More threads by Garrett Sussman

Mar 15, 2016
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What do other service area businesses have that you don't?

It seems some of them have an easy time getting reviews. These businesses have hundreds, sometimes thousands of five star reviews. Their customers write incredible reviews - the kind that generate leads, attract customers and create sales.

Most service businesses struggle.

But these businesses, these anomalies, they seem to do things differently. Even more amazing, they're able to attract a massive amount of reviews. While their competitors have 5, 10 or 50 reviews they have 500, 1,000, and even 5,000 positive reviews.

What's their secret?

How legendary service area businesses attract amazing reviews

Legendary service area businesses make things easier, for their customers and themselves. Believe it or not, this is why most service businesses struggle.

How do they make things easier for themselves?

They create a plan for reviews. Sounds counterintuitive, but it's true. They take the time, upfront, to create a plan that's (a.) easy for their entire team to understand (b.) simple enough for their team (and customers) to follow and (c.) simple to measure and improve.

Seriously though, who cares?

It's not like every business can accomplish the same results. Businesses are able to get customers even if they don't have a lot of reviews. What measurable difference does a large portfolio of reviews make?

Good question.

Let's do some digging through the data to find our answer. The Local Consumer Review Survey found:

  • 97 percent of consumers read online reviews for local businesses
  • 87 percent of consumers won?t even consider businesses with low ratings
  • 49 percent of consumers need at least a four star rating before they choose to use a business
  • 73 percent of consumers form an opinion about your business by reading an average of seven reviews
  • Responding to reviews is more important than ever. 30 percent of consumers feel this is key to judging a local business

The consequences of neglecting online reviews is enormous. But it's also easy to ignore. When you lose a customer to an online review nothing obvious happens.

There are less calls, yes.

But the only obvious indication that it's destroying your business is a decrease of some kind. Less leads, lost sales, declining interested based in part on historical data. It isn't always easy to identify lost growth opportunities though.

What exactly are you losing to negative/low reviews?

Go Fish Digital decided to conduct a research survey to find out. In their study, they found negative reviews had a cascading effect on lead generation, customer acquisition and sales.

  • 1 negative review: You?re likely to lose 22 percent of potential customers
  • 3 negative reviews: You?re likely to lose 59.2 percent of potential customers
  • 4 negative reviews: You?re likely to lose 70 percent of your potential customers

At this point I think it's important to add some context.

Let's say you're a company with 500 positive reviews. You have four negative reviews. Does this mean you'll lose 70 percent of potential customers coming in?

Probably not.

The issues we're dealing with then, are ratios.

So what's a good ratio?

Research conducted by Emily Heaphy and Marcial Losada, found the ideal praise-to-criticism ratio is 5 to 1. Five positive interactions for every one negative interaction.

Heaphy and Losada studied the impact this ratio has on teams inside a company. Here's where it gets interesting. They found this applied to customer interactions as well.

That's right.

At least five positive reviews for every negative review. Here's why that's important. Trust, specifically trustworthiness, is an expression of consistency and reliability over time. Your positive reviews are a written record of your consistency and reliability.

What about your negative reviews?

They serve a purpose too. Negative reviews remind you that there's work to be done. It protects you from complacency and comfort. Negative reviews (hopefully) provide you with the motivation to continually grow.

Growth isn't predictable if it's not built on...


Habits give you the momentum you need to generate consistent results, day after day. But habits need to be created and trained into an organization.


With a plan. With the right playbook you can use online reviews to grow your business quickly.

Wait a minute.

Why would you need a playbook for online reviews? Aren't online reviews as simple as asking customers to write a review and responding to negative reviews?

Absolutely not.

Reviewers aren't created equal. Reviews from bad customers tend to attract more bad customers. Extreme discount shoppers tend to bring their penny pinching friends. What's worse, because there isn't a relationship established with these customer archetypes, any reviews you receive are likely to be harsh and unforgiving.

Legendary service businesses treat their review portfolio like a garden. Something that's cultivated carefully.


Because the quality (and quantity) of your reviews correlates strongly with your conversion rate. The more reviews you acquire, the better your conversion rate.


This is where a good online review playbook comes in.

With a review playbook you can...

1. Identify the strategies and tactics you'll need to attract high quality reviews

2. Choose the right time to request a review

3. Prioritize, plan and prepare for any customer responses, positive or negative

4. Simplify the process for your team and your customers

5. Create easy-to-follow habits that make growth automatic

A good plan gives you the ability to teach others. It gives you the instruction you'll need to turn your plan into a habit. More importantly, it gives you quality assurance.

So where do you start?

Read the rest of Andrew's post here, where he goes on to provide the 4 steps to building a strong service area business review portfolio.



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