The Digital Word of Mouth: How Bad Reviews Break Your HVAC Business

online reputation management

Impressions affect people’s decision making in subtle and less overt ways than we might think. In fact, people’s decisions—particularly when it comes to doing business— are highly impacted by impressions and instinctual reactions. In the digital world, these impressions are largely informed and constructed through the digital word of mouth: your online presence, reputation, and —perhaps more importantly— what people say about you through online reviews, ratings, and posts. In the internet age, a negative review can have profound consequences on your HVAC business; it has a significant reach, strikes emotional chords with customers, and can spread like wildfire.

If you own an HVAC business, you know that you are operating in a fiercely competitive industry. With approximately 105,000 HVAC businesses throughout the United States, chances are that there are a couple dozen small, mid-size, or large HVAC companies offering their services in your area. This only emphasizes the importance of good online reputation management and internet marketing strategies.

How Do Online Reviews Work?

Online reviews help people form an impression of your business through the digital word of mouth. It is part of your digital footprint and reflects what customers are saying about your company and your services. While you cannot control the conversation 100%, you can take charge of it by monitoring it, and actively implementing a good strategy. Neglecting your online reviews, or paying no attention to bad reviews or customer feedback, will quickly deteriorate your online reputation and your business.

From Storefront to the Online Search

Online reviews are the new storefront window. According to Forbes magazine, 97% of consumers do a “near me” search when they look for a new business. Immediately, consumers can view your business on a map, the hours, address, user ratings, and the number of reviews. When they click on your pin on the map or your name, the reviews will be the first encounter with your business. All it takes is one bad review to prompt them to skip your business and move on to the next one.

The advantage of Google reviews comes in the form of social proof. As consumers encounter positive reviews, they feel a sense of trust.  Studies have shown that people today trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations from friends. As business owners, replying to reviews and comments is a good way to make yourself accessible and trustworthy.

Online reputation management is a great way to get positive feedback on your Google reviews so people searching for HVAC services find helpful insights into your past work and customer service. Online reviews provide people unique viewpoints to the overall experience of working with your business. A good internet marketing strategy, will help your company do all of this, get your business to rank, and get customers talking about their experience where people can hear about it.

The Social Media Influence

Social media— with its far-reaching influence and 214 million users in the United States— is equally important in helping a small business stand out and present a positive impression. It is a necessary marketing tool for a company looking to be found online.  Facebook users can type in “HVAC services” on the Facebook search bar and find some local business pages, where the first thing they’ll see is your star ratings.

Just like with Google reviews, people are likely to trust the reviews posted by friends and strangers, just as they would a word of mouth recommendation. A bad review (especially if not addressed)  can spread quickly and come back to haunt you again and again. According to research, Facebook accounts for 50% of total social referrals and 64% of total social revenue.

Why This Matters to Your HVAC Business

In such a competitive market, one bad review is the difference between your business receiving a phone call or the consumer jumping to the competition. A bad review that is not properly addressed sends the wrong message. What a consumer sees on these review sites is likely to be the first introduction they have to your business. Maintaining at least a 75% positivity rate is necessary for retaining customers. Online reviews can also affect your ranking on search engine searches. 

How A Good Strategy Will Help

The HVAC industry is one that people depend on for the comfort of their homes and businesses. Smart house technology and the demand for home performance opens up the doors of opportunity for businesses to reach out to customers looking to upgrade, improve, or install new heating and cooling systems. HVAC businesses have long depended on word-of-mouth; it is the lifeblood of a service industry because everyone, at some point, has used and will require these services. The recommendations still exist, they have merely shapeshifted into digital.

For a small business, the online review is the gateway to reaching new customers.  A good internet marketing strategy aimed at online reputation will help seek out satisfied customers and make the conversation about your company reflect your expertise and good service.

Begin Your Online Reputation in a Positive Way

As people depend more and more on the internet for finding new businesses, you want to make sure that you are found online but also that what customers find accurately represents the hard work you do every day. AGI Marketing works with your HVAC business to improve the various facets of your online reputation, monitor your online reviews, and increase leads and visibility. We find digital solutions for your business, so that you find more customers, improve your bottom line, and ultimately thrive beyond your wildest expectations.  


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