There’s no doubt about it that word-of-mouth recommendation is the best advert for your business. A good word from a trusted friend goes a long way in convincing any of us to watch a movie, visit a restaurant or use a local business.
Nowadays online recommendations play a huge part in where customers spend their money.
I recently wanted to buy a new television and spend at least three hours reading reviews on various models before deciding on my chosen unit.
Potential customers of your services are able to do the same, which places a higher tarrif on providing excellent customer service – and in dealing quickly and politely with complaints.
Local tradespeople need to take particular note and understand the power of the web to give business and to take it away.
Business owners need to educate staff on the importance of all aspects of their behavious and interaction with the public, lest a bad online review stop the phones from ringing. The converse is also the case, but it is hard to recover from bad reviews.
Fortunately there exist many online reputation management resources which can be freely found by any Google search. Some companies will also give you a free assessment of your online status. I have not personally used any of these so I cannot comment on any particular firm.
Finding business online can offer a short-cut for new businesses, or an established company moving location.
Kevin Johnston of Tectum Solutions roofers in Galashiels area in the Scottish Borders recently faced this situation when he moved from just north of London.
“I had no roots in the area and found myself with the prospect of competing against established firms,” said Kevin. “At first this was daunting but I realised that the internet could actually be my best friend. As long as I could appear on the local listings and get to the first page I knew I could get the chance to deliver quotes.
“I figured it would take me time to get a name locally, but thanks to my website I gained those first few important customers. They were delighted with my standard of work and from then word-of-mouth kicked in.”
Kevin’s experience is a great example to other local tradesmen that they can develop their customer base by taking advantage of the internet. In fact a carpet fitter friend of mine recently created pages on his website specifically for each of the towns he felt were in his work radius. After 6 weeks he recieved his first enquiry via the site and since then the phone rings two or three times per month with enquiries from these other towns.
He paid around £60 per page from his website designer and the cost of the pages was covered in the first couple of jobs.
So, I’ll leave you with one question. How can you break out of your area and break into new territory with your business?