What is the Importance of Pest Control Reviews?
Today, information is available at the touch of a screen, with more than 75% of people in the US owning a smartphone.
Need the weather report? Click. Here it is.
The time of the big game? Click.
Want to know which companies have good (or bad) reputations? Click, click, click.
When people want information, they want it now, which is one reason why most people with smartphones keep them handy at all times. They use them to gather information for numerous reasons, including to rapidly compare services and reputations of pest control companies in their area.
How Much People Value Online Reviews
According to BrightLocal’s Local Consumer Review Survey for 2018;
- 86% of consumers read reviews of local businesses
- 57% of consumers stated they would only use businesses with 4 star (or higher) ratings
Meanwhile, Inc.com summarized research that shows how:
- 91% of people regularly or occasionally read online reviews
- 84 percent trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation
- 68 percent form an opinion after reading between one and six online reviews
These stats aren’t just about pest control companies, but it’s reasonable to figure that’s how people feel about those particular reviews, as well. And, here’s the bottom line: Because people rely so heavily upon internet searches to find service providers, you simply can’t afford to ignore online reviews and how they can impact your business.
So, with the importance of pest control reviews front of mind, here are some of the review sites that deserve your time and attention.
Best Review Sites for Pest Control Companies
When thinking about the best online review sites for the pest control industry, it makes sense to think about more niche sites as well as must-have general sites. The more general ones include:
Google/Google My Business — This is the most important review site so, if you only have time to focus on encouraging customers to post in one place, this is that place. Why? Google is clearly the most heavily used search engine in the United States today, the most visible of them all; and, when using this search engine, 46% of users are looking for local companies. Because these reviews may well be one of the first things a potential client sees, having strong reviews at this site is crucial.
Facebook — Although you might not immediately think of Facebook as a review site, the reality is that people often ask for recommendations on Facebook. And, at least right now, when someone offers a recommendation, the site tries to link directly to a business page and then shows that rating. So, although Facebook is not as powerful as Google as far as reviews go, making sure your ratings are high on this site can make a big difference when someone is looking for a pest control referral from their community.
For some industries, such as medical and legal ones, there are numerous review sites that focus specifically on that industry. For pest control companies, there are nowhere near that many. Options that do exist include FindPestControl.net and and LocalPestControllers.com.
So, if you offer pest control services for the home, it makes sense to also think about what review sites people might visit when searching for home-related services. Or, if you offer pest control services for businesses, then think about what review sites that businesses might use. Two possibilities to consider include Angie’s List and Yelp.
Angie’s List — At this site, people who are looking for pest control services can read local reviews on this popular site. In the past, there was a paywall used on Angie’s List but, effective in 2016, membership to this site became free, making it easy for potential customers to read reviews about your pest control company, and those of your competitors. In fact, according to BrightLocal.com, members submit more than 60,000 new reviews to Angie’s List each and every month, with 10 to 12 million unique visitors reading content at this site every month. Need more convincing? Somewhere between $10 and $15 billion in transactions has taken place between Angie’s List members and companies that provide home services.
Yelp — According to the company, people have contributed about 177 million reviews to their site as of December 31, 2018, with 16% of them falling under the general category of “Home and Local Services.” Obviously, not all of these are pest control companies, but it only takes a quick search to see that there are plenty of reviews about companies in this industry on Yelp.
Generating Positive Reviews: A Primer
At a high level, it’s deceptively simple. You simply need to provide your customers with the high quality services they need, with a keen eye towards also providing exceptional customer service. Although this won’t magically generate reviews (to make that happen, you’ll need to consistency ask your customers to post reviews), it does create the solid foundation you’ll need.
Here are other pieces of the process.
Making the Ask…Consistently
To obtain a steady supply of online reviews, it won’t be enough to seek them out randomly.. Instead, you’ll need to make the ask a regular part of your process. Otherwise, you’ll end up with reviews from time to time; and, because nobody can please everyone all the time, some of these randomly-posted reviews will be negative ones. In fact, it’s the angry and/or disgruntled customer who will be more likely to leave a random review.
So, what do you do?
Well, although it’s human nature to want to react when a negative review is posted, it’s important to consistently focus on reviews, not just when you read one that’s negative. Yes, it’s important to respond to negative reviews but, if that’s what you solely concentrate on, then you won’t be likely to dazzle potential customers who are looking for a pest control company.
Intead, focus on creating a strategic review acquisition strategy so that any negative reviews that do pop up will have a limited impact on your business.
Reviews and their role in rankings
Although Google doesn’t disclose the details of their ranking algorithm, they have stated how review counts and ratings are factored into the local ranking algorithm. How much? We can’t know that, for sure.
What we do know: There are approximately 200 different baked-in ranking signals in Google’s algorithm. There are strategic ways to test ranking factors and, through correlative analysis, some generally-accepted principles can be asserted. Through that process, we know that, yes. Reviews play a big role in Google’s local ranking algorithm.
It’s highly likely that online reviews are a top ranking signal. In fact, this is one of the largest local, competitive difference makers, especially when you add in one more fact. In the past, Google has stated how it works to algorithmically demote sites with poor reviews/customer experience problems.
So we have Google’s acknowledgement about the role of reviews, along with studies that find the following correlation: The number of positive reviews and the velocity at which you acquire them affects rankings in the local packs and local organic results.
This therefore leads to the following recommendation: regularly get reviews, doing all you can at your business to ensure they’re positive ones.
Top Review Generating Platforms
At your pest control company, it’s likely that most of your team is focused on providing services to customers, which makes good sense. So, how do you find enough time to focus on consistently generating positive online reviews? This can be especially challenging if you don’t have a marketing department—and, whether you do or don’t have a marketing team, this is where a review generating service can come into play.
Moving on to the next question . . . With all the reputation and review services available today, which one should you use for your pest control company? You’ll want one that helps you to:
- request and generate reviews
- respond to comments
- consolidate reviews into a dashboard that allows you to see how you’re doing across different sites
Here are a few sites to explore and consider.
Podium — This platform allows your company to manage client relationships and increase reviews, across sites, using text messaging. For ease of use, online reviews and client interactions are consolidated into a single dashboard, allowing your team to streamline online review management. From that dashboard, you can request for your customers to post reviews and you can respond to posted ones. Podium also makes it easier to spot weaknesses in your review program by providing a daily interactions report. This platform’s pricing is based on the number of locations being managed; note that it is one of the pricier choices.
ReviewTrackers — This tool also allows you to conduct reputation management from the cloud. You’ll be notified when a new review is posted on any of the review sites that this tool monitors, such as Google and Facebook. This means you can respond quickly, virtually in real time, if you choose. ReviewTrackers provides you with daily snapshots of activity, along with intelligence about trending keywords and topics. Professional plans start at $54/month.
BirdEye — Through this all-in-one reputation and review management system, you can control all of your online business listings. You can monitor the posting of new reviews, and respond immediately. Plus, you can use email or text/SMS to request that customers post reviews, making it a seamless part of your post-service process. BirdEye incorporates social media sharing as well as rank tracking. If this interests you, contact them for pricing, because it is quote based.
Grade.us — The platform integrates directly with Google and Facebook, which means you can respond directly to reviews without leaving the Grade.us dashboard. You can send review requests through email or text, and you can print request cards that can be sent with mailers. Automated reports can be set up, and reviews posted on other sites can also be embedded directly on your pest control company website. This is one of the better known and trusted review acquisition and management tools, with pricing starting at $90/month (or $75/month if paid annually).
Responding to Pest Control Company Reviews
Respond to ALL Reviews — Positive and Negative
Yes, responding to all reviews can seem quite tedious, especially as your company’s acquisition process kicks into higher gear and more reviews are posted. But, it’s also a necessary task if you want to optimize the value you can receive from reviews.
It may seem counterintuitive to respond to both positive and negative reviews alike, but a Harvard Business Review study found that, when businesses do so, their ratings and number of reviews increase:
“Overall, these analyses suggested that improved ratings can be directly linked to management responses. And, perhaps surprisingly, we also found that when managers respond to positive reviews, it has the same benefits as when they respond to negative reviews.”
No, this study wasn’t about pest control companies. It was about hotel reviews, but that doesn’t mean that the concept wouldn’t hold true for the pest control industry. There is no reason that it shouldn’t.
Assign the right person to respond to reviews
It might be tempting to assign responses to the new person on the team, or the person that you haven’t found the right place for yet, but reviews are far too important to use this approach. You’ll want to assign review management to a trusted employee at your company, and prioritize this task (rather than making it an add-on or afterthought). You’ll want to assign this to someone who has both the knowledge of how to respond to all reviews and the authority to speak on behalf of your pest control company when crafting responses.
Professionally handle negative reviews
No matter how well you provide services to your customers, you will receive a negative review someday. Perhaps even a scathing one. It’s just the way the online world works today. So, when this happens to you, stay calm. Respond professionally, keeping the following notion in mind: Yes, you’re responding to the reviewer but, because this is all quite public, you’re also responding to anyone and everyone who reads this review and response, whether today, tomorrow or next year.
So, when you receive a negative online review:
Compose your thoughts before responding. Picture that you’re having a discussion with your best friend or significant other, and the conversation is starting to get heated. He or she then makes what feels like a snarky remark and you’re SO tempted to respond emotionally. But, if you think about it, even for a few moments, it will probably become clear that a defensive response won’t improve the situation, and may in fact transform the discussion into an argument.
This is also true with negative reviews. Someone may have posted a comment that is clearly unfair, so it’s tempting to debate that person. Instead, take a few minutes to do some deep breathing or whatever else will help to calm you, and then respond in a reasoned manner. This may help to diffuse the emotion that the angry reviewer left. And, if not, other readers can see your mature and professional response.
Make sure you have all the facts. Before you respond, ensure that you understand the facts about the situation that upset the reviewer. This gives you the best opportunity to address concerns and factually address the issues involved.
Acknowledge the issue being discussed and present the facts. Often, people who leave negative reviews do so because they don’t feel like people were listening to what they had to say. Sometimes, their feelings of being slighted are legitimate. No matter the specifics, simply acknowledging what the reviewer had to say can help to calm the online waters. You can then provide relevant information as unemotionally as possible. Respond with empathy and a customer-service mindset, rather than acting like a prosecutor grilling a defendant. And, again, even if this doesn’t help with the specific reviewer you’re responding to, it will likely go a long ways in positioning your pest control company as a professional one as others read your responses.
Be as brief as possible. You don’t need to offer up a lengthy dissertation, or make comments or ask questions that will lengthen this conversation. In general, stick to three or four sentences, keeping the response to the point.
Use offline channels for resolution. Ask the reviewer talk to you offline, whether by phone or email. This will, ideally, turn the online conversation into one that you can have in private. So, provide a good contact number or email so your designated review-handler can manage the conversation.
Here’s what you can’t do:
- Don’t ask them to change or remove a review.
- Don’t offer incentives for them to do so.
Instead, if you can talk to that person offline, be sure to manage the conversation in a way that may cause a disgruntled customer to upgrade the review. We’ve seen this happen!
Recognize that not everyone can be satisfied. There are people, unfortunately, who are only happy when they have a reason to be unhappy. Or, maybe someone is bored and is looking for someone who will engage in a debate. Here’s the bottom line. You can’t please the trolls. Their goal is to be negative online. In this circumstance, professionally acknowledge the review and move on.
How to boost your online ratings
Increase 4- and 5-star reviews — You’ll need to do this to significantly increase your overall star ratings, so focus on getting as many quality reviews as possible. This is especially important if you’re just starting to seriously focus on ratings management.
Include review solicitation in your post-service procedures. Yes, we’ve already said this before, but you really need to make review acquisition part of your routine to maximize what you can gain from online reviews. So, it makes sense to solicit new reviews when you’ve finished providing pest control services to a customer. In your paperwork, you can include the request that customers review your company. To make it easier for them, create a simple postcard that you can leave with them that provides instructions. You can also provide this information on your website. Note that Yelp does not permit companies to solicit reviews.
Provide excellent customer service. Providing great service is one of the best things you can do to ensure overall great reviews. And, if you provide exceptional service, this will go a long way in helping to prevent most negative ones.
It’s just a fact of life today that people leave online reviews and other people consult them when looking to choose service providers, including pest control companies. So, the more quickly and thoroughly that your company creates and implements a review acquisition strategy, the more easily you can differentiate your company from the competition.
What you’re doing, then, is turning online reviews into something that once may have felt like a hassle into one of your biggest assets for your pest control company.