“Angered by what she thought was shoddy work on her home, Fairfax resident Jane Perez did what has become the go-to form of retail vengeance in the Internet age: She logged on to Yelp and posted scathing reviews of the D.C. firm that did the job.

Perez ticked off a list of accusations, including damage to her home, an invoice for work the contractor did not perform and jewelry that disappeared. She closed one post by fuming, “Bottom line do not put yourself through this nightmare of a contractor.” – Washington Post - http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2012-12-04/local/35625084_1_yelp-online-reviews-defamation

I don’t know if you read the Yelp review that virtually rocked the online review - http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2012-12-04/local/35625084_1_yelp-online-reviews-defamation world last year, but there’s something we can all learn from it. When Ms. Perez took to the internets to write the scathing review about Christopher Dietz’s construction company based out of Fairfax, Virginia, it nearly cost him his livelihood. Had he done a poor job? Maybe. But it doesn’t matter if he did or didn’t – the internet said he did so it was fact (even if it wasn’t).

Online review websites have cropped up within only the last few years. Yelp - http://www.yelp.com/about was founded in 2004. Angie’s List - https://www.google.com/search?q=angies+list+founded&aq=f&oq=angies+list+founded&aqs=chrome.0.57j65l2j5j0l2.2024j0&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8 was founded in 2005. The world of online reviews is here, and it’s here to stay so as a business owner / restoration marketer, there are a few things YOU can do now. You must prepare yourself for that inevitable customer that will take to the internets for online vindication of a drywall installer they thought got dust on their precious antique furniture past down from their great great great aunt twice removed or a plumber who didn’t fix a leak – I guarantee you it’ll happen to you if it hasn’t already. They’ll get their 5 minutes of venting out, but you’ll be paying the price year later unless… you

Stack your Positive Reviews

This sounds bad… some what like stacking the odds, but it’s completely playing by the rules. Stack your reviews simply means go back into your customer archives – send out a newsletter asking past happy clients to write a review about their experience with you. Send them links to your Angie’s List account, Yelp account, and Google Places account. Add a monetary incentive if you have to (no one says no to a $5 Starbucks gift card). Ask your Facebook fans. Tell them exactly why you want a review – because that online reputation means far more than the handwritten letter. Stack your review accounts with positive feedback. This will keep your scores high when someone jumps on Angie’s list to give you an unwarranted “D” rating down the road.

Apologize

Finally, apologize. Most online review sites allow the business owner to write one response to the reviewer. Please don’t be that business owner who uses this area to write up a list of excuses and reasons why the reviewer is wrong / an idiot / partially insane, etc. Nothing is more embarrassing than a company who can’t take criticism and grow from it – even if that person is insane. Your response should include an apology, a thanks to the writer for taking their time to help you better your  customer experience, and a list of changes you implemented after reading their feedback. Let them know their time is appreciated and you as a company are doing everything in your power to keep the customer experience top notch. Believe me – it’ll make that egg on your face look a lot more appealing as well as look good to others researching your company on review sites. “A company that learned from it’s mistakes? Fired the sub who messed up the drywall? Apologized?!” Believe me… you’ll come out looking like the shining star.

Offer to Fix the Issues in Exchange for an Updated Review

This sounds like a bribe because it some what is. I know what you’re thinking “Gasp! How could you!? We would never!” So you’re saying you’re conscience would feel better with that big fat “F” review sitting on Angie’s List? Great… you have fun with that. For the rest of us sane people, offering to fix the issues in exchange for an updated review is completely fair. I’ve actually removed reviews when the company offers to rectify a situation that led me to write a pretty rough review. And you know what I did for companies who didn’t offer to fix a situation? Nothing. I left the review to sit there – smoldering in its online fire pit of revenge.  So try it – have a client who thought you tracked in mud during a pack back? Send a cleaning service compliments of you.

 

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  1. Pingback : Restoration Marketing Blog » Marketing for Property Restoration Companies » 6 Review Websites You Should be Watching

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