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How a Negative Review Can Actually Be Good for Business
Learn how you can use negative reviews to build your reputation and help you stand out from the crowd. Get the script to respond
People turn to reviews on sites like Yelp and Facebook now more than ever, using them to pick everything from a salon to a restaurant to yes, a home improvement contractor. Reviews can be great to build your reputation and help you stand out from the crowd. They also help show that you’re a real company with actual customers. For those reasons, encouraging clients to leave reviews is an asset to your word-of-mouth marketing.
Being in business in the 21st century means that you’re bound to face a negative online review at some point in time. What do you do when you receive a review that isn't so glowing? Truthfully, bad reviews aren’t always a bad thing for your business, and a few in a sea of positive reviews are not going to bring you down. In fact, one benefit to the occasional mediocre review is providing your business with more credibility. Revoo, a customer engagement marketing firm, reports that customers who see negative reviews tend to convert 85% more than those who don’t. See negative reviews can actually do some good for your business.
But just because they can be good for business doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take action and treat them seriously. Here are the dos and don’ts of putting out the flames so you don’t risk being burned.
The most important thing you can do? RESPOND. Not responding publicly is often a red flag to others you’re not interested in addressing concerns. If you respond privately, it’s valuable to still publicly post an initial response that includes your reaching out to further discuss their experience and issues.
Don’t respond too hastily.
It’s easy to want to jump into battle. They’re criticizing your work, company, and expertise, after all. But publicly publishing your gut reaction will probably land you in even more hot water. Take a breather and craft a thoughtful response, but don’t wait days! 48 to 72 hours is a good rule of thumb - it allows you to respond thoughtfully with a clear head.
Do take the time to investigate.
Take the time to research the issues at hand. First, you might need to do some digging to identify who left the review. Some reviews are clearly attached to an identifiable person while others hide behind a mystery profile. If you don’t know who left it, you may need to use your sleuthing skills to figure out their identity. Once you know, if other people were involved in the project, talk to them to get their side of the situation so you have a well-rounded perspective of what happened. If you aren’t able to identify them, still respond and ask them to reach out so you can help get to the bottom of the situation and make it right.
Don’t forget to thank them.
Thanking them may feel like the last thing you want to do in the heat of the moment, but doing so is an important acknowledgment that you appreciate their feedback. Negative feedback is an opportunity for growth, helping you do things better the next time.
Do watch your tone.
Conveying tone in a written message online can be tricky. That’s why it’s important to keep it professional and not sound irritated, annoyed, or angry about their comments. Take your time to be sure it sounds like a thoughtful response before hitting that submit button.
Don’t be afraid to admit when you’re in the wrong.
We all make mistakes. If this is one of those times, owning up to them shows integrity and can only boost your reputation. Also, in a public forum letting the customer know you’ll be reaching out to make it right goes a long way to future customers.
Do attempt to talk to them offline.
Getting a homeowner on the phone, while potentially uncomfortable, is the best way to get to the bottom of the problem and take the second most important step of handling a negative review.
Pro Tip: Wait to make the call with a cool head - don’t make the call when you’re angry or frustrated. Give yourself a few minutes or hours to breathe before responding. Prep some talking points to help you stay on script.
Don’t make one phone call and forget it.
When tempers are running high a homeowner might not want to jump into a conversation immediately. That’s why it’s important to keep reaching out in a persistent yet respectable manner.
Do keep in mind who typically leaves reviews.
People turn to online reviews for one of two reasons: They’re thrilled with your work and want to support your business, or they're angry. Those middle-ground customers who are happy but may be too busy to leave a review tend not to leave comments. It’s important to keep in mind there are plenty of satisfied customers not represented, especially when you’re frustrated about a reviewer.
Don’t make threats.
When you know without a shadow of a doubt you were in the right, just say no to making any type of threat against the customer. Escalating the situation will never make things better. Even if you do become involved in some type of legal action, keep it far away from the reviews section. If the review is from a fake client, simply back away and report the profile to the reviews. It may take a while to see action come from it, and they may claim they don’t have enough evidence to do anything, but it’s the best action you can take for the situation.
Do offer a solution.
How can you quickly solve the problem? Some homeowners just want acknowledgment that something, like your timeliness, wasn’t great. Others want a tangible action. Maybe you need to redo painting the trim in their new dining room or send a team over to get to the bottom of a new leak that’s popped up and points to a problem with your handiwork.
Don’t forget to resolve it online, too!
People like to see closure among your reviews. Take the time to give a follow-up comment to your conversation noting if you were able to come to a solution and, if applicable, thanking them for allowing you the opportunity to make it right.
Do keep asking for reviews.
Reviews are an important part of your business! Don’t let the fear or complication of bad reviews stop you from asking customers for reviews.
What exactly does a good response look like for a negative review?
Having a ready-to-go script can help you turn a negative reviewer into your next referral by how you respond. We’ve prepared some review response scripts that will not only save time, and help you close your next deal by the way you respond. These scripts also allow you to personalize your response to each individual and situation.