consider just leaving a postcard-sized card after cleanings encouraging customers to review you on one side and a code for a 25% off a cleaning on the other. The discount will encourage customers not to throw out the card. Explicitly asking customers to review you could also be effective and you can track what customers haven’t yet reviewed you (for repeated asks) because most customers will have their first names associated with a reviewing account.”

Nicolas is an SEO Associate at Fundera, a marketplace for small business financial solutions, who has improved reviews for a number of startups on Google and Yelp.

5. Dustyn Ferguson, Writer and Blogger

Do everything to make bad reviews right. If someone leaves a bad review, see what you can do to fix it.

If you go above and beyond trying to fix things, more often than not they’ll remove the bad review. Even if they don’t end up removing it, replying to the review publicly will minimize the effects it has when other potential customers read it.

Dustyn Ferguson is a writer and blogger in Rhode Island for Cleaning Zoom.

6. John Pilmer, Founder of Pilmer PR

To take charge of their online reputations, brands need to be tuned in across all of the major review sites (Yelp, Google, Facebook), as well as the niche sites that apply to their industry (Angie’s List, HomeAdvisor, etc). The first tip we give clients is to do their best work. If you have a pile of negative reviews online, learn from this feedback and move forward with stellar customer service.

The second tip is to respond to every single review, good or bad. If you don’t have the time to respond personally, hire a third-party to do it for you. It is well worth your money. Even if you can’t change the mind of an angry customer, a civil response will often win over prospective buyers, especially if the positive reviews outweigh the negative ones.

My third tip is to gather as many positive reviews as possible. Negative reviews are bound to happen (you can’t please everyone), but you can bury those negative comments with glowing responses. Don’t be afraid to ask satisfied customers to leave you an honest review on their preferred platform. Make it simple for them to do so with an email reminder or a link right on your website. It can also help to have social media “check-in” points on your premises, reminding consumers to take out their phones.

Finally, I’d just advise companies to invest the time and money in managing their reviews. An overwhelming majority of customers make decisions based on these review sites, and a company can lose up to 22% of their potential business with just one negative review on the front page of a web search.

John Pilmer, APR is an award-winning, accredited public relations and marketing communications advisor for emerging sector leaders. His firm, PilmerPR BLLC facilitated the launch of four startups into the Inc. 500 Fastest Growing Companies in America. He holds an undergraduate degree in Business Management and Marketing from Brigham Young University, as well as an MBA from the University of Utah.

7. David Ambrogio, Owner of Tiger Wash

Make it easy for customers to leave reviews. Have a review generation system, either email or text message based, in place to follow up and solicit reviews after service, with a simplified review process with easy links to several different review sites.

Respond to every review you get. It shows that you value your customers’ opinions and are hearing what they have to say (whether positive or negative).

Ask for reviews from every customer, every time. Just don’t be pushy.

Let customers leave a review on the site/platform(s) of their choice. It may be tempting to try to push more reviews on certain platforms by only giving customers specific options. This will only limit the number of reviews you get by excluding customers who are not active on those platforms.

Feature a “Leave a Review” button prominently on your website which links to a special reviews page with links to your company on several review platforms.

David Ambrogio is an SEO & content strategist and the owner of Tiger Wash, a pressure washing and gutter cleaning company in New Orleans and Baton Rouge, Louisiana

8. Harris Brown, Founder of HFB Advertising

Use online reputation management software. This will give the company an email alert and monitor reviews with 3 stars or less to actually talk with the customer before the review goes public to see where the problems are.

Also, the software allows you not to publish low star reviews from customers if you choose that option. The only visible reviews will be from customers that submit 4 and 5-star reviews will be publicly visible. There are many different options for companies to display the best reviews only, using reputation management software.

Harris Brown is the Founder of HFB Advertising, a company that provides custom advertising design services, graphic design, marketing materials, and digital marketing. Harris has been doing advertising design for 20+ years for small business and high-profile companies.

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