Five Tips for Diffusing Angry Customers & Winning Back Good Will
As soon as a business starts soliciting feedback from customers on websites like Yelp, Google, and Facebook, it needs to prepare for the inevitable: bad reviews. Bad reviews are frustrating for businesses and business owners. Companies often put an immeasurable amount of effort into establishing good customer service practices. Still, bad reviews can occur unexpectedly. Unfairly. And, worst of all, they're public.
The reality is that online reviews are important to shoppers who are researching local businesses online. Bright Local found that 88 percent of consumers rely on online reviews when trying to determine the quality of a local business.
That said, bad reviews are also an opportunity to win back a disgruntled customer and present your company as an empathetic party interested in making things right. Below, let’s take a look at five tips on how to respond to negative yelp reviews for your home service business.
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First Things First—Stay Calm
Negative reviews are bad, but they're not the end of the world. Every company, from Coca-Cola to small "mom and pop" shops in your community face negative feedback from customers. In fact, roughly one-third of customers who feel as if they were inadequately treated by a company will go online to write a review. They happen to everyone.
You may feel compelled to respond to the customer in a way that angrily rebukes them. Don't do this. Remember that this reviewer is a human being, a member of your community and that this correspondence is public to other internet users who may be interested in your company (more on that point later). Instead, take time to emotionally divorce yourself from the review and take the additional steps needed to write a magnanimous response.
Read the Review Carefully
Once you feel you can be objective, it's time to carefully read the review. It's easy to feel dismissive of criticism and skim the content of the review. Try not to do this. As a manager, you want to take an investigative stance when resolving bad reviews.
Read these reviews carefully to find out:
The date of the service
The name of the tech dispatched that day
The type of service rendered
Any other job history notes that could be relevant You may also want to research the reviewer themselves. Is their Yelp or Facebook account full of negative reviews of other companies? A glimpse into the reviewer's online activity can give you greater context into their experience with your company—and what your response should be.
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Find Out What Happened
Once you feel like you have a solid grasp on the customer's side of the story, it's time to find out your team's. In many cases, this means interviewing any CSRs or techs involved in the complaint. Remember to remind them that you're just trying to find out what happened and that no one is necessarily in trouble.
If your company is using a comprehensive software solution, then there are various other ways to confirm or dispute the customer's account, such as reviewing:
Detailed customer profiles
CSR phone recordings
Any completed forms, generated estimates, capture signatures, or completed payments from that job
Write Your Response
Once you have all of the information you believe you need to respond, it's time to write back in a timely manner. More than half (52 percent) of online reviewers believe their bad review should be responded to in seven days.
Your response should contain an apology of some kind. If after reviewing the job in question, you find that your company is NOT at fault, something like "we're sorry you feel this way" or "customer service is important to us and we're sorry this was your experience," is appropriate (along with an explanation of your policies and any other relevant best practices).
If you found that your company did drop the ball, then it's recommended that apologize for what went wrong and describe what your company is doing to make sure it doesn't happen again. You can then offer to contact the reviewer personally and make arrangements to rectify any mistakes.
Remember That the Reviewer Isn't the Only Audience
Throughout this whole process, a critical point to remember is that in your response to a bad review, you're not just looking to resolve a complaint from the reviewer, you want to show to other users who may be looking into your company that your business is empathetic and responsive to customer needs. No one expects every company to be perfect, but what potential customers do want to see is that when things don't go perfect, a company is ready to step up in a professional manner, admit fault when necessary, and make things as right as it can.
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