Some service businesses are more plugged into their online reputation than others. Have you ever wondered how much of a difference the bad reviews make?
If you have a business — in any industry — it’s important to maintain an online reputation. If you have a service business, like a plumbing company or an HVAC contractor, it may be even more important. This is because, unlike many brands, you’re not just selling a product. You’re selling an experience, one that depends greatly on the trust you build with prospective customers.
With this in mind, if you’re smart, you’re keeping an eye on your online reviews, on platforms like your Google Business Profile and your Yelp page. And like many business owners, you may be wondering: do negative reviews hurt your reputation?
The Impact of Negative Reviews
Consider this: 85% of consumers trust reviews at least as much as they trust recommendations from friends, family members, and colleagues. Service businesses often depend on referrals, so if online reviews are considered as important as a personal recommendation, it’s a big deal.
Naturally, this means anything bad that a person sees will make them think twice about using your business over any of your local competitors. But the issue is less black and white than simply bad reviews = less business. Here’s why:
It Comes Down to How You Handle Your Negative Reviews
Every business has negative reviews, so you shouldn’t feel that if your plumbing or HVAC business does, customers will decide not to consider you in their decision. In fact, they’ll likely base their decision on whether or not to business with your brand on how handle the negative reviews you do have.
Experts say that if you respond to negative reviews on Google or Yelp within 1-2 days in a way that shows you’re invested in finding a resolution to the reviewers issues, it can actually have a positive effect on your reputation. It shows that you stay on top of your customer service and are motivated to make every customer’s experience a good one.
Your Goal Should Not Be to Not Have ANY Bad Reviews
Responding in a constructive way to negative reviews reflects positively on your business, but you should be doing everything possible to limit negative customer interactions. It’s true that your overall reputation can correlate directly to the number of prospective customers who choose to hire your company vs. those who opt for your competitors.
But, while it’s important to do your best to limit negative reviews, don’t take this to mean that you can eliminate them completely. Here are two reasons why:
1. Negative Reviews Allow You to Showcase Your Customer Service
As previously mentioned, when you’re responding to negative reviews, it allows you to show prospective customers the type of service you’ll provide if they decide to work with you.
2. Customers Don’t Trust “Perfection”
Many businesses try to get as close to 5 stars as possible for their overall online review score, but one prominent study says that this may not be the best choice. Researchers at Northwestern University found that customers are most likely to purchase from a brand if it has between a 4.2 and 4.5 star average.
So, Do Bad Reviews Impact Your Business?
The answer is a firm yes. Bad reviews give reasons to your customers why they should think twice about hiring you for plumbing services, HVAC repair, or other home service. But if you handle them promptly and constructively, you don’t have to panic about bad reviews if the majority of the feedback you receive is positive.