Falling prices and increased consumer interest in solar are making the EnergySage Solar Marketplace more active and competitive than ever before. As a result, many installers are looking for new ways to gain an edge against their competition.
There are a number of ways a solar installation company can stand out from the crowd, from offering unique products to becoming experts in their local market, or even to provide additional services to package with solar. However, according to researchers at the Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina, one of the strongest indicators of an installer’s success on EnergySage is building a favorable, public reputation on the Solar Marketplace.
While successful solar companies are already well aware of the impact that positive reviews have on future sales, the research from UNC proves this to be the case by examining EnergySage data to analyze how a recent customer’s rating on EnergySage can impact an installer’s likelihood to win a sale.
The researchers found a key relationship between receiving 5-star reviews on the EnergySage Marketplace and a new installer’s close rate (i.e., how often they win a sale): each 5-star customer review of an installer on EnergySage is linked to a 0.2% increase in that installer’s future closing rate. For the average installer on EnergySage, securing a single 5-star rating can increase their closing rate by 10%.
What factors generate a positive user experience?
The UNC analysis also explored the written portion of consumer feedback to find keywords and ideas that are found more commonly in either positive or negative reviews.
Complaints across reviews with lower ratings often focused on delays or the affordability of an installation. However, reviewers leaving a low rating also expressed frustration with pieces of the process outside of an installer’s control, such as the timeliness of utility interconnection or confusion about tax benefits or financing mechanisms.
On the flip side, there are four key ways in which solar installation companies can increase their likelihood of receiving positive reviews: patience throughout the sales process, providing knowledgeable answers to consumers’ questions, operating efficiently, and paying attention to aesthetic details during installation.
From a solar company’s perspective, as is the case with any business, in an ideal world sales would close as quickly as opportunities arose. For many solar customers, though, the purchase of a solar system is a significant investment of both time and money. While the choice to go solar may be clear to those working in the industry, the technology remains new to many property owners. This unfamiliarity often translates to solar shoppers operating as “window-shoppers”, taking time to carefully explore their solar options before being comfortable enough to purchase a system. By not placing unnecessary pressure on solar shoppers to buy immediately, installers can help ease the buying process and increase their clients’ confidence.
Solar shoppers often have questions about every aspect of their solar systems: from the origin and reliability of the panels, to the efficiency of the inverter, to the utility and tax incentives available to them. An installer’s ability to share useful knowledge and experiences can put solar shoppers at ease, positively impacting their solar shopping experience and their likelihood to ultimately invest in a solar system.
A positive solar experience rests firmly on the organization, predictability, and efficiency of the installation process. By working hard to uphold commitments, deadlines, and customer timeliness, solar companies can work with their customers, and not against them. The smoother the process operates from start to finish, the more likely a solar shopper will be to leave positive reviews.
Beautiful, sleek solar installations go a long way towards increasing a customer’s satisfaction with their purchase. As opposed to cutting corners during the installation to save time, installers can increase customer satisfaction by being perceptive to a customer’s concerns over aesthetics and preparing those solar shoppers for how an installation might look on their roof.
Reviews: how to and tips for solar installers
As an installer, be sure to always ask for reviews, especially from happy customers. The more positive testimonials written about your company’s expertise in the industry, the more likely you’ll be to win future business, both within and outside of EnergySage.
If a customer agrees to write a review of your company, be sure to make it as easy as possible for them to do so. Follow up with an email that includes links to the review site, and be attentive to any questions they have about the process.
If your customer is interested in writing a testimonial of their experience with your company on EnergySage, it’s very easy for them to do so, regardless of whether or not the customer shopped for solar through the EnergySage Marketplace. Below are a few ways to easily guide your customers in how to write a review on EnergySage.
Option A: Fill out the form to send them (and other customers) emails
One way to solicit customer reviews is to send customers an email from your EnergySage account requesting the reviews.
When logged into your account, hover over your name to have a drop-down menu appear with the option to “Get More Reviews.” (Note: this feature is only available if you have admin privileges for your company’s account.)
On this page is a form that allows you to ask for reviews from up to 25 past customers at once, using either a pre-written or custom written message. Before broadcasting the review request widely, it’s worth sending yourself a test email first to ensure everything in the email is up to your expectations.
Option B: Send customers a direct link to the review page
An alternative option, also available on the “Get More Reviews” page, is to send a direct link to customers that guide them straight to the EnergySage review submission page. There are plenty of options for how best to send along the link, from including it in personal communication with customers to adding the link to your company’s monthly newsletter.
Option C: Direct them to your company profile on EnergySage
A third option is to direct customers straight to your company profile page on EnergySage. The company profile page is a great marketing tool: as a solar installation company, you have access to update and maintain the information on your company profile page to attract new customers. The page also serves as a collection point for all of your existing customer reviews on EnergySage while also providing the option for new customers to directly fill out a review.
Customers both inside and out of the EnergySage Marketplace can access your profile page, either by clicking your company name in the Marketplace (for EnergySage customers), or by searching for your company in the Solar Reviews section of the website.
Look to EnergySage as a resource
At EnergySage, we are committed to the success of our installer partners. We are here to help you build your online reputation, including offering suggestions for how to increase your visibility to help customers feel more confident with their choice to go solar. If you have a customer who is struggling to post a review on our website, feel free to direct them to our Solar Advisors (firstname.lastname@example.org) for assistance. We will be happy to help!