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Going Old School to Rack Up Reviews

Asking customers for reviews proves to be more effective than solely using automated email invites.

A few months ago we signed up for One Firefly’s Review Champ product. Over several weeks we racked up 30+ Google reviews by making one simple tweak to our job closeout process: we began asking for the reviews in person.

Don’t get me wrong, I love robots and automation. If we can automate something or relieve someone from a repetitive task, we generally do it (after all, automation is part of our DNA). Our company runs on fresh ideas, and some of our proudest moments have come when an installer suggests a process change that saves us hundreds of hours annually. Sometimes, however, we get a little automation-happy. Just because we can automate something doesn’t mean we should. We need look no further than our own customer projects to figure that one out (needlessly integrated anything lately?). As it turns out, asking for reviews and social media posts are something best left to the old fashioned human touch.

Also by Henry Clifford: Scripting Your Way To Victory

Before Review Champ came along, we’d used Trustpilot (a popular third-party review service) for the last six years to rack up nearly 200 reviews online. We did it mostly by automating an emailed invitation to the client after the job closed. I was so proud of that automation that I never stopped to focus on the fact that, while our invite rate might’ve been 100 percent, we were getting less than 5 percent of our customers to actually rate us online. We’d dehumanized and anonymized the process, making it too easy to delete our emails and not participate. We didn’t expect our installers or sales reps to ask for reviews because the robots were doing it, all the while efficiently delivering terrible results.

When I think about our industry strengths, one of them is we’re local as hell. We’re the smiling face. We’re the friendly neighborhood technology experts. People aren’t buying Livewire, they’re buying Amanda, Dante, Matt, Patrick, Andre, Marshall, Todd, Ricky, Bryce, Jonathan, Ben, Stacy, Brad, and many more. If the client gets an email from Livewire asking for a review, they’re going to delete it. If Amanda asks Mrs. Johnson to rate us at the end of a project, who’s winning that one?

Needless to say, we’re now incenting our installers to text or email the Review Champ invite out at the end of every job while asking the customer to participate face to face. We look at our invite and review rates weekly and celebrate our top inviters by giving out cash spiffs and raffle tickets for CEDIA trips.

We want to get our response rate to 50 percent and we currently sit around 25 percent. That’s not great, but it’s much better than our single-digit performance under the prior robot regime.

Also by Henry Clifford: Supercharge Revenue By Increasing Your Average Sale

Another key differentiator with Review Champ is that any review less than four stars gets escalated to our operations manager before it ends us getting posted online. This simple means of controlling the narrative while allowing us to fix small issues before they turn into big problems has proven invaluable, and I wish we’d started sooner.

As you consider your business, are you playing to your strengths as the local expert or having robots do work better suited for face to face interactions?

Stay frosty, and see you in the field.

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