Q: My painting company has a good reputation, but I just received a negative online review. What should I do?
Angie’s List has helped millions of consumers shopping for contracting services since its founding in 1995. It has also influenced thousands of contractors to understand the power of online reviews and to use them to boost business. Here, Angie’s List cofounder Angie Hicks takes the time to answer one common question she hears from painting pros.
A: Sometimes it’s best to start with what NOT to do. First and foremost, do not ignore the review—and do not get defensive. Defensiveness can lead to an online battle that can be extremely detrimental to your business. Instead, acknowledge the issue. Contact the customer, if possible, and attempt to resolve the matter. Chances are, if you can resolve the problem, the customer may remove the review or at least state that you were responsive to their concerns.
AFTER ADDRESSING THE REVIEW, IT’S A GOOD TIME TO DO A LITTLE ONLINE REVIEW HOUSEKEEPING.
Ask yourself, when was the last time you received a review? It’s critical to have current ones. According to a 2016 BrightLocal Local Consumer Review Survey, 73% of respondents said they considered reviews older than three months not relevant.
If your reviews are old, remember to ask for new ones from current customers. The BrightLocal Survey also found that seven out of 10 people will leave a review, if asked. It’s important for painting professionals to view those moments after the job is done, when a customer voices their satisfaction, as a perfect opportunity to ask for a review.
NOW, LET’S LOOK AT HOW TO KEEP BAD REVIEWS FROM COMING BACK TO BITE YOU AGAIN.
Here are four tips from Angie’s List’s team of experts to help minimize your chances for another bad review.
1 Regardless of whether a customer leaves a review or not, follow up after the job is done. A week can pass and an issue may arise for someone who seemed like a happy customer when you finished the job.
That person may not think to reach out to you and may simply form a negative opinion of your company over a matter that could easily be corrected. Yes, a crew member may need to do some touch-up work, but the extra time and consideration is well worth it, as you’ve now taken steps to building a relationship, which is far more important than a single profitable business transaction.
2 Act on feedback quickly, especially if you hear similar complaints from different customers. Is a crew member handling certain customer service situations incorrectly? Do you have billing glitches? Are customers asking for certain services you don’t have in place at the moment? This feedback can make your company better.
3 Use social media to build your brand. Those who follow you are usually happy customers and they become your company evangelists. This type of public relations help can go a long way if you are dealing with someone whose negative review may be unwarranted.
4 Let customers know up front how best to reach you. Is it a call? A text? Cell phone? Office phone? How quickly should the customer expect a response? If you initiate the conversation and offer the best means to reach you before the job starts, in the customer’s eyes, you look like someone who is committed to making sure they’re happy.
Visit Angie’s List to learn more about how reviews can improve your business. To read other articles on how to better run your painting business, visit inPAINTmag.com
NOTE: All percentages and statistics in this article, even those not specifically attributed to, come from the 2016 BrightLocal Local Consumer Review Survey.