Don’t be fooled. Nobody likes criticism, especially when it is not constructive. Often in the plumbing business, dissatisfied customers will leave seething reviews on websites like Yelp, Google My Business, Better Business Bureau, and others. It’s not that criticism is never warranted but at times simple misunderstandings can lead to exaggerations on the part of the distressed customer, and harm the overall reputation of your plumbing company. Some Common Reasons for Dissatisfaction include:
- Billing Miscommunication: Money disputes are a common occurrence in any business
- Performance Dissatisfaction: The customer found the service sub-par in some way
- Scheduling Conflicts: The plumber arrived within an agreed upon 3 hour window but it still perturbed the consumer
Sometimes the plumbing contractor simply did a poor job and deserves to be criticized. Other times, the issue is more about communication, and interpretation than action. For example, if your billing agreement stated one thing, and the customer misinterpreted it, they might blame you for something you had no control over. It is important to note that many times customers will contact you directly before taking their complaint online. It is best to resolve this dispute immediately so that the negative review is never published.
Responding to Negative Reviews
If you can’t resolve a customer dispute over the phone or in person, there is a high likelihood of that person leaving a negative review of your company. This matters quite a bit. According to a Harvard Business School study, every one star increase in Yelp rating = a 5-9% revenue increase. As you can imagine, losses of star ratings have the opposite impact. So when the negative review is left, how do you respond? Follow the advice below:
- 1) Keep it Professional: Use professional language that would be expected in a business setting
- 2) Attempt to Resolve: Inquire about the contact information of the customer to resolve the dispute via telephone or other communication
- 3) Explain Yourself: Don’t make excuses for poor performance, but explain what happened from your perspective in a respectful manner
- 4) Offer a Discount: In some cases, offering a discount or refund may be the best long-term strategy
Another aspect that is important to remember is that one or two negative reviews will not destroy your reputation. This is especially true when you have built up a collection of positive reviews. It’s for this reason that reputation management is so critical for plumbing companies. You must generate reviews from your satisfied customers because it will affect your bottom line. For plumbing company reputation management services, give Plumbing Webmasters a call at 877.388.9884.