Your heating and cooling company depends on its reputation to survive, and in today’s world, there’s more to your reputation than you probably realize. Between social media mentions, online reviews, directory listings and local forums, there could be dozens or even hundreds of conversations going on about your business — with or without your knowledge. Brand monitoring is a strategy that can allow heating and cooling companies like yours to tap into those conversations, learn more about how your brand is perceived, and ultimately, make the positive changes necessary to improve your business.
What is brand monitoring?
Let’s start with a basic explanation of what brand monitoring is.
At its most basic, brand monitoring is an ongoing strategy that allows you to gather online references to your brand, review them, and potentially respond to them.
They could take the form of deliberate postings about your company, such as reviews of your heater installation, or simply be casual conversations between users on social media about topics such as HVAC recommendations.
Positive or negative, widespread or localized, with a brand monitoring strategy in place, when your company is talked about, you’ll know about it.
Why should heating and cooling companies care?
Your company specializes in heating and cooling equipment, so monitoring your brand reputation online might not seem like a priority. However, there are four main reasons why it should be:
1. First impressions
You know that a customer’s first impression can leave them with a lasting image of your company, for better or for worse. If too many customers discover bad reviews or negative mentions of your brand when they research you specifically (or heating and cooling companies in general), they might be left with that negative impression indefinitely, costing you future business. When you discover these negative entries, you may have a chance to correct them.
2. Consumer research
As you begin to monitor your brand, you’ll also learn more about the types of customers who reference you and how they talk about you. For example, you might learn that the personality and interactions of your technicians are more important than the quality of the installation or final product. This is valuable information that can help you improve your business.
3. Opportunities to resolve problems
If a customer has a bad experience with your company, they’ll be unlikely to return. However, through brand monitoring, you’ll be able to find at least some of the people who have had bad experiences with your brand, and you’ll have a chance to make things up to them, with a discount, a replacement service, or even a sincere apology.
4. Preservation of customer loyalty
You might also find people talking enthusiastically about your brand, spreading the word about what great business you’ve done.
Doing this not only encourages the behavior, so you earn more new customers, but also keeps that customer loyal indefinitely. People love to be recognized.
Areas to watch
There are many online tools and software platforms that you can use to help monitor your brand, and some of them will ping you automatically when they detect that your brand name has been mentioned, such as BuzzSumo and Google Alerts. But regardless of whether you use an automated tool or not, there are several key areas that will matter to your heating and cooling company:
- Review sites. Review sites like Angie’s List and Yelp are one of the most common places for brand mentions. The reviews here can impact consumer opinions of your brand, as well as your rankings in search engines.
- Directories. Online, third-party directories might also have mentions of your brand, though there may or may not be customer reviews attached.
- Social media. You’ll also want an ear to the ground on social media platforms, where customers may post updates about their experience, or engage with community members to discuss whether your heating and cooling company is worth hiring.
- Blogs. In some cases, customers may blog about their experiences with you, as an extended form of online reviewing.
- Local forums. You might also find your brand mentioned on local sites and forums, which intentionally bring community members together to share information.
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Tips for success
As you go forward, you’ll want to consider these tips to ensure successful brand monitoring:
Learn from every interaction
If someone says something positive about your business, consider why, and work to increase your investments in that area. If someone says something negative about it, regardless of whether or not the comment is justified, look for ways that you can change your approach so fewer comments like these arise in the future.
Make things right when you can
Just because a customer had a bad customer service experience doesn’t mean that experience can’t be rectified. Reach out to customers with negative feedback and see what you can do to improve the situation. Not only does this have the potential to satisfy an unhappy customer, it also shows other online users that your company is willing to go out of its way to make things right.
Work on expanding
The number of brand mentions you’re getting is an indication of how far your reputation reaches. If you aren’t getting very many, make it a goal to get more brand mentions on more platforms. Ongoing marketing and advertising techniques, as well as encouragement of your existing customers to review your brand online, can help.
Get to know your customers
Remember, this is a chance to do some market research as well. Study the typical customer who engages with your brand, and learn from their key characteristics. What demographics do they fall into? What are their core values? What’s most important to them in a heating and cooling company?
Heating and cooling companies can improve their reputation, right their wrongs, and improve their approach to business with a tactic as simple as brand monitoring. It doesn’t take much expertise or effort to get started, so add brand monitoring to your list of ongoing strategies, and find out what people are saying about your company online.