Testimonials have always been an important source of advertising for home service providers, and most professionals in this field cite referrals and word-of-mouth as major sources of new leads. In the digital era, testimonials haven’t disappeared—they’ve moved online, in the form of online reviews. If you’ve ever looked up a new restaurant on Google, you know how influential reviews can be in deciding whether to eat there and just how catastrophic for business a negative review can be. If you get a negative review of your service online, how can you recover?

Determine Authenticity

The first step is determining the authenticity of the review. There are people out there who will post false, negative reviews, and most places where users can leave reviews, Google, Facebook, Yelp, etc., have means for reporting and removing reviews that are not legitimate. If you can’t get the reviews removed—which is often the case, as it is difficult to impossible to prove, with anonymous usernames and all that, if the reviewers were actually clients or had any experience with your company at all—there are other ways to respond.

Respond Professionally

One way is by posting on your social media about the fake reviews; it’s an experience that others can relate to and can ever be a source of humor, especially if the spammers have awful fake names. Another is by responding to the negative review—in a comment on that review, if possible—politely asking for the reviewer to contact you to clarify and rectify their experience. If the review is fake, the person will never get in touch, but other people reading the reviews will see that you take customer service complaints seriously and will follow up with them.

If the review is real, the first step is seeking to rectify the situation. Respond to the review publicly, as described in the last paragraph, and get in touch with the client directly to ask them how you can make good on the situation. In some cases, if you fix the problem, offer a discount on future services, or offer an apology for the error or poor customer service that compelled them to write the review, the client may choose to delete or amend the review.

What If There’s Nothing I Can Do?

If there’s nothing you can or will do to satisfy this negative reviewer for whatever reason, whether because they can’t be satisfied or the issue was monumental, you’re not doomed to sit in one-star purgatory forever. The thing about reviews is that the more you have, the less each individual one counts in the average, just like with grades in school. If you get a C on the test and it’s the only grade in the class, you’ve got a C in the class; but if you got a C on the test but all your other grades were As, you might make out with an A or B in the class. Same applies to reviews. So, solicit positive reviews from other clients, ones you know are satisfied with your service. There are a few ways you can do this, which we discuss in our post, Get your Home Services Clients to Write Online Reviews.

Bad reviews suck, and they can have a negative effect on potential customers, especially now that so many people are researching home service pros online, but they aren’t the end-all, be-all. If you get a negative review, determine its authenticity and respond accordingly by addressing the review itself and bolstering your rating with good reviews.

Online reviews are just one part of a strong online presence and digital strategy for home service providers. If you’re ready to improve your digital presence and marketing efforts, it’s time to talk with HA Digital Marketing.

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