If you own a business that offers a service you will face a bad a review from time to time. You can’t please everyone, that is just a fact of life! Whether the review is fair or inaccurate, it doesn’t really matter. What matters is how you deal with the complaint and turn a negative into a positive. This is especially important if you are in the market of home improvement because with sites like Yelp, Angie’s List, and Glass Door it is inevitable that you will get a bad review from time to time. Your business does not need suffer based on a bad review, in fact; it may turn into learning experience that will only make your company stronger in the long run. When dealing with complaints in the digital world it is important to be pro-active and take the proper steps to repair the damage. How you deal with these complaints is the key to your continued success, maintaining a good reputation, gathering leads, and growing your business. So, how do you deal with negative reviews? Remember proper communication is key.
1. Always Respond to Every Legitimate Review, Whether Good or Bad in an Objective Manner
Your customers want to be recognized for their feedback. Engaging in an authentic dialogue with your customers will not only validate their feelings but it will show the world that you take pride in your work, and value your reputation. This is when your critical thinking skills come into play. You must be able to evaluate the complaint from an outside prospective and not take it personal. This is where you have room for growth. If there is any truth to the complaint this is your opportunity to learn from your mistake to ensure it doesn’t happen again. Keep in mind that some people are never happy with their final result and they will complain no matter what. When responding to complaints keep that old adage in mind “the customer is always right” even if you know they are wrong. When you respond make sure that it is personal to the reviewer, you do not want to send out the same generic message to every complaint you receive because that will show a lack of empathy. Always be kind to the reviewer, address the issue, and quickly move the conversation to a private forum by offering your phone number or personal email address so you may discuss the problem and reach a possible solution that makes everyone happy. In the end you may be able to fix the problem which may result in the reviewer removing their complaint and possibly becoming a repeat customer or even referring addition leads to your business.
2. Build Up Good Reviews to Over Shadow the Bad Ones
This may be one of the most important steps you can take to traffic more good reviews. A good way to generate reviews is by sending your customer a thank you letter when you complete a job. Again, make it personal and sincere and add a link which can easily direct the customer to the review section on your personal webpage. As I mentioned earlier, communication is key, it is important to keep the dialog open with customer throughout the job, that way you can work out the kinks as they come and hopefully eliminate any negative reviews.
3. Take Sometime to Evaluate the Complaint
Ask yourself if the complaint is in fact legitimate? If so, take the necessary steps to fix the problem to ensure it does not happen again in the future. If the complaint really is bogus refer to (1. Always Respond to Every Legitimate Review, Whether Good or Bad in an Objective Manner). Some things you simply cannot fix, so focus on generating those positive reviews. What does not kill you only makes you stronger, Right?
Remember to always evaluate the negative review objectively. Never argue with any customer on a public forum. Take your dialog offline and try to see if the situation is salvageable. Take every negative experience as an opportunity for growth. Lastly, continue to brand your company as ethical, responsible and compassionate, and good things will follow.