Your digital presence as a business is absolutely crucial. If you want consistent work, to build trust in your brand, and the opportunity for growth, you have to know how to gather feedback, and how to embrace it.

Here, we’ve laid out the most important things you need to know about doing just that.

1. Online reviews and how they rule the internet

Amazon kicked things off by placing customer reviews directly under their products – and the rest of the internet has followed.

Not only do online reviews show honest and genuine opinions, it’s been proven repeatedly that consumers read and trust them when spending their hard-earned money on products or services.

Companies like TripAdvisor and TrustPilot have built entire businesses based purely on providing user reviews.

Simply put, if you can easily show reviews and feedback on your business, more people will choose you. And the more work you get, the easier it’ll be to grow.

Overall, it’s now the most efficient way to show potential clients that your service will live up to the reliability and quality you promote and they expect.

2. Google My Business

When you search for a business using Google, you’ll often see a box in the search results that displays info about that company, such as the name, address, contact details, opening times, and – crucially – Google reviews.

Anyone with a Google account can leave reviews, so it’s a good idea to capitalise on this.

It’s free and easy to manage your business in Google; all you need is a Gmail address. Log in, enter all the relevant details so they’re up to date, and you can start interacting with the people who leave you reviews.

When you’ve finished a job, ask clients to leave you a review there (or provide the link in follow-up emails).

3. Online surveys and feedback forms

If you’re looking for more in-depth feedback about your services, use an online survey. These can be emailed to your customers as soon as each job is complete.

A lot of free survey software is available online, so we’ve highlighted some of the most popular:

  • Survey Monkey – the King Kong of online surveys. The free version has enough features to get started and it’s really easy to use.

  • Typeform – these surveys look great: very slick and well-designed. With the free version, you get 100 responses a month and can ask 10 questions per survey.

  • Google Forms – this is free as long as you have a Google account. The range of features are extensive, including various design options, as well as different ways to analyse the info you gather. Like most Google products, it’s extremely functional and very useful.

  • MailChimp – this isn’t strictly a survey tool, but it’s a site you can use to send emails to your customers. It does have a way of incorporating Survey Monkey forms though, and its basic features are free.

4. Net Promoter Score (NPS)

Here’s a simple question you can ask your customers: “How likely is it that you would recommend (your company) to a friend or colleague?”

Using a response measured from 0-10, you can test whether your customers are ‘promoters’ (happy with your service), ‘detractors’ (unhappy with your service) or ‘passive’ (indifferent to your service).

If you find you have more detractors than you’d like, you know you may have to work to improve areas of your business. On the other hand, if you have many promoters, that shows your customers are happy with the service you’re providing.

You might ask this question at the end of a job and then record the results to see over time how your customers feel about your company and service.

Or, you might ask this questions at several stages during the job to measure how people feel while it’s underway. This can give you feedback on communication, planning, and finally, the quality of the finished work.

You can use one of the online survey tools above to ask these questions, or read more about NPS.

5. Online profile pages

Having an online profile page that appears in Google searches is a great way to show off your business and expand into different areas you’d like to work in.

For instance, tradespeople who register with Rated People get their own profile pages included in their membership. They can use these to find new clients and build up those all-important online reviews, which are only written by homeowners who have used the site.