Are your customers telling you the whole truth?
What to do about a negative reviewDecember 5th, 2017 by
If you’re in the home building or improvement industry, you understand just how important your reputation is to the success of your business.
So what do you do when you receive a negative review?
1. Don’t panic
Here’s the first piece of good news: you’re not alone! Take our very own community of home builders, remodelers, and contractors, for instance. Of the 2,348 full GuildQuality members who have “Likely to Recommend” data, 1,941 have received least one negative rating (0, 1, or 2) – that’s nearly 83%. Clearly, even the best of the best can’t avoid a less-than-stellar review from time to time.
And here’s even better news: getting the occasional not-so-great review may actually help you in the long run. How? For one, negative reviews actually build credibility among your customer base.
You see, it’s no secret that today’s consumers rely heavily on Internet research to determine when and where to spend their money. Knowing this, some companies have started purchasing fake positive reviews. Sadly for those businesses, this tactic often backfires, and in the end, consumers don’t trust them.
2. Take the review seriously
Even if this is the first negative review, rating, comment, etc., you’ve received in the last five years, take it seriously. Remember, most customers don’t give poor reviews just for the fun of it, but rather because they are genuinely unhappy about something. Plus, consumers are far more likely to provide honest feedback via a written, third-party survey rather than face-to-face, so their review is likely genuine. This means you should absolutely listen to whatever it is they’re reporting, especially if it’s surprising.
“Our surveys have definitely revealed areas in which we need to improve to make our customer experience better, that we were unaware of beforehand.” – Tim O’Brien, Ashton Woods Homes
3. Contact the reviewer
First, reach out to the customer right away to address the problem. Not only will this immediately help the situation, it demonstrates your commitment to providing exceptional service. Next, if the resolution isn’t obvious, ask the customer how you can fix the issue, or what you can do in the future to ensure X doesn’t happen again.
“No matter what the issue is, ultimately, you have to take responsibility for the fact that something didn’t go right. Empathy is key. When you’re speaking to the client, you need to understand where they’re coming from, why they’re upset, what the issue is, and make it clear that you really are listening to them. Failing to do even one of those things will lead to more unhappiness.” – Lane Cooper, COOPER Design Builders
Another way you can clearly exhibit your dedication to customer satisfaction is by directly responding to the negative review online (if it’s published). Doing so sends a clear message to your potential customers that you truly listen to your customers – even the unhappy ones – and reinforces the idea that you’re always looking for ways to improve.
4. Make a change (or several)
Although one bad review out of hundreds may not indicate you need to rethink your entire business model, it likely points to there being room for improvement. Think about every negative review, or even every suggestion you’ve ever received, and do what you believe is necessary to strengthen your customer service and better your business.
5. Keep listening
Continuously surveying your customers is the only way you’ll know if the changes you’ve made are positively impacting your business, and whether or not your customers are genuinely happy with your product or service. Plus, the more reviews you have affiliated with your business, the more visible (and credible) you’ll be on the web.
If surveying each and every customer seems daunting and way too time-consuming, don’t fret. Fortunately, GuildQuality has been in the business of surveying homeowners (i.e. your customers) for over ten years, and we’d be happy to help you gather the information you need to improve your customer service and grow your business. To learn more, visit our tour page, or sign up for a free trial, today.