Author | Chatmeter TeamDate Posted | June 27, 2019

Why reputation management is a must for service-based businesses

When you’re searching for a place to eat there are a few things that you look at before you decide on a restaurant; proximity, menu, price, photos, and reviews. But even if a restaurant doesn’t have the best reviews you may still eat there because the food in the photos look delicious or they have an item on the menu that you’ve been craving. For businesses that sell products, a few bad reviews might not keep customers from visiting that business, but for service-based businesses reviews are everything.

Service businesses rely on the power of reviews to generate new customers. Think for a second about the last time you’ve seen an Uber driver with 3-stars or less? Never? That’s because companies like Uber or Lyft will deactivate drivers with too low of ratings. It may sound harsh, but for a service-based business, reputation is a direct reflection of the business itself.

The Value of a Review

When 95% of consumers read reviews before making a purchasing decision, reviews have become increasingly valuable to businesses. For service-based businesses like hair salons, contractors, law firms, movers, real estate agents, accountants and hundreds of other services, reviews can make or break your business.

Reviews are just as impactful as referrals. Many service-based businesses rely on word-of-mouth referrals to maintain their business but recent studies have found that 91% of 18 – 34 year-olds trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Bethe internet has a much further reach than word-of-mouth marketing, reviews are the most powerful marketing tool a service-based business can use.

According to Harvard Business School, a one-star increase on Yelp can have a 5-9% increase in revenue. Even more shocking, only 13% of people are willing to consider a business with 1 or 2-star ratings. The ratings your service-based business earns directly correlate with the health of your brand as a whole.

How Reviews Impact Your Rankings

Less than 2% of people will scroll past the first page of results. This means if your business isn’t on page-1 you’re not even being considered. There are many factors that go into how search engines and directories rank a business. According to the annual local search rankings survey, experts believe that reviews account for 15% of how Google ranks a business. This is up 2% from the year before and almost 5% since 2015. It’s clear that reviews are becoming more and more valuable and it’s showing in your rankings.

For some service-based businesses that receive a large majority of their clients from insurance referrals, like collision repair or water damage restoration, your rankings and reviews play a vital role in the success of your business. Insurance companies are simply looking to offer their clients the best service in their area. Therefore, insurance companies rely on search directories to guide them with the best options. Insurance companies turn to the reviews and rankings of a business to make the best decision on behalf of their client. If your service-based business isn’t ranking on the first page, you could be losing out on millions in revenue each year.

How to Manage the Reputation of a Service Business

There are 3 keys to reputation management for a service-based business.

1. Monitor Your Reviews – In order to see what people are saying about your business,  you have to be actively monitoring your reviews across every search engine and business directory. 16% of the 184 million reviews found on Yelp are for home and local services and that’s still less than the number of reviews people are leaving on Google and Facebook. In order to successfully monitor your reviews, you need a reputation management tool, like Chatmeter, in place to help you do this.

2. Respond to Reviews – Responding to reviews has many benefits. They help the customer feel heard. The keywords found in the responses can help improve rankings. And ⅓ of the time customers will even go so far as removing their negative review when a business replies.

It is just as important that brands are responding regularly and across every review site. In our 2019 Local Brand Report: Reputation’s Role in Healthcare, we found that Healthcare providers were responding to around 80% of their Google reviews but only 1% of their Facebook reviews. Not all consumers search using the same tools, which is why it’s important businesses are responding to reviews wherever customers are leaving them.

3. Make Adjustments – It’s one thing to monitor and respond to reviews but if you’re not making adjustments in your business based on customer feedback, you’re not going to see improvements in your rankings or reviews.

For multi-location brands, you may even find trends at specific locations that are impacting their reviews. Using a tool like Chatmeter’s Pulse, can help you identify the trending topics that lead to negative sentiment in reviews at each location. By making location-based adjustments you can help keep each location on par with brand standards.

If you’re a service-based business, reputation management is a must. When each star rating can impact your revenue by up to 9%, not actively managing your reviews and reputation is a risk most brands aren’t willing to take. This is why Chatmeter is dedicated to helping multi-location service brands monitor and protect their reputation. Looking to see where your reputation stands? Try our free instant brand audit tool by clicking here.