Posted on in Business Marketing

Online reviews are a reality of the modern business climate. You can’t prevent customers from posting the occasional bad review about your home improvement business, but your responses to these reviews can help determine whether your company can withstand bad press. With dedication to customer service and the right attitude, you can turn a negative review into a positive event for your company.

Keep a cool head

Immediately replying to a negative review while you’re frustrated and upset is a good way to ensure a defensive and potentially rude response. Allow some time to pass before you begin working on a reply. Once you’re ready to read the review objectively, you can start on your first draft. Be sure to keep your reply constructive, polite and short. After writing out a final draft, let your response sit for a brief time before you post it for public consumption. If you can, have someone else, like a family member or business associate, read it and give you their thoughts.

Research the complaint

If possible, try to gather more information about the customer’s experience with your business before you respond. If the review mentions specific names or events, you may be able to figure out the identity of the reviewer. Gathering information will help you specifically address the experience the reviewer mentions instead of offering a general apology. This is an important step to take if the complaint is directed towards one of your employees. You can start a dialogue with your employee to address any necessary changes in customer service. Don’t be accusatory — let them know you just want to hear what happened. Read more on contractor review sites and how they can help or hurt your business.

Address legitimate complaints

Not every online review is worthy of a response. Some customers just aren’t happy unless they’re miserable, and nothing you do will change their attitude. Fortunately, most potential customers will probably ignore a wordy rant that doesn’t contains any valid criticisms about your business. If a review does contain legitimate concerns, however, focus your reply on those complaints. For example, if the client wasn’t satisfied with the quality of your post-work clean-up practices, explain how you will address those problems in the future.

Don’t ask to remove the review

No matter how much you disagree with a negative review about your business, do not ask to have it removed. Review removals reflect poorly on your company, giving people the impression that they can’t have an opinion about your business. If an upset reviewer discovers that you had her review removed, she may simply write another negative review. You should only seek to have reviews removed if they have incorrect information or break the terms of the review site.

Respond privately

If you receive a negative review through a website, you may have the opportunity to contact the reviewer directly. Be polite and brief if you decide to start a conversation with your unhappy client. Give them a chance to give more details about what went wrong during their experience with your business. You can also give them a personal invitation to try your business again with a discount on your services — offer to “make it right.” After discussing the issue privately, you should also leave a public reply on the original complaint.

Negative reviews are a fact of business, but they don’t have to be a major hurdle to your company’s success. Responding calmly and politely to your customers’ complaints can help maintain your company’s good reputation.