When looking at two similar HVAC companies, "the better reputation always wins," explained Ryan Redding, CEO and founder of Levergy. He and Heather Ripley, CEO and founder of Ripley PR, discussed how contractors can build trust with their customers through reputation through public relations, speaking Jan. 22 to 2024 AHR Expo attendees.
"Trust and credibility are not ego things," Ripley said. "This especially comes into play during a crisis: Don't ignore the media and tell the truth; otherwise, you'll lose the trust and loyalty of your customers, negatively impacting your company."
She encourages contractors to have a crisis plan and media policy and make sure all employees are aware of them; media entities should refer to the company spokesperson for any comment.
Redding noted about company reputation:
- Do not use review gating, where only good reviews appear on review sites; people will be wary of companies with only good reviews. Plus, it's just wrong. "Encourage customers to leave negative and positive reviews," he said.
- Some people look at negative reviews first, so don't ignore them; respond with compassion and empathy and work to the best solution for the customer.
- Don't hire anyone to control your social media program – even if they're young! Your social media team should be experienced in boosting company reputations.
- Ensure your CSRs and techs "anchor" your reputation by constantly repeating your expert service mantra to customers from the first call to the finished service. Then ask for the review.