How to Deal with Bad Reviews in 7 Steps

How to Deal with Bad Reviews in 7 Steps
Aaron O'Hanlon
Aaron O'Hanlon August 30, 2016

The old adage is when you do a good job and make a client happy, the client rarely spreads the word. However, if you have had the unfortunate opportunity of dealing with an unhappy client, whether justified or not, they will tell their family, friends, coworkers and because of the Internet, your name and/or your company can literally be trashed around the world quickly.

When looking for a contractor or landscaper, the first place most people go is to the Internet. Often they will search for what type of service they are seeking and good ole Google happily delivers up search results matching the searcher's search term. You may have noticed that some of these search results come with a star rating attached to them. That star rating will really influence someone's decision on whether to visit the website or not.

When searching for a local contractor, Google delivers local contractor search results. Usually, Google will deliver a side or top panel with local listings of contractors complete with pertinent information such as phone number, hours, address, map, link to website and yes you guessed it, a review rating.

We here at Footbridge Media encourage our contractors to have their customers leave a Google review after the completion of a job. We even make it easy by creating a "Write Review" link in the footer of their site that will go directly to Google for a review. Once a service provider gets at least 5 reviews, Google may start delivering the star count along with the search results.

Most of us like to find reviews and oftentimes will specifically search out reviews for a product or service provider before making up our minds. This is especially true for contractors. People regularly visit Angie's List, Yelp, Home Adviser etc. to find opinions from others prior to choosing a contractor for their project. Positive reviews are great for getting new clients, but negative reviews can adversely impact your business and lower your position in the search results.

So what to do when you become aware you have an unhappy client that is leaving negative reviews about you and/or your company?

Step 1: Respond

The first thing you don't want to do is ignore the negative review or the person who wrote it. Responding promptly is the start at resolving the issue. Always be polite when responding to a negative review.

Step 2: Don't Air Out the Dirty Laundry Online

When you respond, don't give in to the temptation to air out the matter online. Whether the client gave a bad review because they felt they your company missed something, didn't do something they thought was included or feel your company simply did a poor job, these are things better discussed in person or over the phone. Airing out the dirty laundry online will only make matters worse and give potential future clients a more negative perception of your company than the original negative review did. If the client is simply a difficult person that can never be satisfied, online is not the place to discuss these issues. On the Internet, a small spark can ignite a flaming war quickly, and fanning the flames can only make things worse for you and your company.

Step 3: If Possible Resolve the Issue and Ask for a New Review

Determine the truth of the matter. If you overlooked something on the job, try a rectify the situation. If you were able to resolve the matter and the client is now satisfied with your work, ask them to edit their existing review if possible. If it is not possible for them to edit their existing review, ask them to leave another positive review.

Step 4: Unruly Clients and Unjustified Negative Reviews

Dealing with a negative person happens from time to time. They seem to have a chip on their shoulder and have made it their life's mission to complain about everything. If the client is simply unruly and cannot be reasoned with, ask the review site to take down the negative review. Most review sites have a process for removing negative reviews when they are unjustified.

Step 5: Bury Negative Reviews

If for some reason you have a negative review and no matter your effort the negative review remains, the next step would be to bury that negative review so deep with positive reviews from your satisfied client list, that the negative review will never see the light of day.

Step 6: Focus on the Positive in the Negative

A negative review is not the end of the world and can actually help your business in the long run by allowing you to pay attention to areas that you may not have known were lacking prior to the negative review. This means more happy clients in the future and more positive reviews, which ultimately leads to more new clients.

Step 7: Ask for Reviews

Upon every job completion, you should ask for a review. If you are a Footbridge Media client, simply ask your clients to visit your site and click the "Write Review" link in the footer. We also provide our contractors an online review management system that will help streamline the process of soliciting reviews from clients. Take advantage of it.

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