A customer writing an online review for a contractor

A Guide To Google Reviews For Home Services Businesses

Article Summary

The article offers a guide for contractors on managing Google Reviews effectively.

Learn the importance of actively seeking and responding to customer reviews, how to optimize your review process, and how to leverage positive reviews to build trust and attract more leads.

Discover the power of Google reviews for home services businesses, as online reviews have become the modern equivalent of word-of-mouth referrals. Our comprehensive guide offers valuable insights and strategies to effectively harness the potential of Google reviews for your business.

Why Google Reviews Are So Gosh-Darned Important For Contractors

As any seasoned contractor will tell you, getting referrals is only possible when you have a good reputation in your community.

No one recommends a contractor to their friends, family, or even enemies if they’ve had a bad experience with them. You simply don’t hear, “Yeah, he was late and a bit rude, but you should definitely call him to get your kitchen done.” Referrals only come from customers who adore you and your work.

Your Google reviews act as your reputation online, and they have the power to make or break you as a contractor. According to recent polls, 8 out of 10 consumers trust online reviews as much or more than personal recommendations, and almost everyone looks at reviews before making a purchase decision.

For contractors who want more referral business, it’s obvious that online reviews are a vital part of building your reputation in the community and generating those quality leads. But there are many other benefits to Google reviews as well.

Advantages Of Google Reviews For Your Home Services Business

Google reviews boost your online presence, optimize your marketing strategies, and help you reach your professional goals. As your good reputation grows through positive reviews on Google and other trusted sources, you’ll find that the following will also be true of your home services business:

  • Established Identity: More people will have heard about your contracting business and your services.
  • Improved Brand Trust: More people in the community and online will trust you.
  • Increased SEO Results: Your website and Google Business Profile will rank better in search results.
  • Higher Conversion Rates: Potential customers will be more motivated to book with you and will be more likely to choose you over your competitors.

Person reading Google reviews on their phone

How Can Home Services Businesses Get More Reviews?

Home services businesses should ask customers for Google reviews at every opportunity. At the end of every project or service, ask for a review. If you receive a compliment from a customer, ask for a review. When you solve a problem for a customer, ask for a review. Make it a part of your daily, weekly, and monthly work routine. Even if only a small percentage of people take the time to leave you feedback, you’ll still have a continual flow of reviews coming in. So, stay alert and proactive about asking for them.

Another important facet to generating more Google reviews is making sure that your employees or business partners are also comfortable asking for feedback consistently. Some may be hesitant to ask for feedback, so encourage them through continual reminders and demonstrate how to do it yourself.

The fact is that continually generating and maintaining your Google reviews takes time and effort. Even contractors who know the importance of Google reviews might still have trouble finding the time to maintain their reputation online. However, divvying up the work across your entire team and carving out short periods of time throughout the week to manage your reviews can make all the difference in having a strong online reputation, even though you’re busy.

How To Ask For Google Reviews

Customer leaving a Google Review for a local plumberWhile it may seem awkward for you, reviews are so commonplace today that most customers have no problem writing you a review, especially if you’ve provided them with excellent service. People love sharing their opinions with others but might just need a little nudge to do so.

A simple yet direct approach is often the most effective. For example, after you’ve received a compliment from a customer, you might say:

“That is so good to hear. We really try our best to help our customers. You know, if you could write what you just said in a review on Google, that would be awesome. Those kinds of comments really help people feel more confident about choosing us.”

Or, perhaps, if you’re on a phone call with a customer, you could say towards the end of the call:

“I’m glad we were able to help you today with [customer problem or concern]. If you have the time, we’d appreciate if you would be able to share this experience on Google. Other customers really like to see that they’ll get support from us when things come up.”

You could also create an opportunity to ask for a Google review by asking the customer if they enjoyed their experience or if there was anything you could do to improve. This way, you create an environment where your customers feel heard and appreciated. This can go a long way to building a loyal customer relationship and even a positive Google review in the future.

5 Things Contractors Need To Know About Google Reviews

As mentioned earlier, online reviews can make or break you as a contractor. Positive feedback builds a solid reputation in your community and boosts the quality and quantity of the jobs you land. But there are also negative reviews to contend with.

Yes, asking for more Google reviews means you will likely receive more negative reviews as well. But don’t let that hold you back from managing your online reputation. The fact of the matter is that you’re going to receive online feedback about your contracting business whether or not you ask for it. So make sure you’re getting the most out of your Google reviews with some tips from the experts at Projects Plus Marketing:

Respond To Every Single Review You Get

An opportunity that many home services businesses miss out on is responding to their Google reviews. Simply replying to reviews online can increase your revenue because it shows potential customers, and search engines, that you value customer service. For the best results, respond to all reviews within 2 - 3 days.

Another common mistake is responding only to unhappy customers. Google tends to showcase reviews that have responses. If you only respond to negative reviews, you run the risk of that content being more prevalent on the search page.

Instead, take the time to respond to every review you get—the good, the bad, and yes, even the spammy. Responses leave good impressions and increase the chances of continued or repeat business.

Responding to Google reviews is also an opportunity to let others know more about your business. In your responses, try to include the person’s name, the services they used, and your business name when it feels natural to do so. Additionally, you can share a company value that fits well with what the user shared in the review comments.

How To Respond To Negative Google Reviews

Negative Google reviews happen to everyone. It’s important to realize that your response as a business owner holds more weight than the negative review itself. Keeping calm and professional when responding to negative feedback will show other potential customers that you value your customers and are actively engaged in managing problems that arise.

Acknowledge the customer’s concerns, apologize when necessary, and offer contact information to solve the problem with the customer personally offline. Reasonable responses attract reasonable people, whereas public arguments, finger-pointing, or name-calling will drive away other potential customers even if you know that you were in the right.

Be Realistic About Your Star Rating

Surprising to many contractors, a less-than-perfect star rating on Google actually helps your home services business. Sure, criticism is never fun, but it’s well-understood that even the best businesses will have haters. A handful of negative reviews outweighed by many positive reviews make you appear more authentic (and thus more trustworthy) online.

Additionally, when prospective customers read your prompt and level headed replies, they will be more inclined to contact you. It sends the message that you provide exceptional customer service to everyone, not just happy customers.

Of course, you’ll want to keep your star rating as high as possible to stand out from your competitors. Still, customers generally trust local businesses more if they have a star rating between 4.3 – 4.9 over any other rating. That includes even a perfect 5-star rating.

Frequency Matters With Google Reviews

However, it’s not only about your average star rating. The number of reviews you have, how recent those reviews are, and what the review content says about you also come into play with how well you rank on search results.

For example, Google does not like to see a flood of reviews followed by a drought. Suppose Google sees that your business has a large number of reviews but no recent ones; it may conclude that you’re out-of-business or temporarily closed and send fewer visitors as a result.

On the flip side, suppose your business has a huge influx of positive reviews in a very short period of time. Both the search engine and potential customers might conclude that these reviews are fake or incentivized. Your business might even get flagged based solely on the frequency of your reviews.

Instead, aim for a consistent flow of reviews each month. There is no magic number you need to receive each month; however, it’s important to know that reviews older than six months are generally considered outdated. Regularly receiving new reviews shows potential customers that you’re still thriving.

Avoid Review-Gating or Incentivizing Reviews

Like most major review sites, Google has strict guidelines that explicitly forbid business owners from gatekeeping or incentivizing reviews and generally place heavy fines and penalties on companies that do so.

Avoid practices that include asking for client feedback before sending review requests. Avoid coaching clients on how to work their reviews. And avoid offering anything in exchange for a positive review.

Especially for new home services businesses, you may be tempted to ask fellow professionals, previous business partners, friends, or family to leave you a review. Or you might get offers from third-party companies to boost your positive Google reviews in some way. These practices also have a high risk of breaking Google’s policies, so it’s best to steer clear.

Flag Inappropriate or Fake Reviews

But Google’s guidelines don’t only protect customers; they also protect you as a business owner. At some point, most contractors will have a run-in with an inappropriate or spammy review. If a review breaks community guidelines or is from someone who did not directly do business with you, you can request it to be taken down.

How To Remove Bogus Reviews

Take the following steps when you encounter inappropriate or bogus reviews:

  1. Respond. Before flagging a review, first, respond to the review. It may take some time for the review to be removed if it is deemed inappropriate. In the meantime, it’s good practice to have a response posted for anyone who happens to see the review.
  2. Flag Review. Next, report the review to Google. Unless a review violates their policies, it’s highly unlikely that a negative review will be removed. Still, it is still worth taking the time to do so if you believe the reviewer has not received services from you.

Only report the ones you feel qualify for removal. Don’t flag a review simply because you disagree with it or don’t like it, as that can lower your chances of getting any bogus review removed at all.

Google Review Management for Home Services Businesses

As we all know, generating and managing your reviews online can take a lot of time and effort. But you can have a team of experts on your side to help coach you through it. Projects Plus Marketing has over 27 years of experience helping local contractors across the country grow their home services businesses with strategic online marketing efforts.

Regularly consult with our owners, Michelle and Vince Adamo, on how to effectively generate and maintain your Google reviews and a whole mess of other online marketing strategies, like paid ads or local SEO. Contact us today for a consultation.

Common Questions From Contractors About Google Reviews

In today’s world, online reviews, especially Google reviews, have taken the place of traditional word-of-mouth referrals. Google reviews are especially important for contractors because they can have a direct effect on lead generation.

A good reputation through positive Google reviews and a high star rating can also build customer trust in home services businesses and motivate them to hire them faster. Google reviews also have a high impact on how high contractors' websites appear in search engine results.

Google will only remove bad reviews if it has broken company guidelines. So, it’s important only to report reviews that you feel qualify for removal. Google will not remove a review simply because you disagree with it.

Reviews that contain hate speech, offensive or inappropriate content, or false or deceptive information all qualify for removal. In addition, you can request that Google remove a review from your profile if you believe that the reviewer did not receive products or services from your company or is from a rival company or disgruntled employee.

First, respond to a bad or fake review. Then, you can request a review removal through Google’s support team online. Removing a false or inappropriate review can take some time, so be patient with the Google team and do not send in multiple requests for the same review.

For the best results, it’s important to respond to every review your business gets within 2 - 3 business days. When you receive a positive Google review, thank your customer sincerely and share a company value when appropriate. You might also include the customer’s first name, the services they used, or your business name when it feels natural to do so.

Respond to negative Google reviews calmly and professionally. Acknowledge the customer’s concerns, apologize when necessary, and offer contact information to solve the problem with the customer personally offline. Avoid public arguments, finger-pointing, or name-calling at all costs.

Bogus, inappropriate, or spam reviews also need responses. It can take time for Google to take a review down after you’ve reported it, so in the meantime, a succinct and professional reply can let potential customers know that the review in question is not to be taken seriously.

Most of the time, a missing Google review is not a cause for concern. Reviews will not appear on a profile if the review includes spam or inappropriate content.

Reviews might also be lost if your Google Business Profile was recently reinstated after a suspension or was merged with another profile. In cases like that, you can send a support ticket to Google to clear up the matter if the review has not appeared for several days.