Even the best contractor in the world will eventually receive a mediocre review online. Perhaps a mistake was made on a job site, a customer misunderstood the scope of a project, or a client simply felt dissatisfied with a project outcome for either legitimate or illegitimate reasons. Regardless of the cause, negative online reviews can seem like a scarlet letter, bringing attention to a poor customer opinion in a way that can diminish praise in the future.
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So, does reputation matter online? It would be easy if the answer was no, but public perception on the web can mean everything. For companies with a lot of excellent reviews, a single bad review won’t rock the boat substantially. However, newer companies or those with a growing internet presence may have their online reputation significantly damaged with a single one-star response. When customers see a bad review ranting about anything from poor performance to lacking customer service, they may be inclined to head for the hills. However, one bad review — or even a few bad reviews — isn’t the end of the world. By taking steps to address reputation management, you can keep your contracting business looking its very best.
How Do I Bring My Business Out Of A Bad Reputation?
Getting a bad review can feel like a punch in the stomach for committed, dedicated contractors — especially when the contents of a review don’t read as true. But bad reviews are part of doing business, so maintaining a good reputation online involves both facilitating good reviews and appropriately handling bad ones. These tips can help you fix your online reputation.
Respond Positively To Negative Reviews
Most review sites, like Google, Yelp!, and Angie’s List, permit contractors to respond to reviews left. When a bad review is received, it may be tempting to argue, insult, belittle, or refute, but this isn’t a good way to proceed. Instead, respond with kindness. Apologize for whatever slight the customer mentioned, even if you disagree, and offer the customer reparation. For example, if a customer complains about shoddy performance in the completion of a project, invite them to call your office to discuss the issue. This shows the unhappy customer that you’re willing to work with them and prospective customers that you care about customer satisfaction, even if things don’t go according to plan. And, if you manage to solve a customer’s complaint, they may be willing to change or remove their negative feedback.
There’s no need to reply to all positive reviews, too, but it can be a good practice if you’re willing. Thanking customers for their good reviews shows a strong level of engagement — a positive sign future clients may take into account when vetting contractors in your area.
Encourage Additional Reviews
In a sea of good reviews, a single bad review means a lot less. As such, it’s in your best interest as a professional to encourage as many good reviews as possible. This can help protect you from a negative online reputation, shielding you from the ramifications of bad reviews before it’s too late.
There are a few ways to encourage online reviews, including offering incentives for customers who review you, regardless of the kind of rating or review left, like 5% off a service or a free estimate. If you don’t like the idea of offering perks for leaving feedback — and not everyone does — you can simply ask your customers if they’ll leave a rating or review following a project. Including a call to action in email correspondence or on final paperwork after project completion can also be very effective.
Broaden Your Online Presence
Putting in the legwork to maintain a robust presence on all the key review sites can feel like a burden, but it’s an important part of mitigating a negative online reputation. The more places your business is active, the more options customers have to sing your praises.
Many customers have their preferences across review sites and will only check or leave feedback on their preferred platforms. This means that if you only use Yelp!, customers who prefer Google may not feel compelled to leave their positive impressions of your business. Make a habit of monitoring these sites regularly, too; if you get a bad review, it’s in your best interest to address it immediately. Letting a bad review fester for too long can eliminate the opportunity to do anything about it. If possible, sign up to get email alerts about new feedback, and check sites at least once a week.
Facing negative online reviews is never easy, but it’s a part of doing business. By employing best practices to manage reviews, like responding positively to bad feedback, encouraging customers to leave additional reviews, and expanding your presence to include as many sites as possible, you can do what it takes to change your reputation online for the better.