Review sites – it’s the 21st century gossip column and let me tell you – people are listening. Whether the information on business review sites is true or not doesn’t matter all that much since perception is reality. What your clients think about you will dictate how they respond to you. Your online brand is pretty much the first impression you will give your clients whether you like it or not which is why keeping an eye on review websites is not only key but a necessity in being a successful restoration company. Now I know 6 seems like a high number, but let’s be honest… taking 1 hour every month to make sure the conversation about your restoration company is on the up-and-up isn’t that much of a burden (how many times have you pulled up Facebook today?). Anyways, let’s get to it…

6 Review Websites You Should be Watching

Yelp entered the review scene in 2004 by a handful of executives who’d made they’re millions from the success of a website we all use – Paypal.com. Brought up from the ashes of the YellowPages, Yelp founders provided the answer the the difficult question “How can I find a good service provider… online?” The website, which received most of its revenue from local business advertisements, is now valued at $1 billion and $2 billion as of 2011 according to BusinessInsider.com - http://www.businessinsider.com/yelp-millionaires-club-ipo-2011-11?op=1 . Just how powerful is Yelp? According to a read more about the importance of a Yelp review here. - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yelp,_Inc." target="_blank">study conducted in 2012, a half a star rating increase for various tested restaurants resulted in an increase for 7pm reservations by 30 – 49%. Wow. Talk about power. Yelp allows users to post reviews to various companies which are approved by Yelp (based on the amount of high quality, frequent reviews that user has posted). Businesses are allowed 1 response per review so make it count. (

  • AngiesList.com - http://www.angieslist.com/

AngiesList.com has 1.5 million paying subscribers. Paying means these people are serious about getting high quality work. Why is this important to you? Because these paying subscribers have money to back their subscription fees and they’re planning on spending it. Based on a grading system (memories of high school come flooding back), businesses receive an average A, B, C, D, or F rating based on the summation of their reviews. Reviews include questions like “Will you recommend this business?” and “Would you use this business again?” so yes, the questions are hard hitting. Businesses are allowed 1 response per customer as well, so make ’em count. Highly rated businesses can pay to advertise on Angie’s List which makes their business rank on the first page of searches, but any business can claim its listing and customize content to an extent (to customize it even further, you’ll have to cough up the cash money).

  • Google Places

If people can find your business listing on Google, then you have a Google Places page where they can review you. Google keeps redoing the way its review pages work, but basically, under your Google listing that shows up when people try to locate you on the search engine and on their Google Maps app, you’ll have a star rating between 1 – 5 starts (one being no bueno). Wonder what your Google Places listing looks like? Google your company (Name of company + Location) and see what comes up. That will be your Google Places listing, and if you haven’t already, you should claim it as your business, fill out the criteria, and monitor it.

  • Facebook.com - http://www.facebook.com/

You can review companies on Facebook!? Yes, if your business page is listed as a “brick and mortar” business on Facebook, then it comes with a “recommend this company” tab (yes, you should be on Facebook).  Responding is super simple, just click below the post and respond. Deleting is just as easy – click the “x” to delete the review if it isn’t, how you say, a good review. Finally a review site that lets us business owners win a little!

  • MerchantCircle.com - http://www.merchantcircle.com/

I hate to love this website. It isn’t well run, but unfortunately, if you’re a business owner, it will come up in your Google Searches for your company. Claim your listing, monitor it, but if anyone writes a bad review here, it’s only because they’ve already posted it on the above websites.

  • Better Business Bureau - http://www.bbb.org/

Founded in 1912, this website is ancient, and if you remember it’s grand opening, you too are old. “Nearly 400,000 local businesses in North America support the BBB. The BBB invites successfully vetted businesses to become dues-paying Accredited Businesses that pledge and continue to adhere to the  BBB Code of Business Practices - http://www.bbb.org/us/bbb-accreditation-standards/ . In return, the BBB allows Accredited Businesses to use its logo and  dispute resolution services - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alternative_dispute_resolution .” That pretty much sums it up. If you know what the BBB is, you know how it works, if you don’t, then you haven’t paid for it. I will give the BBB props on resolutions though! They definitely fight to resolve client / business issues. Just like Angie’s List, the BBB also ranks companies with a grading scale system. 

 

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