Before any landscaping business start panicking having read the title of this post, we must stress from the outset that what were are not talking about here is paying clients for reviews. That practice has long been frowned upon to the extent that many governments are considering making it illegal for a business to pay someone for a positive, and patently false, review of their products or services.
So, if not paying clients for reviews, what do we mean when say incentivising them? What we referring to is giving customers a reason or an encouragement to write the review by giving them an incentive, and this includes a financial one. Note, there is a huge difference between an incentive such as a special offer or promotion, and simply paying for reviews.
Customer Review Incentivisation
Many products and services are reviewed by people who are first given them for free, so this practice is well-founded, albeit it still has its critics. A prime example (no pun intended) is Amazon where there are so-called professional reviewers who write unbiased reviews on products that they are sent free of charge.
You obviously cannot give away a garden, but how about offering some extra plants, or two months of free garden maintenance if the customer agrees to provide you with a review of your work. Note you cannot insist it is a positive review but assuming the work you do is stellar, we will assume that it will be.
Instead of a freebie, you could offer some kind of discount if the client agrees to send you a review. Again this could be done as part of the quote for the landscaping work, or ongoing maintenance services. An alternative to a monetary discount could be to offer an upgrade of s
ome kind. You might give them higher quality garden furniture or lawn upgrade for the same price as standard.
You will know best what your profit margins are and where and how you could facilitate some of the incentives that we have just mentioned. We repeat you cannot simply hand a customer ‘X’ amount of dollars for a review, nor can you insist their review is positive. Besides, in our increasingly sceptical world, it is thought highly suspicious if any business, product, or service has 100% positive or 5-star reviews, so the occasional criticism will add to your creditability.
Making Reviews Easier for Customers
Further options to incentivise customers to write reviews are to have multiple ways they can do so, make it easier for them to create a review, and explain to them your justification for wanting reviews from clients. Here are some examples of these:
- Simply ask them when you are there
- Create a review request process you and other staff always follow
- Set up a review template on your website
- Make the review template easy to complete
- Send review request emails
- Automate the follow up on those emails
Why Ask For Reviews
We will conclude by explaining why you should bother will all this. Today’s consumers use the internet for many things, and one of them is to research businesses, products, and services. This is what the online buying process is, so if someone is looking for a landscaper, they will do their online research first, which invariably includes searching for and reading reviews. If you have none, they will pass and move on which should be incentive enough for you to start asking for reviews.