The internet has proved to be a powerful tool for business, increasing our reach, stretching our advertising dollars, and with the growing influence of online reviews, adding to the word of mouth buzz that brings in new customers.
That might not be how you feel when you catch a few negative reviews, though. They seem to come from left field, creating havoc with your hard-won reputation as a dedicated and expert field service provider.
One disgruntled customer venting online can seem to have an outsized impact on your business, especially when you’re used to being able to resolve issues in person. But you’re not powerless when it comes to a negative online review, either.
Online Reviews By the Numbers
The numbers show that consumers have integrated online reviews into their habits when they’re in search of services. According to the Local Consumer Review Survey of 2017, conducted by Bright Local, 97% of consumers look online for local businesses. For the most part, the consumer behavior is consistent across industries, including field service customers.
Consumers rely on online reviews to help them make their decisions, with 85% trusting them as much as personal recommendations. Four-star ratings are required by 40% of consumers before they’ll call a business.
For 68% of consumers, positive reviews made them more likely to use a business, but only 40% said a negative review would keep them away from the business. That’s down from previous surveys and could mark a trend that negative reviews are decreasing in influence over consumer decisions.
Why Did They Say That?
While it’s good news that consumers may be more skeptical about negative reviews, why would they write one? A recent study by Corra, “Roasted Reputations: How and Why Consumers Leave Negative Reviews”, sheds some light on the question.
About 52% of unhappy consumers complain about a service issue, while 31.4% complain about a product. The majority of them, at 73 %, post online to save other consumers from having a bad experience. More than one-third of the consumers surveyed — 38.9%– want an apology, while 48% want some form of reimbursement. A small percentage of 13.5% simply want revenge.
There’s encouraging news, too — 89.7% of consumers will give a business two chances before they give up.
Want more reviews? Read our 9 Tips for Getting More Online Reviews for Your Service Business
Handling Negative Online Reviews
A reputation management strategy for negative reviews yields positive results, just as your personal efforts will when you’re dealing with customers in person.
Respond to each negative review, maintaining a professional and courteous manner. Keep in mind that other people are reading the interaction and forming an impression of your attitude towards customers. Answering reviews promptly and politely demonstrates that you care about your relationship with them.
Start with an apology that acknowledges the customer’s perspective, even when you don’t agree; you can follow up by noting that the experience isn’t typical for your business. Thank them for the comment and ask what you can do to remedy the situation. Take the conversation offline if you can, by asking if you can contact them privately, or giving them your contact information. Be responsive to constructive criticism and make changes to company practice when warranted.
Final Thoughts: Accentuate the Positive
Treat any form of follow-up with your field service customers, whether it’s a client satisfaction survey, a phone call, or an online review, as an opportunity to improve your service. Take a proactive approach to your online presence, in particular, by asking customers to leave reviews for your business — Bright Local found that 68% of consumers who are asked will leave reviews.
Focus on happy customers and long-time, “legacy” customers, to boost the positive side of the spectrum. Make it simple to submit a review by linking directly to review sites in your online correspondence and website.
Pro tip for mHelpDesk Users
Use our Automated Customer Email and Text Messages to request reviews from your customer as soon as a job is completed. In mHelpDesk, go to Settings > Other > Notifications to get started.
Not a mHelpDesk user? Schedule a quick, live demo or learn more about our automated notifications >>
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Last modified: November 30, 2018