Customer reviews are a very important tool in researching a company. With the internet being so accessible reviews are a large influencer with consumers when deciding on making a purchase. Unfortunately, not all reviews are favorable. The question then becomes, is it accurate? Is it the whole story? What can be done by the business owner to address a negative review?
Not all negative reviews will negatively affect your business. From a consumer prospective, it is good to get both good and bad experiences and weigh them when making a decision on which business to use. A consumer is looking at to see how a business operates and what their previous clients have to say about them. Most people can read into a review and know the intent behind what was meant. Having what can be deemed as a negative review is not always a bad thing. If a business only has good glowing reviews, consumers start to think that they may be less than accurate. They may think that the reviews are not from clients, but from friends and family just trying to make a business look good. You want to be real with the pool of potential clients.
Having an array of reviews helps to let consumers see the whole of a business and decide if is something they want to do business with. However, some negative reviews can have a significant impact on the business. How can a business owner overcome these? We need to help educate consumers. Consumers face legal responsibility for what they write in online reviews, and businesses that engage in unethical review practices can be exposed and brought to justice.
For a builder, there are many ways that consumers can validate information that is posted in an online review and we encourage our potential clients to do their research. As a rule of thumb, builders use many subcontractors throughout the building process. There are many long-standing relationships and assumptions that are made. When you first begin working with a subcontractor there is a lengthy process to validate licenses and insurance, etc to ensure you are partnering with only the best. As time goes, you assume the people you are partnering with keep up with the rules and regulations of their field. However, sometimes they don’t renew a license or an insurance policy lapses. There are many things that can happen, if you have a long-standing working relationship with a business, you don’t always go back and validate that they keep up with their renewals, etc. One thing that we have learned is to keep up with those things for all subcontractors. Just because everything was in order 6 months ago, doesn’t mean it is now.
Online reviews have brought many things to light for many businesses. Some of the things it has taught builders is to verify and validate everyone we work with. Just because a license was good the last time we worked with the contractors, doesn’t guarantee it is now. Builders have put in many new practices to protect themselves and their consumers. Ultimately it is the consumer they are responsible to. Ensuring that everyone they partner with is licensed and following the rules of their trade is critical in protecting the consumer.
This is why we encourage consumers to do their homework, visit sites such as www.nahb.org and www.contractors-license.org. These sites help consumers verify what steps to take in researching and validating builders and contractors. Contact the home builders’ association and ask them about the builders you are looking at hiring. Don’t forget to ask questions. There are many things you need to know and want to know when making the important decision of hiring a builder. Can they supply proper documentation and references to back up why you should hire them?
Negative reviews can hurt any business. The biggest thing a business owner can do is act in a professional, ethical manner. Some reviews can be fought, if they are false. If there is truth to a negative review, all you can do is change your practices to ensure you are running a professional business and overcome any mistakes in your business practices. Never argue with an online review. If you choose to respond, then make sure it is an invitation to call you to work to a resolution and not much more. You can’t win in an online argument. You can only do your best to rectify a situation and run a professional and ethical business.