Posted by Rich Harshaw on December 19, 2017.
In a previous post I showed you an example of responding to negative online feedback the right way.
Here is now an example of the exact OPPOSITE way to respond to a bad online review. This comes from a company’s Better Business Bureau page. I’ve removed all names to save the company any further embarrassment (though they probably deserve it).
First, the complaint. It’s massive, so I’ll post only a portion of it…
Basically, the customer wasn’t satisfied with the work. When they called the company, they got the runaround. The customer says they eventually got so frustrated that they contacted their credit card company, which refunded the cost of the project.
Now, here is how the company responded. This is 100% real…
This is not only ridiculously unprofessional… it is offensive, petty, and crosses a dozen lines in terms of acceptability. I am blown away that anyone would EVER do business with this company.
I don’t have to worry about YOU reacting like this to a bad online review. But here is my point…
When a customer leaves negative feedback about you on a review website, do NOT get defensive in your response.
It’s easy to blame the installers, the sales manager, or even the customer. It may even actually be their fault. But DON’T BLAME THEM.
If you’re the owner, take full responsibility. Acknowledge the customer’s feelings. Thank them for providing their honest feedback. Apologize for not meeting their standards (even if it’s not your fault). Then tell the customer you’ll reach out to them to try to make things right.
Here’s what will happen when you do this:
- Nine times out of ten, you’ll be able to come to a resolution with the unsatisfied customer. Studies shows customers who have a bad experience return to a company if the problem is solved quickly and satisfactorily. In many instances, customers will also amend their negative review and leave you positive feedback.
- You’ll now retain that customer for future projects and referrals.
- It will let potential prospects reading your response know that you’re professional. You do everything you can to ensure customer satisfaction.
Now, there ARE circumstances where a customer is just being an irrational jerk and writing bad stuff about you because they apparently have nothing better to do.
When responding to those types of reviews, feel free to explain your side of the situation in your reply. Just do so in a calm, rational manner. Still make sure to say something along the lines of “I’m truly sorry we weren’t able to make you happy.” Being the bigger person will build trust in any potential prospects reading your response.
Bottom line: When responding to a negative online review, it’s always best to keep on smiling… even if it’s through gritted teeth.
Posted by Rich Harshaw on November 23, 2017.
Remember when Thanksgiving and Black Friday were their own separate things? You know, before Black Friday bled into Thanksgiving Thursday?
These two days used to synergize so well.
Here’s how things would go:
- 9am-4pm: Shove that 20lb turkey in the oven; get side dishes and dessert prepared.
- 5pm: Sit down to dinner with the family.
- 6:30pm: Trudge your bloated self to the living room to watch a little football. (That second piece of pumpkin pie? Not your best idea.)
- 7:30pm: Get annoyed when Uncle Bob starts talking politics after one too many beers.
- 8pm: Kick Uncle Bob out.
- 8:30: Clean up.
- 10pm: Go to bed to get plenty of rest for the 5am store opening times on Black Friday.
But over the past few years, this timeline has changed for some families.
Black Friday slowly started creeping backward, truncating Thanksgiving Day family festivities.
5am Friday openings became 2am Friday openings. Then 12am Friday openings. Then 10pm THURSDAY openings.
Today, many brick-and-mortar retailers open as early as 6pm on Thanksgiving Day. Some even earlier than that.
You can almost feel one of the only family-oriented holidays left being slowly killed by commercialism.
If you’re upset about that, I’ve got news for you: retailers don’t care. And when I look at it from a business perspective, I can’t say I blame them.
Don’t get me wrong…
I LOVE spending time with my family on Thanksgiving. I LOVE watching the Dallas Cowboys with my sons every year. And camping in front of Best Buy for hours, days, or weeks to get deal on a TV is not my thing. But I also understand that companies like Best Buy now need to take drastic action to stay afloat.
Consider this: Nine brick-and-mortar retailers have filed for bankruptcy in 2017.
These are big names, too, like Sears, Macy’s, and J.C. Penny. The places you’ve shopped at for decades.
Meanwhile, Amazon’s sales have shot from $16 billion to $80 billion since 2010.
To stay competitive, brick-and-mortar stores have had to get cutthroat. And that means carving time out of Turkey Day.
Though in-store sales are slumping, Thanksgiving is now a HUGE day for stores. In 2015, 35 million people went out and shopped on Thanksgiving, resulting in billions of dollars in sales.
In addition, data shows 70% of consumer spending happens at the first two stores people visit on Thanksgiving/Black Friday.
So you can see why Thanksgiving is too important for brick-and-mortar retailers NOT to be open on.
These companies don’t care if some people think they are ruining the one day a year meant for family bonding. Those aren’t the people these businesses are targeting.
The ones they ARE targeting are those who don’t mind hitting up some stores for some deals after chowing down on some pumpkin pie and watching a little pigskin.
This strategy of “exclusion” is smart marketing. And it’s a tactic contractors should copy.
Focus on YOUR market.
Don’t worry about the rest.
Don’t worry about alienating people who wouldn’t buy from you anyway. You’ll never get their business, so who cares?
Instead, focus your marketing on YOUR customer demographic. Be specific about who you are, what you do, who you work for, and who you DON’T.
You can do this in a number of ways. Here are a few examples:
- Be up-front about having higher prices (and therefore higher quality). You’ll filter out the price shoppers, while landing the high-end affluent clients you want.
- Admit you may not be the fastest (but only because you take the time to do everything perfectly). You won’t have to worry about taking calls from homeowners who want a project done yesterday.
- If you do have lower prices, shout it from the rooftops. Spirit Airlines markets itself as a low-cost airline to attract clientele that doesn’t care about pretentious extras and “flying fancy.” If you do this, though, make sure you detail WHY you have lower prices. Do you keep your overhead low? Do you buy directly from the manufacturer? If so, say so. You want people to know that your prices are lower because you’re smart… not because you sacrifice quality.
- Make it abundantly clear that ALL you do is kitchen remodeling… or windows… or commercial roofing… or contractor marketing (wink, wink). You won’t have to waste time talking to people who want what you don’t offer.
Something to chew on before today’s Big Dinner.
Posted by Rich Harshaw on May 23, 2017.
So a few weeks ago, we were finishing up a new contractor website.
Before we launch a website, our SEO department runs an automated audit of over 300 items SEO-related items (keyword density, meta coding, etc.). This ensures every piece of the SEO puzzle is there and nothing has slipped through the cracks.
If the audit comes back with a “warning,” it means we missed something, and we MUST fix it before launching the website.
Typically when we run the SEO audit, we either get just a handful of warnings or none at all. So we were confident that everything was going to be hunky dory to take the website live the next day.
Here’s how that process went:
- We ran the SEO audit.
- We awaited the results, so we could fix any last-minute issues and launch the site the following day.
- We received the results.
- We had a collective heart attack.
SEO Audit Result: 450 Warnings.
This is the part of the episode where Scooby-Doo says, “Ruh-roh.”
Somehow, we forgot to implement the metadata for 450 images on this client’s website (a really important “behind-the-scenes” SEO step). This is usually either already done or almost done by the time the website is ready to launch.
Sure, our SEO audit catches anything that slips through the cracks. But this was less of a “slip in the crack” and more of an “8,000-foot plunge into the Grand Canyon.”
Image metadata takes us 7-10 days to complete. And the website absolutely HAD to launch the next day.
Long story short…
We had to condense 56 to 80 hours worth of work into 14 hours.
To make matters worse, you can’t automate quality image tags. Every single tag must be MANUALLY written. That leaves a TON of room for spelling errors, punctuation errors, and duplicate tags.
The image metadata process goes like this:
- Analyze images
- Write tags
- Edit tags the 1st time
- Edit tags a 2nd time
- Implement tags
- Final tag edits
After our SEO team recovered from their initial panic attacks, they regrouped, got down to business, and pulled an all-nighter. The Diet Coke and coffee flowed freely.
Fast-forward 10 hours.
The rooster crowed to signal the morning.
The sun was just starting to peak over the horizon.
And our red-eyed, sleep-deprived SEO team had created and implemented all 450 image tags.
Not only that, but they did it near perfectly.
For typical website projects, our SEO team makes modifications to 30% to 50% of image metadata code during the editing phase.
When they finished implementing the 450 image tags for this website, they achieved an error rate of less than 10%. That’s like LeBron scoring 50 points on 90% shooting.
The result of the MYM SEO team’s Herculean effort?
The contractor’s website launched on time… and our SEO team took a long, well-deserved nap.
Here’s the thing…
These kinds of rush jobs are NOT standard practice at MYM.
But if an unexpected fire is raging, we’re equipped to go “all hands on deck” to put it out… quickly and for good.
It all comes down to having the proper processes in place (like our SEO audit) and people who are passionate about their clients’ success.
When you have a marketing company like that in your corner, the sky is the limit for your success.
Head on over here to learn more about our SEO services and see a comprehensive list of behind-the-scenes “nerd stuff” that goes into every contractor’s website. You’ll be surprised at how involved it is.
P.S. Prior to this post, you may not have realized the importance of coding image tags. To see if the image tags on your website are “up to snuff”—along with the rest of your SEO and online marketing efforts—take advantage of our Lead Generation Audit. You’ll get an exhaustive analysis of your internet marketing efforts, along with how to improve the areas in which you’re lacking.
Posted by Rich Harshaw on February 24, 2017.
Wonder why your awesome new website and marketing materials aren’t pulling in leads?
If so, I’ve got bad news…
Your awesome new website and marketing materials are NOT so awesome.
In fact, you’re likely saying the same things 99% of contractors do.
“Quality workmanship.” “Committed to providing a great experience.” “Outstanding service.”
You may bring all that to the table—and then some.
But guess what?
Everyone else says THEY do, too.
And since prospects are beaten over the head with these platitudes, all they hear is Charlie Brown’s teacher when you open your mouth.
So… even though you THINK you’re performing life-saving surgery on your marketing by saying things you BELIEVE to be profound (but are not), you’re actually killing it while it’s on the operating table.
Time of death: Friday, 2:04 PM.
In 2014, I held a webinar called “Stand For Something” that teaches contractors how to stand out from the crowd and create a TRULY powerful, lead-pulling Identity.
Though this webinar is a few years old, it’s as relevant as ever. Maybe it’s even more so now, since people are now spending more on remodeling, and home improvement companies are multiplying like bunnies in springtime.
By watching the webinar, you’ll discover how to set yourself apart and make prospects see YOU as special, unique, and fully equipped to provide them a stellar project.
Here is what you’ll learn:
- What platitudes are, how to identify them, and why you keep using them even though they don’t work
- The principles of POWER TALK
- How to use people’s inherent confirmation bias to your advantage
- The curse of knowledge: recognize it and eliminate it
- The difference between an IDENTITY and advertising theme
- Eight unique identities contractors can use… and how to create your own
- Before and after examples of websites, advertisements, and brochures that illustrate the concepts
Here’s the link to my “Stand For Something” Webinar. Enjoy.