Landscape business owners face the difficulty of navigating a highly saturated industry. In an environment where business offerings appear comparable, it can be hard to set your landscape business apart. The one thing that drives customers to one business over another, more than price, is reputation.
People value loyalty over everything. The price of a good or service pales in comparison to whether what was asked or promised initially was delivered.
As a landscape business owner, your reputation is what sets you apart from the other and allows customers to feel safe, secure, and trusted in what your company delivers. It is also the reputation that makes people speak about your business and spread the word. Word of mouth is the best PR and marketing especially for a landscape business.
In fact, a recent study by Invespro showed 90 percent of consumers read online reviews before visiting a business and 88 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
Aside from bringing in customers, reviews also help businesses monitor their work and the jobs of their employees. Customer feedback allows for better management of customer satisfaction using a simple metric of a 0-10 point rating scale. This methodology is both simple and universal, so every aspect of the process from initial job planning to execution to tools used can be rated and reviewed by the customer and provide a new perspective for a landscaping business.
Businesses have trusted and vetted sources that will provide authentic reviews of actual customers of their businesses. While there are a variety of sites and sources, the most notable and reliable for landscape business owners are Google, Yelp and Facebook recommendations.
1. Landscape Business Owner’s Guide to Google Reviews
One of the biggest benefits of Google reviews is the ability to boost local search ranking. As people in your area are searching “local landscapers” or “landscapers near me” the search engine results will bring your business higher if they see it’s recently and often reviewed and accessed by customers. Google also gives you the chance to respond to customers who review and build a better relationship with them. Engagement is key to business success and thanking customers for a positive review or asking them how they can help them move forward from a negative review lets people see that you care about your customers and their overall experience during and after a project.
2. Keys to Yelp for Landscape Business Owners
While the spread of customers is more vast on Google, Yelp is more useful for constructive criticism. People can leave any kind of review anywhere, but data from ReviewTrackers found that comments on Yelp tend to be more negative in tone than anywhere else with the average rating of a 3 out of 5. While there are always those that are far too critical or have a singular moment of a bad experience and lower the rating, the general consensus is that these harsher words can be used to improve your business. One thing Yelp is known for is calling out specific employees and their customer service skills. Those comments are learning opportunities to understand how to better train your landscaping employees to navigate and react in certain situations and make sure the negatives don’t happen again.
3. How Facebook Recommendations Can Help Landscape Business Owners
Similarly, and almost more, Facebook is a place to find local businesses. According to Statistica, almost 1 billion people use Facebook to find the right company. Facebook also states that 2 in 3 Facebook users visit the page of a local business each week -- that’s a lot of interaction and possible recommendations. Facebook recommendations are a great way to use customers for word of mouth marketing and promote and share your business.
How to begin Managing Reviews as a Landscape Business Owner
A lot of landscape business owners don’t realize that it is not enough to just ask customers to leave reviews online. Businesses need to manage those reviews because that involves managing their reputation. So, how do you manage your online reputation? The answer lies in creating a strategic plan for analyzing reviews then using tools to actively respond to reply directly to customers or use feedback to improve your product or service.
Easy to Use Tools to Manage reviews
Podium: Podium is a customer review software and reputation management system. This service allows businesses to set-up review reminders for customers and collects reviews from all sources including Google, Yelp, and Facebook to make reputation management simpler. Businesses can send personalized messages to customers and identify both positive and negative trends from the content of customer reviews to improve services.
Birdeye: Another great reputation platform, Birdeye works with businesses in multiple industries, so there’s a customized interaction plan for every business including contractors and local services like landscapers. One neat tool Birdeye has is the survey option. While reviews are great because they are authentic and individual it takes time to analyze trends and come to a conclusion and positive and negative areas in service, but surveys allow customers to answer the same questions and review their experience in specific and possible new areas for your business to understand what’s doing well and what needs to be changed to become the number one choice.
Gather up: Ever wanted notification whenever your business named is used in a review? One of the most beneficial tools of Gather Up is the real-time response, which allows businesses to help resolve any complaint a customer may list in that exact moment. Quick resolution is a great way to turn a negative experience into a positive one if customers see your business actively trying to address and correct any errors on your part. This service is also great for turning returning customers into positive reviewers to boost the reputation and SEO status of the business online through email reminders and SMS text messages.
What Else Can You Do to Improve Your Landscape Business Reputation?
Customer recommendations and reviews are at the heart of any small business reaching great success, but the only way for customers to review and recommend is to have positive service experience. Positive service starts at the most basic level in training and worker analysis.
Making sure that employees are productive and all understand their role are keys to effectively hold your team accountable for daily success and increase those positive reviews.
LMN offers online resources to help contractors like landscape business owners build “profitable, efficient, and resilient companies.” One of the first keys to having a more successful contracting business is switching to methodical training. LMN provides tips on switching training to the suggested method as well as webinars such as “How to Create Incentive Programs that Drive Profits for Staff and Owners.”