Episode 3 | June 6th, 2023

Why Are Reviews & Online Reputation Important? (Part 2)

A2O Digital meets with special guest Joe Loader, the business owner for a successful garage door franchise in Cincinnati. Joe discusses what measures he takes to build a strong reputation and brand recognition by prioritizing reviews.

Doug Bencsko (00:16):

Okay. Hello, my name is Doug, I am an owner of Precision Garage Door and the founder of A Second Opinion Marketing. And today we have a guest, his name is Joe Loader. On today's podcast, we'd like to welcome you, Joe, who is an owner of Precision Garage Door in Cincinnati. Joe had worked in the healthcare for a good portion of his career and wound up retiring, but then was approached by a friend to join him in his company as a chief operating officer in 2014. His goal at the time was to purchase I guess distressed markets for a Precision Door, and take these franchises on to turn them into booming businesses.


I know in 2019 he acquired his own franchise in Cincinnati, and since then Joe has exponentially grown the company and built a strong reputation in the area. You've obtained I know well over a thousand reviews on your own website, and thousands more on your Google business profile. Joe attributes his success to helping his people become better citizens, thus becoming better and great employees. He works with them daily to stay focused and be the best they can be. Joe, thanks for joining us today, and we're happy to have you.

Joe Loader (01:52):

Well, Doug, thanks for having me.

Doug Bencsko (01:54):

Yeah. So Joe, obviously we've been friends for a while. I've called you a friend for quite some time now, and I appreciate you joining us. And today happens to be... We're filming this on April the third, 2023. And one of the things that is going on in the industry is Google Local Services, LSA, has had a problem with spam being put on business profiles that winds up making it so that if they're not actual real reviews, but they get these spam reviews, and it makes it really difficult on legitimate business owners like yourself, Joe. And obviously that's not the business that we want to be in. But the business we've got to be in, has to be we have to get reviews from our customers, legitimate reviews, so that other customers can find out what that experience was like. Joe, I know you've been doing this for a while, and perhaps you can share with us a little bit about how you go about doing that.

Joe Loader (03:14):

Yeah. Doug, there is a lot to that, and I think what you were just touching on is getting legitimate reviews. But I think one of the things that we've focused on that really help fight some of the spam is getting not just a legitimate review, but a high quality legitimate review. We work with our guys on asking how to ask for a review, the level of service that we're going to provide, and if everything goes well and you're happy with that, and you're inclined to give us a review, we'd like it to be five star. It's important to my career and to the company. So we actually teach them to ask to make sure their name is in the review, which I think helps a lot when you start seeing the spam. It's really easy to differentiate between a spam review, which is, "I just don't like your company." Versus somebody that'll write a multi-page or multi-paragraph review about just the interaction that you had.


I think the other way that... Because I don't know that you'll stop this spam, I don't know that we're going to figure that out anytime soon. But I think having a focus, even when you're not getting it, of building your reputation and getting lots of reviews. When these things start to happen, if you have only a few reviews, it hurts pretty bad, when you have a lot of reviews, it feels a little disgusting that people are doing that, but it doesn't hurt your reputation as much, you can cover them up pretty quickly. So I think you got to have that multi-prong approach to it. From a company perspective, we're going to do everything we can to cover up that spam. We immediately respond to that spam letting everybody out there know that you're not one of our customers, we can't find you, but please give us a call. But then just getting very high quality reviews to cover that kind of stuff up.

Doug Bencsko (05:08):

Yeah. Joe, one of the things that I know a little bit about you, but maybe most of our listeners will not know. Is that when you get a review on Google, a lot of times you might get a couple initials, Mr. LJ or something, and you don't know who it is. But one of the things I think is very interesting, if you go to your website and you look at reviews that you get and actually go on your website, you can actually sort the reviews by town. And the other thing that is really, really amazing, is the people put their first and last names. Well, do you ever have customers talk to you about that at all?

Joe Loader (06:02):

We absolutely do. And it's amazing, because up until probably three or four years ago I don't know that homeowners really looked at Google reviews or reviews on the website like they do now. But our homeowners, and we try to get them to go to the website to look at our reviews if they haven't already, but they'll look at it and say, "I know so-and-so." Because they live in the same town. That's social proofing, that's the high end social proofing. But that's what makes an enormous difference for us. I mean, they're looking at their neighbors, maybe they know them, maybe they don't know them, but they've heard of them. But they bring up the fact that, "I know this person, and this is the kind of review that they left for you." And then they'll comment, "Well, you've got 50 or 60 from my town alone."


It personalizes, it keeps us small. We're a hometown little garage door company, we say we're big enough that we're not going anywhere but small enough to care. That's what those kind of reviews and that ability for homeowners to see that level really does differentiate us, it really is very impactful, impactful enough that the homeowner actually brings it up to us when we're just there to fix their garage door.

Doug Bencsko (07:26):

Yeah. So obviously I know about this, because your website is being managed by Second Opinion, and we set that up many, many years ago. In fact, that was set up probably before even Google had reviews, and we've amassed thousands and thousands. And in New Jersey, because we've been open since March of 2000, we have tens of thousands of reviews. And you can sort them by one star, two star, three star, four star, five star. You can sort them by technician, if you want to actually see what your technician's reputation is himself, you can actually see and sort it by the technician, or you can sort it by the town.


And that is absolutely true, that when we go in people will say, "I saw your review and it's my friend across the street." Or, "That guy's the head of the Boys and Girls Club in town." Or something like that. And what it does, is it makes it real, because they will actually get on the phone, call them up, and say, "Hey, did you use that company Precision Garage Door?" And they'll go, "Yeah, as a matter of fact, I did." And then they realize that the tens of thousands of reviews that we have are all real. Whereas if you go on Google and you look at them, you're not so sure what you're seeing, especially today.

Joe Loader (09:03):

Yeah. No, Google, that's what everybody likes to go to. But I absolutely agree with you, we always try to get our homeowners to go to our website. They'll talk about the Google reviews, but if we can get them to go to our website, it's no longer us telling them that we're a great company, it's now everybody in their neighborhood or even the surrounding area is saying, "This is a really good company."

Doug Bencsko (09:29):

Yeah. So Joe, tell us a little bit about your training process with the guys, how often do you work with them? Is the review process part of your training process? Talk a little bit about that, because I know a little bit about you on that, and I think that would be a great thing to share with our audience.

Joe Loader (09:50):

So we train every morning, five days a week. We go for about 40 minutes, a big part of that is role-playing. We'll certainly talk about tools, we always start the meeting with a win, and a win is here are the tools that I use that I really feel comfortable about. Doesn't have to be a great service call, it doesn't have to be a big ticket, what it has to be is I'm using some tools and I'm really feeling good about these tools, that's a win. We'll go through that, and then we get into role-play. Our role-play starts, they do their pre-calls, two of them. They'll do their introduction, that's where we're talking about reviews. They'll go through their process, where they're using accessing leverage questions and pain funnels. And then they go through kiss the customer. Obviously they'll do their option, and then kiss the customer. So when we're talking about...

Doug Bencsko (10:46):

What do you mean, Joe? What do you mean by kiss the customer? What do you mean by that?

Joe Loader (10:48):

That's when we finalize the call, we're done, we've swept out their garage, we've cleaned everything up, we've gone through and... We actually have a checklist. We'll check the light bulbs in the opener, we sweep out the garage, we show them everything that we've done. If we put up an opener, exactly how to use it, all the buttons. How to diagnose certain little things if something comes up, who to call, making sure that they're a hundred percent satisfied, that they really, really feel good about the interaction. And because in the introduction we said, "We want you to feel comfortable today, and we want you to get that five star service that we're known for." At the end we'll say, "If you're really inclined to give us a review, and you're really happy with what we did today, and we want you to be able to give us a five star review. Was there anything that I did that I could change that wouldn't be five stars?"


That's part of kiss the customer, that's our chance to really fix anything that maybe we missed on. Because we all have those homeowners that's like, "Everything's great, I really appreciate what you did. Thank you very much." And then you get, "Well, they didn't do this, and they didn't do that." In the review. That's what we try to avoid by that. And then we'll go through again, the review is very important to my career, that's the law of reciprocity. We're making sure that we gave this homeowner something, and so if we did our job really well, they want to give us something, and we're asking for that review. "And if you'll put my name in it, it'll be important in my career. The owner of the company is very focused on customer service, he will see these reviews, and we will talk about the reviews. So if you're inclined to give a review, hopefully it'll be a five star."

Doug Bencsko (12:35):

Yeah, I know what that kissing the customer is all about too. That is really [inaudible 00:12:41].

Joe Loader (12:40):

I don't where I got that from.

Doug Bencsko (12:41):

Yeah, I know. But it's a good way of saying, just making sure everything's perfect before you go, make sure that last impression is perfect, right?

Joe Loader (12:55):


Doug Bencsko (12:56):

So I believe a lot of people that are in the garage door industry actually don't think that the reviews that we get are real. I feel like we have so many reviews as a company, in both our locations, that people can be skeptical, "How can you have 10,000 reviews? How can you possibly have that many?" Well, that happens over time, and it happens because there's consistency. And everybody we go to, that's what we're trying to do. And it's a very, very difficult thing to do if you don't build it into the core of your company, the actual being of your company.

Joe Loader (13:49):

The culture.

Doug Bencsko (13:51):

The culture of your company, exactly. And I know you do that there, Joe, and I know we do that in my locations in the New York metropolitan area. And to me, it's about getting a win-win-win situation. We want to make it so that the customer feels like this experience was awesome, they feel like they won, they got a home service company to come out to their house and they had a great experience.


We want them to be the first part of the winning. The second part that we talk about in my locations, is then how do we make sure that our employees are winning? And that's done it sounds like with you, you spend the time, you make them better human beings. That's what you're doing, you're making them to be better human beings, to care more about their customers. And when you do that, they wind up winning too. Not only from a financial perspective, but also from a human perspective, they become better people. And then the last part of the win is the company wins, because if our customers are happy, our employees are happy, we go along for the ride as a company. I mean, that's part of the way that I look at it.

Joe Loader (15:18):

And I think that's spot on. And if everybody's winning... And it's what we talk about. We really help our techs understand what it is to be tied to the outcome or not be tied to the outcome. And so when you talk about culture, when we're going through and we're bringing up a new person, the tools that we're teaching them, it's how to ask questions. And as important or more important, it's how to listen for the answer. And you've heard that nail in the head video, don't solve the problem, try to figure out what's really causing it. So it's teaching people how to be better listeners, how to be better human beings.


And we actually say, "Don't use any of these tools in the field, do not use any of the process in the field. Try it at home, you'll be more comfortable, you'll talk to your significant other, your kids, whatever it is, but try it there first. Don't use it in the field." And so they'll go home, and after a couple of weeks, maybe not even a month, these new people are coming in and it's like, "I'm having a very different conversation with my wife. I actually go home and when I say, how was your day? She starts to tell me, and I start to listen. And then I start to ask her more questions, really changing how I interact with my significant other." Now you can use it in the field, you see the benefit of it. You see what can happen if as a person, you're just having a relevant conversation with another person, a homeowner. And so it starts to take all that stress out of the conversation, and it stops them from being tied to the outcome.


Because you could ask any one of my guys, they do not care what option a homeowner takes, it's got to be the best decision for that homeowner. And they can only do that, and the only way they can stay unattached, is by just having a relevant conversation. What's really important to you? Why is that really important? And then giving them the options that allows that homeowner to put themself in the best place. So it is very, very much part of our culture, how we interact with our vendors, we don't have vendors, we have partners.


And I know that's cliche, but when we're interacting with someone, if they're having a problem or they're not providing a service for us, first question out of our mouth is, "How can we be better customer? What are we doing wrong?" It's not you screwed something up and I want more for it, it's just very different. So whether it's homeowners, the people that work for us, our vendors, whatever it is, we talked about culture, it has to be everything. We have a vision, we have a mission, we have a how, what and why, every one of those things goes to our vision, which is the best garage door company in America. And if you can't have that kind of honest vision, it'll never go down through the company, and that culture just won't be there.

Doug Bencsko (18:26):

Yeah. So Joe, question for you, do you compensate your guys for reviews?

Joe Loader (18:33):


Doug Bencsko (18:34):

No. That's interesting, because not everybody does it the same way. It's kind of an expectation for you, that's part of the job.

Joe Loader (18:44):

Part of the job.

Doug Bencsko (18:46):

Yeah. So we actually at our location... And I'm not saying this is right or wrong, I think the most important thing is it's got to be part of your culture, creating a great experience, and then asking the customer to review you. In our particular thing, we actually pay our employees on customer satisfaction too. I feel like when they do a great job, that means that customer won, that means that we're going to win too, and I want them to win financially also. So we actually pay our people hourly, and then we pay them on productivity, and we pay them on customer satisfaction. And that review is the proof in the pudding that that customer was satisfied, and we want to make sure that happens. So we tie it up to actually a part of our compensation. But I like what you said there, that's part of the job, that's it.

Joe Loader (19:54):

And I think that what you're doing very effectively with that is making it important. So for me, making customer satisfaction important, if I want to make more money, I've got to do my job. For us, we post the reviews up on a board, so they know what reviews were actually posted. They read them all day long, just to be able to brag to each other.


But the other thing is how many reviews you've gotten this week, and there's an expectation that you're going to get X number of reviews depending on how many jobs you ran. But it becomes, again, a competition, "Look at the reviews I've got compared to the reviews you've gotten." They also look at it as, what am I missing on? If they're not getting those reviews, where have I missed? So they take it as competition, they want to get the most five star reviews. But they also understand that if they're not getting those reviews, or the reviews aren't as good as they thought, then they've missed on something in their process. They did not educate, inspire, and empower that homeowner. That's their mission every job, educate, inspire, and empower.

Doug Bencsko (21:04):

Yeah, they're motivated by doing a great job. Well, okay, that's all I had for you today, Joe. Do you have anything else you'd like to share before we cut you loose here?

Joe Loader (21:18):

No, Doug, I appreciate the time. I think that getting a service company to understand what social proofing is, what quality service is, everybody talks about it, very few people know what the real definition. Everybody can point at it and say, "I'm doing a great job." And you've helped me a ton, A Second Opinion has helped me a ton, but it's really being able to look at, am I as good as I think I am or am I just settling?

Doug Bencsko (21:51):

Appreciate your words today, Joe, I appreciate you. And you've been a great guest for us, I'm going to get you on again sometime in the near future.

Joe Loader (22:02):

Anytime, Doug, I absolutely appreciate it.

Doug Bencsko (22:05):

All right, nice talking to you.

Joe Loader (22:07):

Thank you, sir.

Doug Bencsko (22:08):

All right, see you later.

Joe Loader (22:09):

All right, bye.

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