You will inevitably do or be accused of doing a bad general contract job in a Yelp review. It is a fact of life and how you address the contractor review is important to the health of your business. Putting your ego aside is important for the health of your business too. Sometimes the attack in the Yelp review feels like it is directed at you as a general contractor and it might be. The most important thing to know is you cannot control the Yelp reviewer, you can only control your reaction to the review on Yelp.
The following is how to address a bad contractor review that blames you or your home improvement business for a bad job.
Step 1: Take a deep breath
Being calm and collected is most of the battle. You must wait until you are calm and collected to respond. You can even have someone who is dispassionate about what happened write the public response. Re-reading your bad review many times can calm you down because it will desensitize you to the review. Your mindset when you go to write the reply has to be, “I’d like to respond in a calm cool manner.” And if it isn’t at that point yet, wait!
Step 2: Should you address the contractor review?
Don’t be shy, address the review, but if you think you can’t do it nicely, don’t respond. Reviews can be copied over and over again if the reviewer feels you didn’t take what they said seriously or if you did not accept any responsibility, even if it was not your fault. Some people can dish it, but they can’t take it.
If you can respond, do. If you let the review stand as is, it’s as if you condone the review. Know this, you aren’t just addressing the reviewer. You are also addressing everyone else who has seen this review and will see it in the future. Imagine two people. One is screaming at the other and saying everything is their fault. The other person is listening and then responds calmly. Even, if you don’t know who to believe, who do you respect more and want to do business with? If you write well, and respond well, even if the review is horrific, you can win clients with your response.
Step 3: How to address the bad contractor review
A. Always thank them for the review no matter what they say. This part is on autopilot.
“Thank you for your feedback. We appreciate your review and are always striving to improve ourselves.”
Anyone who reads this sentence will interpret you as the following: You are a professional that understands you are not perfect, that you can accept and address criticism- false or true, that you will be a better general contractor the next time the reader is interested in your home improvement business.
You also did not attack the reviewer. This is important because the reviewer and current and future clients are “on the same side.” If you talk poorly when addressing the unhappy reviewer, then that is how you’ll address the next unhappy reviewer or client.
B. Address the situation and acknowledge your short comings.
You can say, “I’m sorry you are not happy with the work. Looking back on this, we did not communicate well at the beginning. Communication is key to every single job in existence. When you said you wanted “y,” I should have made sure you really understood what you were asking for and by not fleshing out the details, the services rendered was not up to your standards.
C. Did you give a partial refund?
Say, “I provided a partial refund to you and you told me that the quality of the job was great even though you didn’t get exactly what you wanted.”
Always add the positive facts.
D. You had no idea anything was wrong.
Say, “At any point while I was completing the job, you could have let me know that something was wrong, that way it could have been fixed immediately instead of reaching a point where you are unhappy and no longer speaking to me. I asked a number of times what you thought and you told me that you were happy. I cannot address problems if I don’t know what they are. I wished this had ended differently. I enjoyed working with you.
It sounds like you are blaming them, but you are not. It is true, they could have said something and if you did ask consistently point that out to your readers. Readers will understand that the client is not perfect.
D. Did you part on amicable terms?
Say, “We parted on what I felt were amicable terms and the issues we had reinforces my belief that over communication is necessary on every job, every day.”
E. Did you two already talk about this face to face?
Say, “We addressed this face to face; however, I’m glad you brought it up on this forum so I can address it again.”
If you already talked about this face to face, say that first.
At the end of the day, your response has to make you proud, I addressed the review calmly and well. I did not name call. I did not win. I provided a useful answer and response. I took responsibility. The response will help the reviewer and other people who read this review.
If at any point your reply feels like you just pushed a bully down on in a schoolyard fight, you’ll need to rewrite the reply.
Addressing a bad contractor review like a professional helps you by showing future clients who you really are. It also shows that you are willing to grow to be a better general contractor and that means you might just be perfect for their home improvement project after all.