It’s no longer difficult to research about a business nowadays. With the development of social media and other advertising technologies, as well as so many different review platforms, nearly every aspect of a business, including the process of getting feedback and referrals from the customers, has transformed. Whether you have an online presence or just maintain a typical brick and mortar location when a customer review is posted to a website or app, it can easily be seen by hundreds (if not thousands) of potential customers, thus, increasing its impact exponentially.
Customer reviews are not actually a new aspect of any business. We’ve been giving our feedback even before! However, due to technology and access to the internet where researching has become very easy for all of us and it has become very easy to share our feedback, too, to the world, customer reviews have become increasingly important – especially the bad ones. While it’s tough to hear them for any business owners, they can be particularly damning for contractors, such as home improvement contractors, because client referrals are such an integral part in this type of business.
But, what really causes a bad online review? How can negative reviews affect your home improvement business? How can you deal with them? Let us help you understand negative online reviews and how it can affect your contracting company.
1. What drives customers to leave a bad review?
Before you can determine how negative feedback can affect your business, you first have to understand what causes the customers to leave bad business reviews in the first place. Was it the price? Was it the finished product? Yes, it could be. But, the following are the major three:
Scheduling problems. Some customers anticipate and understand that there could be some delays during, for example, home renovation – but some don’t. Lots of negative reviews are about scheduling issues where the contractor failed to communicate or follow up changes in schedule, which causes customers to feel upset.
Bad customer service. Your business’ customer service level could be the top driver of whether or not your current customers will keep doing business with you, or whether or not you could attract potential customers. And because your business is heavily tied up to a good reputation, bad customer service could easily lead to a loss of revenue.
Poor communication. Another sure way to get negative feedback is poor communication. A project will definitely not be successful if things are not clear and there’s confusion between you and the customer.
According to a recent survey, it takes an average of 10 reviews before a customer trust a business, and 57% of customers say 4 or more stars rating will drive them to use the business. Meaning, customers will make a decision based more likely on what others say about you, not what your business promise to deliver. That means, having a bad online review from a grumpy customer can cost you dollars, too, in potential business.
2. Highlight your weakness
Now that you understand possible root causes of negative online reviews, you’ll be able to determine how it will impact your business – one of which is, it highlights your weakness.
As humans, we don’t like to be told that we’re not good at what we do, or that the end result is not good enough. It hurts our feelings, right? In the contractor business world, it’s more than just a feeling of getting negative online reviews, it showcases the business’ weakness and undermines the talent and hard work you and your crew have done.
Every bad review has a silver lining, though. Yes, it’s true that it reveals your weaknesses, but at least you become aware of what you lack, therefore, you begin to work on them and eventually turn them into strengths.
One good example is a review criticizing your customer service skills. Instead of being defensive, you can have an open mind and acknowledge the criticism then improve your business-client relationships. You can always go online and look for tutorials and other available resources that can help you in developing your customer service skills. It only takes some business analysis and effort for you to turn the negative review into a good one.
3. Give your business a bad reputation
Would a single 1-star review hurt your business? Will it affect the business’ potential to attract new clients? The short answer is, yes, because negative business reviews can spread like wildfire.
From the same survey as above, it says 86% of customers read reviews, and 91% of those customers trust the reviews, so even just a single bad review from a dissatisfied customer can affect the reputation of your business. Now, if you decided to ignore the negative review and pretend that it never happened, customers will see it and it could easily drive them to rethink their decision of doing business with you.
Again, looking at the bright side, bad online reviews can actually still be good for your business. By being open, accepting, and honest when you address these types of reviews, you will be seen as a trustworthy and committed contractor. And, if you respond publically with a sincere apology and make your customers feel that you’re willing to go out of your way and do necessary steps just to resolve the issue, potential customers will be able to see that, thus, you’re building trust. Remember that customers would want to work with businesses that appear personal and human, so showing your vulnerable side won’t hurt the business; instead, you’re making it grow.
4. Warn other customers of your business
Other negative online reviews that can greatly affect your business are those that warn other potential customers away from your service. These types of reviews are amongst the toughest to deal with. But being a professional, no matter how tough the situation is, you should still strive to find the positive side of it.
You first have to know the fact that no matter how hard you try to be clear, some customers will not exactly understand everything about your business until they have experienced it firsthand. So, some customers may have unrealistic expectations, which are mostly met with disappointment. These customers will then quickly react badly and will give you bad reviews because they thought that they’re not getting the service they paid for. This might sound bad for your business, but it’s really not because these types of reviews serve as a “cautionary review”, which will give your potential customers a more realistic view of your services. Plus, every time this happens, you get better equipped in answering customers’ questions ahead of time.
5. What can you do to manage your online review management?
It can be tricky for business owners to put their contracting business online and out into the world as you don’t have any control over what your customers may say about you. However, while you can’t control your customers, you still can manage your online reviews and prevent them from giving you negative feedback. Here at CoverWallet, we’ve created a list of various tips you can follow to be able to properly manage your online reviews – both negative and positive reviews. You can read the full article here: https://www.coverwallet.com/business-tips/online-review-management