Reviews are one of the most valuable resources a contractor can have at their disposal, but opening your social media pages to public reviews leads to the possibility of having to deal with the occasional negative feedback. It’s daunting and stressful, but even these can be considered a resource that you can turn around in your favor.
Negative reviews are not fun to read, that much is true. But setting our egos aside, they can be useful to identify problems in our process, mistakes that can be avoided in the future, and how to improve your customer experience – even when the odds are against you.
Probably the first and most important step when you log in to see a negative review waiting for you: don’t panic.
A few negative reviews will not be the end of your hard-earned reputation as long as you react accordingly – which is what I’ll be discussing on the next steps. Your reaction to mistakes is far more important than not making them.
As long as you react with humility, intelligence and professionalism, you and your reputation will be fine!
Where to find reviews?
The most likely places are Facebook and Google.
Facebook’s business pages allow anyone to leave public reviews as well as the Google Business page. It’s very important to manage both of these, not just for reviews, but to ensure you always have good online visibility.
If you find yourself listed in any other third-party website, be sure to either get yourself a way to manage your account or to remove it entirely if you don’t want to be a part of it. More visibility is usually a good thing, but not being able to manage your page is a big problem. Stick to the ones you can control yourself.
Start with a positive attitude
Negative reviews are certainly a hit on the ego, but you can take that opportunity to learn something from it – as much as it hurts. Even if you think you had no fault in the event (which can certainly be the case sometimes), you can still take something away from it.
Remember to look at it with humility and intelligence. This client left a negative review because they were not satisfied with your service, which means that ultimately, you could have done something better.
“But I didn’t do anything wrong! I explained everything and the client misunderstood my goals!”
Well, as much as it might hurt to admit, that is still your fault. The speaker is always the most responsible for making sure they are understood. If your client is complaining because they got the wrong idea, that’s a very important lesson you can learn – how to communicate better. Whether that be your goals, the budget, the deadline, etc.
Besides, don’t take it personally. Clients are dealing with a business and should deal with it as such!
Offer to solve the problem
The most important part of replying to negative reviews is to offer a solution. You should apologize first and then immediately offer a solution – not necessarily in public, but at least give your contact email or phone so that the client can get in touch easily to resolve the problem in private.
The public reply is still important, though. A negative review just sitting there on your professional page doesn’t look good, but that reply with an offer to solve the problem is a necessary compromise. At the very least, people who land on your page while that review is still up will see that you’re attempting to reach an agreement – and that’s way better than nothing.
Basically, just an apology doesn’t cut it. Use actions, not words.
Receiving negative reviews is not the end of the world. I know you’re working hard on your business and it really hurts to read them, but I refer back to the original point: even these can be turned into a benefit.
Take negative reviews as an opportunity to analyse what went wrong and how you can do better next time. There’s always room for improvement and the future of your business will greatly benefit from this attitude right now!
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