As an exterior remodeling contractor, your focus on customer service goes a long way to support your overall reputation. When customers are happy, it leads to repeat sales and referrals that help your company grow. But, despite your best efforts to offer top-notch customer service, you will inevitably encounter customers who are not satisfied.

A long list of positive reviews can quickly sour by negative feedback from a dissatisfied customer. Since online reviews are a critical factor when homeowners choose a contractor, you must be putting your best foot forward. The good reviews make your company shine – while the bad reviews could be scaring away potential leads.

Recent survey results show that 82% of customers read online reviews before choosing a local business. Not only are these prospective customers looking to see what other people are saying, but they are also reading businesses’ responses to these reviews. As a business owner, your response (or lack thereof) could be the deciding factor in whether a customer chooses to engage in your services.

What can you do about bad reviews? If you want to protect your reputation, then you must be proactive about how you are responding. Follow these tips to actively respond to any reviews regarding your home improvement projects.

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Monitor All Online Reviews

You can’t respond to reviews that you haven’t seen. The first step to maintaining your reputation is to monitor all comments and reviews about your company. Customers use various review platforms, which means that you could be missing reviews if you aren’t proactive in checking these websites.

Common review platforms include:

  •   Better Business Bureau
  •   Google Local Listings
  •   Facebook
  •   Trustpilot
  •   Yelp

Not only do you need to check these sites regularly to see what your customers are saying, but there is an increasing issue with fake reviews. For example, a window contractor found negative Yelp reviews about his company from people who never purchased windows from the company.

Keep in mind that it is time-consuming and nearly impossible to remove negative reviews. Instead of reaching out to the review platform to ask for removal, it’s often better to focus on a positive, public response to the review.

Timeline for Responding to Reviews

It’s best to respond to reviews as quickly as possible. A timely reply shows that your company is engaged and proactive in caring for customers’ needs. If necessary, take time to step away from the computer to let your emotions cool before hitting the “submit” button. While it’s essential to respond quickly and directly, you also need to be careful to avoid an emotional response that could taint your reputation.

Set a schedule for reading and responding to reviews. This task can easily fall to the back burner if you don’t have a set schedule in place. For example, choose 2 or 3 days per week when you will work on review responses. If you are too busy working on projects, consider assigning this task to an office staff member.

Be Polite and Professional

The most important thing you can do is to maintain professionalism at all times. It’s easy to take it personally when you read a negative review about your company, especially when you feel like the customer is wrong or unreasonable. But responding in anger or haste will often cause the situation to worsen.

Be professional in your response by thanking the reviewer for bringing the issue to your attention. Then, apologize for the situation and offer a way to correct the problem. Avoid being hostile or defensive. A sincere, thoughtful response will be more effective in correcting the situation.

Example: How to Respond to a Negative Review

Consider this example if you need to respond to a negative review:

  •   Review: This is the worst experience I’ve had with a home contractor. My new siding feels cheap, and the installation crew delayed the project completion timeline. Find another company if you are looking for exterior renovation services!
  •   Response: [Reviewer name], thanks for reaching out to us with your feedback. We’re sorry that this experience didn’t match your expectations – this feedback will help us ensure that it doesn’t happen again. Our company works hard to deliver top-notch services to every customer, and we’re committed to your satisfaction. We’d love to make things right and will reach out in private to talk about the next steps to resolve your concerns.

The formula for designing is a great response is to follow this pattern:

  •   Address the review directly, using a name when possible
  •   Thank the person for sharing their response
  •   Offer sympathy for the situation
  •   Apologize and take responsibility if needed
  •   Always make things right

Negative reviews aren’t great, but negative reviews paired with an equally negative response – or no response at all – are worse. The best approach you can take is to address the concern and look for ways to remedy each situation.

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