Getting the Customer and Locking Them In

By Thad Plumley

As the check was being written for new blinds we had installed in our house, the sales representative added one final thing:

“Remember that the manufacturer warranty on the product is one year, but if you write an online review on Google, our company tacks on two additional years.”

He added we didn’t have to give his company a certain number of stars in the online rating system or have the comments be glowing for the additional years to kick in; we simply had to write about using his company and what we thought of its service.

He didn’t have anything to worry about. We loved the product, the price was fair, and any installer who takes pictures of our cats to send to his girlfriend is getting five stars from my wife!

The more I thought about the company’s plan after writing a review, the more I realized it’s genius—and our house is proof.

When my wife and I decided we needed blinds, she looked online. One company stood out above all its competitors because it had significantly more reviews than others and nearly all of the reviews were positive. We’d have been silly to call another company.

So here’s where you come in. You must steal this genius plan and adapt it for your company.

Offer your customers maintenance agreements for a fee—and then tack on a second year for any online review.

Believe me when I say maintenance agreements and online reviews are critical to your success. The online reviews will give you customers and the maintenance agreements will lock them in for years to come.

Online reviews are the phonebooks of yesteryear. Google is simply where people go when they need a service. However, the online reviews are way more useful than a phonebook because of the customer comments.

We recently had our chimney cleaned and stayed away from a company that got wonderful reviews—most of the time. My wife and I noticed that almost all the negative comments indicated the company ignored some people, never calling them back to set up service. Life’s too short, we thought, as we went with another firm.

The maintenance agreements will give you business for the off months and lock in the customers if you fill your agreement with some customer perks. Offer an annual water test, give a discount on any needed parts for repairs, provide a top-of-the-list spot on emergency calls, and other things that are unique for your business.

Once folks sign on for that, they’re not going to Google again when something happens. They’re calling you.

And if you’re still not sure that will work? Take a picture of the cats. That’s guaranteeing customers for life!

Read WWJ‘s article from the June 2019 issue on the power of online reviews.

Thad Plumley is the editor of WWJ and director of information products at the National Ground Water Association. He can be reached at, or (800) 551-7379, ext. 1594.