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Contractor Resources

ROOFERS TELL ALL: Best Practices for Getting Positive Homeowner Reviews


We recently attended the Certified Contractors Network annual conference and had the privilege of listening in on the Roofing Masterminds session — a town hall-style meeting dedicated to roofing contractors, allowing them to hear from peers about the challenges they face in running their businesses.

Not surprisingly, many questions surfaced about homeowner reviews. In today’s digital, community-driven market, peer reviews are one of the most sought-after types of feedback in the home improvement and roofing space. As Dmitry Lipinskiy of Roofing Insights likes to say in his training seminars, “No one talks to anyone, anymore. We live in a society where we only connect with each other through our devices.”

With that massive societal shift comes a lot of questions. So, in an effort to seek out these answers for our members, we rallied some of our very own ROOFPROs, Profit Power event participants as well as our strategic partners to get their take on customer reviews: how to get them, how to make sure they are positive and what to do if they aren’t.

Here’s what they said:

How and when do you ask for a review from your customers?

Generally speaking, the consensus seems to be that the best time to ask your customer for a review is once the job is complete, but that it’s also a good practice to plant the seed earlier in the relationship. ROOFPRO Titanium Restorations typically makes the ask when they physically go to the home to deliver their certificate of completion, directing the homeowner to their website or asking for a verbal testimonial, which they then transcribe and post manually.

Another approach, like the one Southernwood Roofing & Siding uses, is to tailor the review process based on how the job went in order to control the quality of the reviews they receive. For jobs they know were positive experiences, they email a link to do an online review. For those that are questionable, they mail physical surveys to gather feedback for internal use, but eliminate the ask for an online review.

Google Reviews, on the other hand, can be a great way to utilize a platform that everyone is familiar with. Dmitry Lipinskiy offers the following tips for working with Google Reviews:

  • Only customers with Google accounts can leave a Google Review; so, if they don’t use Gmail, don’t ask for a Google Review. Ask for something else, such as a review on the Better Business Bureau’s website.
  • Make it easy. Send personalized emails with links directly in the email that will take readers where they need to go in order to write their online reviews. Consider making the font bigger or a different color so that it stands out to readers who skim.

How do you ensure your customers are happy and will leave a positive review?

It’s common sense to say that this question is really about maintaining good customer service. For ROOFPRO Superior Restorations & Construction, “It’s not just about how you close out the job, it’s about how you provide service to the customer throughout the entire process.” For them, this means proactively checking in to make sure the homeowner is happy with the decisions they’ve made as well as making sure they know up front what living through a home improvement project is going to be like. Setting expectations about potential inconveniences up front — work hours, dust, noise, etc. — is key.

And, of course, as Southernwood reminds us, if things seem to be going off the rails for any reason with your homeowner, be sure to communicate proactively to stay ahead of any public unhappiness.

The experts at GuildQuality agree: “Making sure all lines of communication stay open throughout the job is important so that the homeowner can share any feedback along the way. The quicker you get in front of a potential problem, the easier it is to both get a positive review and walk away with a customer that will refer you to friends and family.”

What do you do if someone leaves you a negative review?

Ideally, by following these best practices, you will be able to eliminate, or at least drastically limit, the number of negative reviews you receive in the digital world. However, it’s good to have a communications plan just in case.

According to GuildQuality, a one-on-one conversation is in order should you receive a negative review from a customer. There may be a misunderstanding or simple solution that can only be uncovered in a real-life dialogue. In addition, you should also respond publicly in the platform where the review was posted. This shows potential customers that customer satisfaction is important to you. Be sure to thank them for their feedback and be authentic in your response.

A few negative reviews here and there are not necessarily the end of the world. According to GuildQuality, “A bad review doesn’t mean you are a bad business in the eyes of the public. No contractor is perfect, and in today’s review climate, seeing a company with 100% five-star reviews gets people scratching their head and wondering if the reviews are real.”

Google will allow you to remove reviews with offensive content, but, otherwise, leave them up.

Lipinskiy reminds us that we also need to be aware of the Better Business Bureau as a source of homeowner complaints. Whereas online reviews eventually cycle out, complaints on the BBB do not.

Following these best practices to manage your customers’ experiences and to ensure positive online reviews is critical for all the obvious reasons. But, in addition, reviews can be powerful marketing tools to take advantage of. Take a tip from Superior Restorations and ask to take before/after photos, as well as permission to share those for both marketing purposes for referrals. And as Lipinskiy recommends to us, use those assets every way you can think of: social media, your website, your content strategy, etc.

Need help determining the best way to gather and use customer reviews and testimonials? Contact us to learn more about our partnership with GuildQuality and the benefits you receive as a ROOFPRO member.

Big thank you to the contractor contributors (Titanium Restorations, Superior Restorations & Construction and Southernwood Roofing & Siding) as well as GuildQuality and Roofing Insights for your helpful feedback and personal experiences that made this article possible!