Toolboxplaybook-back-btn Playbookplaybook-back-btn Chapter 7

CHAPTER 7

Marketing Practices

A broad-based marketing strategy that stretches from Google to direct mail brings new customers in the door and maintains relationships with existing clients. Being able to automate and track that marketing drives the highest return on your marketing investment.

SECTION 4 OF 14

How to Respond to a Poor Review

A poor review demands a prompt response, but whatever you do, don’t be defensive. 

We have found that a response that asks to make things right is typically best.  Also, as with dealing with any angry customer, try to show empathy first and then try to resolve the situation. Here are some of the situations that we have seen contractors respond to — responding well ... and not so well.  

Situation No. 1: The review doesn’t appear to have been written by a customer. 

This needs to be handled delicately so you don’t sound defensive.

What NOT to say: “You are not our customer and have never done business with us, EVER.  You are probably a competitor just trying to make us look bad.”

Instead, respond this way: “{Insert customer name}, I sincerely apologize for any inconvenience we might have caused and would love to have the chance to speak with you. Unfortunately, I am unable to locate you in our system. Please feel free to reach out to me, {insert CSR name}, at your convenience so we can have the opportunity to make this better, by calling (555) 555-5555. We look forward to speaking with you and appreciate you allowing us to address your concern.”

Remember, the client is the hero, whether they are your client or not. The value here is in others’ perception. Win them with kindness and empathy.

Situation No. 2: The customer is angry about pricing.  

This one is tough. You don’t want to be the cheapest company in town, but you also don’t want to come off as arrogant.  Avoiding the price discussion or trying to belittle cheaper contractors is ineffective. Using the bad review as an opportunity to build your brand around the value you provide is the best path.

What NOT to say: “Sir, of course you could find someone cheaper! There are plenty of contractors out there that cheat the system and throw out lowball prices.  We don’t need your business anyway.”

Instead, respond this way: “Hello Mr. Jones, This sounds terrible.  We would really like to make it right. We are definitely not the cheapest company in town, but our work comes with a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee.  I cannot find your number in our system but if you call in, we can go over the charges and make sure that you are taken care of.  Our number is (555) 555-5555.” 

Or, if the complaint comes after the work is completed:  “Hello Mr. Jones, I am really sorry to hear we made you feel like you were taken advantage of.  We definitely do not want anyone to feel that way.  We give all of our technicians a pricebook that they should not deviate from, so that everyone gets treated fairly.  I have found your phone number here and will reach out immediately to resolve any issues about the pricing.”

Situation No. 3: You made an honest mistake and the complaint is legitimate.  

The best thing to do is own the mistake and take the opportunity to go above and beyond.  Some contractors have sent gift cards or refunded money—whatever they need to do to make it right.  

In the words of Ken Goodrich from Goettl in Las Vegas: “You need to make sure to price your systems properly so that when things go wrong, and at some point they surely will, you have the ability to make it right.”

Remember to avoid mentioning that you will refund their money in the review, so as not to make it look as though you are offering to pay them to remove the review.  You could be blackballed from many review sites as a result, and the rest of your reviews look less credible.

What not to say: “Mrs. Jones, the technician, Jimmy, didn’t scrape up your garage door.  It was probably like that for years. GET REAL. We aren’t paying for it so you can forget it.

Instead, respond this way: “Hello Mrs. Jones, I really appreciate you bringing this to my attention.  I was recently informed by my staff about what happened.  I can only imagine what you thought when you came in and saw your garage door like that.  I can assure you that this is not indicative of the work that XYZ Plumbing normally performs.  It was an accident and we will make sure to make this right.”

Go to Section 5: How to Generate More Positive Reviews