Picture this: you’re taking that special someone to a restaurant you’ve never been to before, though two of your coworkers have given you their confident recommendations. You search the restaurant online and find a handful of great ratings but without comments. You tap the website button on their Google listing to take a look at their menu and gain an understanding of their vibe, but the link is a dreaded “404 NOT FOUND” dead end. You go back to the restaurant’s listing, perhaps to find a few photos and get a sense of where the place is and a couple of their offerings, and you can’t seem to find any clear pictures of food or the inside. Like a dimly lit restaurant, simply put, you’re in the dark.

As a business owner, you certainly wouldn’t want to put a potential customer in this situation. Someone can make a decision about your business without ever walking through your door or giving you a call, and it begins with your online presence. Managing your customer’s expectations starts the moment they search for the service they’re looking for, and if done right, they’ll be drawn to your business because they’ll be able to picture what it’s like to work with you from beginning to end. If they call your office, who’s speaking on the other end of the line? Who’s coming to their home to work on the project? What is it like to buy tires from your location and have your well-trained staff put them on their car? Is there coffee and donuts while they wait? 

Your online presence is your best tool for managing a customer’s expectations, and we want to provide you with 3 super easy tips that will help you frame them from the get-go.

1. Add Real, Telling Photos:

Making a good first impression counts, and both your Yelp and Google My Business page will frame photos of your business front and center. In the case of Yelp, it’s entirely up to their system to determine which photos are displayed across your business page. This includes customer photos they’ve attached to their reviews, which may or may not capture the kind of images that you want to be featured. Often, and especially on Yelp, customers attach photos of “what’s gone wrong” with their negative review. While this is helpful to explain their negative review, you don’t want your header photos to be populated with bad examples of your work or services.

To combat this, we suggest uploading pictures of your logo, your building, your team, and most importantly, your services in action and finished products. Depending on what your business does, you want your clients to see what they’re getting at the end of working with you.

Google provides a helpful list of the kinds of photos you’ll want to add to your page, with a description of each kind, how many to add, and handy tips to help you utilize each kind. This can work for Yelp as well. Your business may not fall under all of these categories, but take advantage of the ones that apply to you and get posting!

2. Remove the Unknowns

A major hindrance when enticing someone to utilize your services is often the number of unknowns involved. This might vary from business to business, so it’s up to you to consider how you can remove the unknowns that come between you and the customer. Some quick steps you can take to remove unknowns might be:

1) Post a clear photo of your building. If a customer needs to visit your location, show them where they can find you easily, and for the love of all things sacred, please let me know that there’s parking!

2) Let me see your staff photos and know their roles. Who’s answering your phone and making my appointment? Who will be coming over to my house for the inspection or the estimate? Whose face can I picture when I need to discuss a concern that I have?

3) Post your prices. Can I get a sense of how much this will end up being at the end, or a general idea of the budget I’ll need? Are there any unexpected costs I might need to prepare for? Be upfront and transparent about it; it goes a long way in the eyes of the customer. There’s nothing worse than sitting down for dinner and not realizing how expensive the menu options are. This applies to your business as well.

4) Let me know long the service will take. Is there a waitlist? Should I expect a quick turnaround? I’ll need to plan my schedule around utilizing your services.

5) Check to make sure the information on your business listings on Yelp, Google, and Facebook are accurate. Make sure your hours reflect when you’re actually working, that your phone number is up to date, and that the link to your website isn’t broken.

6) Give me the FAQs. A frequently asked questions page will do wonders for answering the many unknowns that might come along with your business. Make it simple for your customers and set their expectations by answering the questions you know they may already have.

3. Be Yourself! Flex Those Personality Muscles!:

Many franchises will offer their franchisees a templated website to place their information on. While this is great in keeping things neat and tidy-looking, it doesn’t do much in the way of showcasing your personality. Your website might be “just the facts,” which is all well and good, but your social media presence can be where you really stand out to potential customers.

Just having a Facebook page or something similar that exists isn’t enough for your business. It’s a great opportunity to connect with customers through pictures of finished products as well as jokes and memes about your industry, and to demonstrate just how much someone’s life will improve after having worked with you. In fact, your social media presence can also contain many of the elements we’ve discussed above. Tell a story with your social posts. Encourage your followers to post photos of just how great their finished project turned out. Start a fun conversation. Don’t let potential customers scroll right past you in their feeds.

At the end of the day…

Your online presence is a window into what your business does and how just well you do it. When you provide opportunities for potential customers and clients to understand what to expect from you and your business, you minimize potential hesitations. Remember, when it comes to removing unknowns, managing customer expectations, and utilizing the full potential of your online presence, WebPunch is in your corner!

Author Bio:

Jon Frisch is a Content Creator at WebPunch. He lives in Pasadena, CA, and spends his time writing and recording music, playing guitar, and performing. He also got married in June! He is the fun uncle, or funcle, if you will, to ten awesome nieces and nephews. Jon loves a good karaoke night, writing comedy scripts, taking road trips, and finding the best coffee shops in town. Jon never passes up the opportunity for a good pun or a lame-dad joke