3 Things You Can Learn From Your Competitors’ Reviews

You may already be diligently monitoring online reviews customers write about your company, but have you ever thought about doing the same for your competitors? There could be something there to learn as well.

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For pumpers, especially those in bigger markets, there’s no shortage of competition. While the competition may be fierce in your market, the key to using it for your benefit is in learning from your competitors. Reviews are a great place to start.

As a business owner, you’re already aware of the power of online reviews and their ability to attract or repel potential customers. You’re also likely aware of how willing people are to go into great detail about their experiences with a company, especially if those experiences were negative. Hopefully you’re carefully monitoring your reviews, responding to them, and learning from them, but are you gleaning what you can from the reviews of your competitors as well?

If not, you’re missing out on a golden opportunity. Let’s take a look at three of the most beneficial things you can learn from your competitors’ customer reviews and how you can put that knowledge to use.

What do target customers want/not want in a pumper?

Choose your five biggest competitors and spend some time reading through their positive and negative reviews. By doing this, you’ll discover what they’re doing right and what they’re doing wrong. Why do their customers love working with them? What are their weaknesses, and where are they coming up short in the eyes of their customers? What do their customers say they want or don’t want in a septic pumper?

You don’t have to read every single review — look for common complaints and common praises. Having that knowledge and applying it to your own business can help you attract the customers who were unhappy with the competition and may even help you win over some of their more satisfied customers.

At the very least, you’ll understand what customers want and don’t want in a pumper so you can alter your business accordingly. You’ll have a better business that’s more attractive to those searching for the services you offer and a better understanding of your customer. It’s a win-win, and it can help give you a perspective that you wouldn’t have otherwise. 

What should you do differently?

Now that you’ve rummaged through some of your top competitors’ reviews, it’s time to figure out how your company compares, what you need to do differently, and just how good you need to be.

You can even compare their reviews to your own reviews and look for commonalities or differences. Do you and the competition both have positive reviews that mention your cleanliness? Do you both have negative reviews that mention what a mess you left behind? Do you soar in an area they fall short in or vice versa? Choose a few categories based on the reviews you’ve skimmed through, do a comparison and make the needed changes.

Sometimes easy-to-make changes can put you ahead of the competition, but even if they require a bit more thought or the implementation of systems, the changes are worth making. Why? Because your target customers have shared just how important those things are and how much they influence whom they choose to do business with and whom they choose to continue doing business with.

So spend some time in honest reflection. How do you size up? Would you choose your company over the competition with only your reviews or your marketing as your guide? The reality is, you don’t need to be perfect. You just need to be a little bit better than the competition. Without studying your competitors and seeing how you compare, it’ll be hard to quantify just how good you need to be and hard to identify just where you need to improve.

How should you market yourself?

Now that you’ve identified where your competitors are failing and where they’re nailing it, as well as where you’re nailing it in comparison and where you need to improve, it’s time to reevaluate how you’re marketing yourself. Do you need to make a shift to make your company more appealing? It’s sometimes amazing how little you have to do to impress the customer because of how low your competition has set the bar.

Your target customers are trying to tell you what matters most to them in their reviews, so attract them by putting those things at the center of your marketing message. Look at the selling points and loyalty killers identified in your reviews and the reviews of the competition. Do all of the negative reviews use the words “poor communication” or complain about tardiness or not showing up at all? Put punctuality and communication at the heart of your marketing message.

Let your potential customers know front and center in all your marketing that when they choose you, they can expect techs to be on time and to communicate effectively — from scheduling to job completion. Consider wrapping your trucks with that language or adding a testimonial to the homepage of your website that mentions how communicative and respectful you are. Don’t just blow smoke. Make sure your team really is great at communication and that your customers are never left in the dark or waiting around for a follow-up call or a pumper who is running late. Communication communicates respect and courtesy, and a respected customer who feels cared for is a loyal customer.

A Final Word

It’s easy to get frustrated by reviews and see them as a threat, but they can be a massive blessing for your business if you take the time to learn from them. Whether you’re in a large market or a small one, there’s a lot to be gleaned from your reviews and the reviews of your competitors. Your customers have more choices than ever before. They’re looking for a better service experience, and through reviews, they’re telling you exactly what that better service experience looks like. Don’t waste the opportunity to be the obvious choice in your area. Start listening.


About the Authors: Carter Harkins and Taylor Hill are the co-founders of Spark Marketer, a Nashville-based digital marketing company that works primarily with service businesses. They’re also the co-hosts of the "Blue Collar Proud (BCP) Show," a podcast that’s all about having and living the blue collar dream, and the co-authors of the book, Blue Collar Proud: 10 Principles for Building a Kickass Business You Love. Both regularly speak at service industry trade shows and conferences across the nation. Visit facebook.com/sparkmarketerfacebook.com/bcpshow or facebook.com/groups/bluecollarproudnation.



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