The importance of references and work samples
28 Jun 2018 By: Jessica Eyre
Updated: 20 Jun 2022
Understanding the importance of references and work samples
You’re a business owner, and chances are you’ve got clients that absolutely love you. They’re satisfied with your service, but just as importantly, they trust you and your employees, and your personalities mesh well together.
But let’s say you’re an electrician. Like many home-improvement services, there’s really only one way to be an electrician: you either fix the problem, or you don’t. Not much room to be different. So as much as you market yourself as the friendly neighborhood electrician, chances are all the other friendly neighborhood electricians are using the exact same angle in their marketing.
You know you have clients that are happy with your business for specific reasons, but you only built that positive relationship with those clients because they took a chance on you. So here’s the question: How do you convince other clients to take a chance on you? To buy what you’re selling because you are the one selling it?
HelpSquad to the rescue! HelpSquad agents not only market your products and services, but they sell your personality as well. They do this by putting a twist on two modern marketing tools: reviews and the try-before-you-buy mentality.
Never before has opinion been so accessible and person-to-person interaction so widespread. If you want to set yourself apart, you’ll need to learn how to harness reviews to work in your favor. In fact, 88% of people trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
Online presence matters
“Even the busiest business owner must recognize that access to real-time information has exploded,” says Cory Capoccia, president of the SaaS company Womply. “Internet usage in the U.S. has doubled since 2001 to nearly 300 million users, and smartphone penetration has risen from 20% in 2010 to 69% in 2017 among American consumers. Everyone has the internet in their pocket all the time, and this changes everything for small businesses.”
You already knew that, of course, but it’s worth repeating: your online presence is crucial. It doesn’t matter how small your business is or how strong your word-of-mouth referrals. You need tools like HelpSquad and a strong online review presence to make sure your information is accessible, personable, and relevant.
Let’s say you have a heating and cooling business, and your logo is familiar to the whole town because they’ve seen your vans traveling all over. That’s a great way to market. But something to consider is the immediacy of the Internet. One study found that 75 percent of people who use their smartphones to search for businesses nearby end up visiting a local business within a day.
Of course, if you have a heating and cooling business or, say, a roofing business, you might not have a brick-and-mortar storefront to visit. You have a digital storefront instead, and visits to this “storefront” are even more prompted by urgent purchasing intent. Sound like millennials?
You’re right. In a study by Urban Land Institute, 45 percent of millennials reported spending one hour or more per day on retail websites. So a large portion of your potential clients is online, ready to buy. Are you there when this opportunity presents itself?
Reviews are often what people see in a Google search before they ever click on a link. Say a potential customer searches for “bathroom remodeling” and gets 12 results different businesses, along with customer reviews of those businesses.
Make sure you’re in control of your pages on Google My Business, Yelp, and other review sites. Respond to reviews politely and try to learn from what they say!
To go above and beyond what your competitors are doing for their online presence, try HelpSquad. HelpSquad agents are right there when your potential clients need answers that a search engine just can’t give. Our agents are trained to convey your personality and give references and reviews specific to what your future clients are looking for. Your clients will know from the get-go that you are customer-centric and that you offer exemplary service.
One downside of our increasingly online world is that potential customers often don’t see your beautiful products or impeccable services with their own eyes before they buy. They can see a picture of your gorgeous hardwood flooring, for example, but they don’t get to really see it.
We already talked a bit about the solution for this in the section above: reviews and HelpSquad agents give potential customers answers to their questions so they can trust that you are just as great as you say you are.
But what if they want to dig a little deeper and really understand who you are? What if they still don’t want to commit because your work looks pretty much the same online as every other garage door installer or tile setter? Pictures, statistics, and testimonials are all so important, but all that still might not be enough to convince people to go with you.
The good news is, HelpSquad can help with this.
Specific Work Samples
Humans are visual creatures. In fact, 20 percent of our brains are dedicated just to sight. So you’ll want to make sure your website has enough photos—of both you and your team as well as your products or service—to entice your potential customers.
This is where HelpSquad comes in and personalizes the experience. Your potential client visits your site and sees a few photos. They are impressed. But they have a specific request, and they can picture it in their mind. They want to see what it could look like in real life.
HelpSquad agents have specific instructions from you so that they know how to answer questions and give specific examples of work. But if potential customers can’t find what they’re looking for on your website, agents can put them in touch with you so you can send them a picture of what they’re looking for. Here, real communication happens, and you and the potential customer share a vision.
Getting a Feel for Who You Are
In a new survey by Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), 90 percent of executives said that if “available data contradicted their intuition, that they would reanalyse it, ignore it or collect more information.” In other words, gut feelings and intuition are significant when people are making high-stakes decisions.
So what is intuition? Intuition is “formed out of our past experiences and knowledge.” In other words, intuition is memory that we don’t know we’re remembering.
This can be good and bad. The trick is to tap into what people remember fondly and channel it in everything from your website design to the way you address your clients. How do you know what your potential clients are responding well to? And can you guarantee that at least some elements of your customer experience will produce “good intuition”?
HelpSquad can answer both of those questions. First, HelpSquad agents field all kinds of questions and concerns from present and future customers. The agents can track the topics of their chats and give you the reports. This teaches you what makes your customers tick and even how you can make their experience with you better.
Second, HelpSquad teaches customers about you. Agents are trained to use the language and tone of your choice to represent your business ideally. As potential customers have conversations with HelpSquad agents about anything from plumbing to painting, they have subconscious memories of other pleasant, helpful conversations they’ve had. These memories translate into gut feelings. Essentially, HelpSquad allows customers to try before they buy—they get to experience what business with you feels like before they commit.
When your business uses HelpSquad, customers receive tailored information and develop a positive gut feeling about your business. They gain the benefits of personal recommendations and trying before they buy, all rolled into one easy experience. Contact us today to learn more and get the ball rolling on a better customer experience.