Online reviews are the go-to of customers of all types before considering a contractor or purchasing a product. This is the new “word-of-mouth” and is often seen as a reliable source of information before finalizing deals.
We all love a good review, and businesses see the value of having positive reviews, especially the coveted 5-star ones. Though in as much as we want to avoid it, there is a huge possibility, even with spotless service (or so you thought), that a negative review could happen for any business owner.
Being a contractor in the home improvement industry, we all know that negative reviews could be damaging especially since referrals are important for us. Reputation is important and this is especially more critical for small business owners. Why? Smaller businesses most likely don’t have many reviews, so a few negative reviews will surely stand out.
If you have online reviews linked or shown on your Pro page and have recently received a negative review, this is not a “death sentence” (and NO, deleting negative reviews is not the answer). Fret not, as your response to negative reviews will make or break your business. You can definitely turn around a negative review to your advantage.
Continue reading to learn how to make a negative review a positive experience for your contractor business.
- Respond promptly and politely
As soon as you see a negative review make sure to respond to it quickly.
First, if you are feeling angry and defensive, hold off your emotions and assess the situation. Truthfully ask yourself/your team if the homeowner has a valid point. The reality is, even if you generally deliver great performances and have done your best in a particular project, you can still make a mistake.Second, respond promptly to the negative review. This will show your clients that you value their opinions and want to make things right. Make sure to apologize and if the situation calls for it, offer for a refund or that you will check back to correct any mistakes.
Third, make sure to follow through on any promises.
Customers are not generally “hard” to talk to, if you are calm, and professional but at the same time sympathetic to their feelings, they will most likely give your business a second chance.
Take it from one of our Pros, after receiving an unfavorable review, the contractor responded quickly to make amends. They found out that it was a bit of a misunderstanding and the issue was just an easy fix. The homeowner then revised his review and commended the contractor for taking responsibility, responding promptly, and resolving the issue + giving recommendations too.
- If applicable, take the issue offline
This will depend on the nature of the complaint. If the issue is complex, you can leave a public comment that you will be in touch with the client to resolve the client. There is no need to leave lengthy or complicated explanations for all to see (others won’t probably read through).
After which, make sure to communicate right away with the client and resolve the issue.
Once things are pacified and the client is satisfied with the solution, you can leave a brief comment informing the public that the issue has been dealt with privately or encourage the client to leave a statement depending on how the issue was resolved.
- Always ask for reviews from customers
In addition to being a good marketing move highlighting your company’s capabilities, a positive review will offset a negative review! As they say, strike while the iron is hot, if you know you did a more than satisfactory performance and the clients are happy, make sure to ask them to leave a review.
- Take negative reviews seriously
Look at negative reviews from a different perspective – not mere criticisms but insights on things to improve in your business. Customers are not on a witch hunt to destroy your company but most are expressing dissatisfaction or frustration.
There are of course exceptions, after careful consideration, if you deem the reviews to be defamatory, without merits, or fake (could be from an unscrupulous competitor), answer in a professional manner without a hint of defensiveness and clearly indicate that the review is false and your company has no record of alleged service given.
Always remember that how you handle negative reviews could have a huge impact on your business. Make it a company policy to always respond to reviews, both positive and negative, and should be done in a polite and professional manner. And of course, always uphold high standards of service, no matter how big or small a project is, to ensure that the probability of negative reviews will be low.