Infusionsoft, leaders of sales and marketing software for small businesses, recently announced Brian Young of Home Painters Toronto as the winner of the 2015 Small Business ICON award. Part of ICON15, Infusionsoft’s annual three-day small business conference, this award recognizes successful entrepreneurs who exemplify what it means to market, sell and grow in a closely connected digital world. Winners receive $10,000 to invest in their business and a host of other prizes.

ICON15-Schwerdt-Young-Anderson“I am absolutely thrilled to have been chosen as the 2015 Small Business ICON. Words can’t describe how I’m feeling now. Winning an award like this is something I will never forget!” said Brian.

Of hundreds of applicants for the ICON award, three finalists spoke to an audience of over 2,000 about how they use Infusionsoft to get organized, grow sales and save time. They tell their own stories about business growth and marketing strategies, offering inspiration and advice for overcoming challenges along the way, and then the audience votes to select the ICON winner.

During his winning presentation Brian spoke about how he used the Reputation Loop API integration with Infusionsoft to solicit feedback from his customers on autopilot and I got a chance to talk to him more about how this impacts his business and online reputation.

On the heels of his big win here’s what ICON Brian Young had to say about Reputation Loop:

REPUTATION LOOP: Were you using any other reputation management or reputation marketing services before Reputation Loop?

BRIAN YOUNG: No. Everything was manual and everything was random so that was the scary part.

You are an Infusionsoft user, have you always used Reputation Loop or is it something you picked up after you started using Infusionsoft?

It’s something we added after using Infusionsoft a few years. We’ve been using Reputation Loop for about three months because I know how important reviews are. Basically they are our lifeline. HomeStars (a review site where homeowners rate and find contractors) has been our number one lead source. Our number one lead source! With HomeStars we are talking about nearly $1.5 million dollars in the last three years.

Were you looking to use Reputation Loop to solve a problem you had?

I wouldn’t say solving a problem. It was about making us more efficient. Raising our odds of increasing our reputation. I would say it gave us a peace of mind and it’s taken the guess work out of whether or not the customer is happy. Our overall marketing is so strong, it’s probably the strongest part of our business at this point. So I would say no problems, but we are always trying to make things better.

Small-business-icon-winner-brian-youngSo with Reputation Loop you’ve seen measurable improvement in your customer satisfaction ratings?

Our reputation was looking quite well before Reputation Loop. I’d say around 80%. But we’ve used Reputation Loop for about three months and it’s been increasing rapidly and is now in the 98.5% range.  Also, just in the 3 months since having Reputation Loop, we caught a potential bad review before it went public. We quickly resolved the issue with the client and turned him into a raving customer and a 5 out of 5 review. Even more importantly, the client will use us again which is even more satisfying. Without Reputation Loop this one bad review could have set us back for months and cost us thousands of dollars in lost revenue. Catching this one bad review was easily worth the entire years worth of the cost of Reputation Loop.

How does Reputation Loop help you run your business?

The thing that it has done for us is allow us to run our business to the point where we don’t have to worry about this customer being happy or that company being happy. Seventy-five percent of the time customers don’t tell you what they are thinking. When we complete a job sometimes we can get the sign off, but if we don’t it can be a hit or miss situation. We have so many jobs going on that we cannot manage the customers one-by-one. So the good thing about Reputation Loop is it takes the guess work out of whether the customer is happy or not.

What Reputation Loop feature has had the most impact on your business?

The most important thing is if a customer is not happy, we are able to catch it before it goes public, address it and fix it fast like I just talked about.  Another good thing it does is it notifies us when we get a really good review and we want to make that public so we push it towards the top review sites. When we get a five out of five, it automatically send us a message saying we got a great review from this person and then we send an automated message to the customer asking if they can leave a review on HomeStars and Google.

These are the two most powerful public review sites for our business. Good reviews are our lifeline because I would estimate at least 90% of customers who find us online are solely judging us off our reviews alone since they have never used us before. Because our reviews are so stellar, it makes selling paint jobs so much easier. This also allows us to position ourselves as the “elite” brand and charge premium pricing based on quality, reliability, and service; rather than just getting beat up on price.

Why is your online reputation such a high priority?

Our reputation is so integral to our business that one bad review can kill our ratings and really affect how customers choose us. To me a bad review is worth thousands and thousands of dollars lost. When I first came to Reputation Loop I remember thinking the price seemed a little expensive because some of the other apps in the Infusionsoft Marketplace where half the price. I had to ask myself, “What’s a bad review worth?” And I thought, “Oh God! I don’t even want to think about it.” A bad review is worth about probably $10,000 to me. If it can catch one bad review for me a year, it’s paid itself off.

All of us here at Reputation Loop want to congratulate Brian on his big win and wish him continued success as he grows House Painters Toronto. Read more about the ICON award and the ICON15 Conference at Yahoo! Finance.



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Zach_Color_Trans_small_CroppedAbout The Author

Zach Anderson is the co-founder of Reputation Loop (helping small businesses grow by generating customer feedback and online reviews) who loves online marketing and golf.