Online reviews are especially important for HVAC businesses for a few reasons:
- Reviews are a local ranking factor. Getting more reviews can help your HVAC business rank higher in the search engine results pages (SERPS).
- Most people don’t understand HVAC systems and equipment. When you don’t understand what is wrong with your HVAC system, you have to take a leap of faith when choosing a repair company. You have to trust that your service person is competent and being honest with you.
- HVAC technicians come to your place of residence. You don’t want just anybody coming over to your house.
- HVAC repairs can be expensive. You don’t want to be “upsold” on a $6k unit you don’t need.
These concerns lead to a healthy amount of anxiety for your potential customer, so establishing trust is very important for HVAC businesses.
Reviews Are an Important Trust Signal
Many people choose their HVAC contractor based on a referral from a trusted friend. For everyone else, their search begins online with Google.
Try doing a search for “HVAC Repair” now. What do you see?
Top to bottom you’ll find:
- Local services ads
- Regular pay-per-click (PPC) text ads
- Map pack, or 3-pack
- Organic results
Although local services ads and pay per click (PPC) ads are a great way to get qualified traffic to your HVAC website, for the sake of this article, we’re going to talk about the clicks you don’t have to pay for.
Review Stars in the Local 3-Pack
The Local 3-Pack is the most prominent place your review stars will show up. When conducting a search for a local service business, the map takes up a lot of real estate on the search results page.
Not only does the local map take up a lot of space, it‘s also much more conspicuous because of the stars and the map itself.
To Click or Not to Click, That is the Question
This is the moment of truth. Does your website get the click?
Chances are, if you’ve got superior reviews to your neighbors on the page, you’ve got a great chance at winning that visitor.
In addition to winning the click, a long list of positive reviews is going to help nudge visitors your direction in their final decision-making process. Do you call the business with 177 reviews or the one with 7?
Why Getting Online Reviews Naturally Isn’t Enough
Before we jump into the actionable tips on how to get more reviews, lets first consider why sitting back and letting them happen naturally is not a good plan.
How many times have you ordered a pizza, it came on time, it tasted good, and you rushed to your computer to leave a good review? I’m guessing not very often.
Conversely, when your pizza was late one time on a busy Friday and they forgot your garlic dipping sauce, did you get really hangry and vow to broadcast your negative experience far and wide on social media?
Well, I hope you are not that kind of person either, but the point is that grumpy people are highly motivated. Satisfied patrons who simply got what they expected are not. The odds are not in your favor, in terms of who is likely to speak up. This skews your reputation towards the negative.
Everyone gets a bad review every now and then, so you need to offset those with as many positive reviews as possible. So let’s get into the actionable tips:
1. Give Your Field Reps Review Business Cards
When your very competent, friendly, clean-cut service technician finishes up her job at a customer’s home or business, make sure she closes the conversation by asking for a review and handing the client a convenient card with the review link on it.
It can be a simple card that says “Please share your 5 star experience with me on Google.” Include a URL to your Google My Business listing and have the technician write her name in pen on the card. Heck, draw a smiley face on there if it feels right.
Pro Tip: Check out our Google Review link generator to create your own shortened review link. Otherwise your review link will look extremely long, like this:
That would look weird on a business card, and nobody wants to type that.
Pro Tip 2: The key here is to request the review for the technician, not the business. Phrase the question something like this:
“Would you mind giving me a review on Google? It helps my manager know I’m doing a good job, and I’d really appreciate it. Here’s a card with my name on it, just go to that link.”
Now let’s consider a less effective request.
“Would you mind giving us a review on Google? It really helps our business’s reputation online, and we’d really appreciate it.”
In the first version of the request, you’re asking for a personal favor, from one individual to another. Who wouldn’t want to help a hard-working person show their manager they’re doing a good job?
In the second version of the request, you’re asking someone to help a faceless entity. Sorry, but people don’t care much about your corporation. Would you want to help your Chili’s waiter? Do you care about the Chili’s corporation?
2. Put Your Review Link in Your Email Signature
You and most people in your company probably correspond with customers via email all day long. Why not turn every one of those communications into a passive review request.
3. Automated Review Follow Ups
One of the problems with asking for reviews is that people simply forget. If your HVAC company is using a CRM like HubSpot or a HVAC-specific software like HouseCall Pro or Service Titan, you can automate the review follow up process and take human error out of the equation.
As soon as a service is marked as complete, you can trigger an automatic email follow up to ask for a review. You could even create more advanced workflows to send additional requests if the first one doesn’t get opened or clicked.
4. Email Blast to Your Current Customers
If you’ve done a lot of service calls in the past 3 months or so, but haven’t done a great job at requesting reviews, you can always do it retroactively by sending an email blast to your current customer list.
In this scenario, it might make more sense to simply ask for feedback instead of directly asking for a Google review. Ask your customers to rate their experiences on a scale of 1-5. This makes it an easy, one-click response for them.
For all the people who clicked 5, ask them for a review. For everyone else, ask what you can do better.
5. Put a Google Review Badge on Your Site
If you don’t have your review business card handy, there’s going to be times when you just want to ask someone for a review in casual conversation.
The process needs to be as easy as possible. Rather than trying to explain to people where to go to find your review link on Google, just tell them to go to your site and click the review badge at the bottom of the site. Link that directly to your review URL.
Make it look something like this:
6. Incentivize Your Team to Get Reviews
Everyone loves a bit of friendly competition. Make a game out of getting reviews:
- Create a leaderboard in your break room.
- Offer a small gift card to the person who gets the most reviews in a month.
- Offer the bosses parking spot for a week.
- Give your top review recipient a temporary badge to wear or a trophy.
These ideas may sound a little silly, but you’d be surprised how much people care about competition and small symbols of achievement.
Make Getting Reviews a Priority
Building your online reputation is like exercising. The benefits come with consistency and commitment. Prioritize asking for online reviews after every service call and you’ll whip your online reputation into tip top shape in no time.