Written by Zach Hansen
The growth of the internet has been extremely beneficial to contractors. However, learning how to manage your online reputation remains a challenging part of conducting a successful contracting business. Part of working as a contractor does, unfortunately, involve the occasional instances of negative online reviews. No matter how professional you are, or how hard you try to please all your clients, at some point, it’s almost guaranteed that someone will be unsatisfied with some aspect of your service. However, a contractor’s reputation often depends heavily on the reviews that their clients leave them, so avoiding reviews all together isn’t a great idea.
Creating A Space For Reviews
Firstly, you must create a space where clients can easily leave reviews. It may seem like having no reviews is the best way to avoid negative ones, but that’s not the ideal plan of action. Often, potential clients rely on reviews to determine whether or not they wish to hire someone, and if they are unable to find any reviews at all, it won’t bear well for your business.
If you’re conducting your business professionally, your positive reviews will most likely far outweigh any negative ones. Having a place for clients to leave reviews is one of the most beneficial forms of marketing as a contractor. It’s the modern-day equivalent to word of mouth marketing.
There are several ways you can create a place for clients to leave reviews. Social media is fast becoming one of the most popular options for contractors. Having a dedicated social media page for your business is a great way to open yourself up to client reviews that are easy to leave and also easy for you to monitor. Since social media is very much within your control as a contractor, it’s easy to monitor reviews and set any issues right using a social media platform. What’s more, social media is one of the most utilized methods for potential clients to find a contractor.
If social media isn’t your thing, having a company website with a dedicated page for reviews is also an option. This allows all your business information and reviews to be easily located on a single webpage. You can also personally ask for feedback from clients that you know are satisfied with your work, and then feature them directly on your website. This is a fantastic way to ensure you have a wealth of positive reviews for future customers to peruse.
There is also review websites such as Yelp. These sites aren’t run by you, but you can respond to reviews left about your business on these websites. Yelp is another extremely popular website for clients to find contractors, so don’t skip out on the opportunity.
Of course, asking for positive reviews, no matter what medium you’re using to display them, is the best way to get them! Unfortunately, clients are more likely to leave a review of their own accord if they’re dissatisfied, so if you never ask for a review for a job well done, you might end up with more negative responses than positive ones. However, most clients will be more than happy to leave a good review if asked. In fact, 70% of consumers are willing to leave a business review if they’re asked to. So, don’t be afraid to directly request they leave a positive review.
How to Respond to Negative Reviews
So, what happens when you do receive a negative review? How do you handle it? Responding properly to negative reviews can help you set the record straight with the client, as well as show other potential clients that you’re willing to fix your mistakes. Here are some key tips when it comes to handling negative reviews:
- Always be polite and responsive. A quick response and ensuring you take the high ground is critical when it comes to setting the record straight with a negative review. A timely response shows that you’re on top of things. And no matter how rude or angry a customer might seem, always take the high ground.
- Make it right with the customer. Most of the time, a negative experience can be corrected. You can’t control everything, but mistakes can be righted. Of course, be reasonable in your solution to the problem, but most of the time, fixing the issue isn’t difficult to do.
- Respond to the review publicly. Leaving a response that other clients can see shows that you’re addressing the issue rather than ignoring the problem. Make the time to read through all your reviews, whether on social media, your website, or a public forum. When you spot a negative one, respond and work out a way to come up with a solution.
If you manage to successfully solve the customer’s complaint, you might be able to ask politely for an update on the review. If you do try this, never be overly pushy about it, you might make the situation worse. However, if you feel like you have come up with a solution that satisfied the customer, asking for a review update won’t hurt.
Managing your online reputation is tricky at first, but once you figure out a system, it’s not too difficult to navigate. Reviews are a primary aspect of a contractor’s online presence, and they’re essential to success in our contemporary world. As long as you’re conducting your business with professionalism, integrity, and good customer service, reviews will be your friend and not your enemy.