It happens. No company — HVAC or otherwise — will get 100% positive customer reviews every time. It’s a known fact (and somewhat of a cliché) that you can’t please everybody all the time. This is true with any company, including Super Heat & Air. While the majority of our customer reviews have been consistently positive, we have gotten bad reviews on rare occasions (and we're not afraid to admit it because: transparency).
“You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time”.
― John Lydgate
Getting a bad review sucks. When you are as dedicated as we are to upholding our well-deserved reputation of excellence, even one customer having a bad experience can ruin our day.
The first thing we do is bring it to the attention of Super Heat & Air owner Denis Nuhic. While some company owners may let others handle their dirty work, Denis is a hands-on guy who is deeply involved in the day-to-day operations of the company he founded. Even though he has a capable and experienced staff of technicians employed by the company, Denis will still go out on jobs with his technicians and get his hands dirty helping to fix and install air conditioning units.
VIDEO: "Denis Nuhic: A Hands-On Air Conditioning Company Owner"
So when a negative review surfaces online, Denis doesn’t hand it off to somebody else to deal with it. He will have our customer service staff pull up the file and will call the customer personally to resolve any issues. After the issues are resolved, most of the time the dissatisfied customer will remove the negative review without even being asked to! This is how a truly successful owner handles business. You can’t force somebody to remove a negative review even after the issues have been resolved, but doing nothing about it will ensure the review stays out there for all to see, forever. If you as a business owner or executive are not proactive, ignore your customers and let others do your dirty work for you, your business will take a hit in the reputation department. Get involved!
If you believe a review is fake or the review came from a competitor, you can contact the review site and ask them to take it down. However, most review sites have policies that prevent this from happening, but if you have a strong case and can prove the review is fake (i.e. prove it was written by a competitor), they may review it and have it taken down if it is clearly bogus. If you have no luck getting a negative post removed from a review site, however, there are other measures you can take to address it.
Whether a negative review cannot or will not be removed, it’s always a good idea to be proactive and respond publicly to the review. Responding to reviews — negative or positive — shows that your business cares about customers’ experiences and demonstrates that you are actively involved with the people who keep you operational. It also shows prospective customers reading those reviews that you will be available to them if they do business with you and experience any issues.
In responding to negative reviews, it’s smart to maintain a professional tone and not get defensive. Tactless or defensive responses will show the public that either the negative review is justified or it reflects poorly on the professionalism of your business. When responding to negative reviews, always invite the reviewer to contact your company and let them (and anybody else reading that review) know you are ready to listen to their grievances and do whatever is reasonably in your power to resolve their issues.
If a negative review is clearly a fake, you don’t necessarily need to invite the reviewer to contact you but you still want to respond to it professionally. It’s also good to be astute in your response to fakes and make sure your response calls the phony reviewer out on why their review is suspicious.
The reviewers name being “test testing” already indicates that this person created a fake Google account just to post this review. Then the reviewer claims “a friend” got ripped off. If this friend truly got ripped off, why didn’t “the friend” post a negative review for himself or herself? Another thing that makes this review suspicious is the mention of “other companies”.
First off, the reviewer claims “the friend” got quoted $8-&$10K for 2 small units, then says “other companies” quoted $8-&10K less.” So if we’re reading this correctly, “other companies” quoted 100% less? Does that mean “other companies” offered the same 2 replacement units for free? Didn’t think so! And how does this reviewer know so much about what “other companies” quoted “a friend”?
This negative review was clearly written by a competitor or somebody who has a gripe with Super Heat & Air, but nevertheless, we responded by calling out and questioning the authenticity of the review in a professional manner. The fact that the reviewer didn’t defend his or her review with a rebuttal to our response makes it pretty clear that “test testing” was not a real customer but somebody who was just “test testing” us. Nice try.
Whether it’s Yelp!, Google or any other website where public reviews can be posted, have your company’s webmaster or social media manager claim your business. Yelp!, for example, had an unclaimed business profile for Super Heat & Air, which our web guy/social media guy claimed for us through Yelp! for Business Owners. This allowed Super Heat & Air not only to respond directly to reviews, but also to customize our public profile, which in turn has led to more customer leads and increased business.
If your company does not claim its public profile on review sites like Google (look for Google My Business) and Yelp!, you are leaving your company at the mercy of the public with no defense against negative reviews. If you don’t have a web person or social media manager, hire one! Part of their job will be to consistently monitor online reviews and feedback about your company. This will help ensure a negative review doesn’t slip through the cracks and all positive reviews are met with a "thank you" response. Which leads us to:
We’ve covered responding to negative customer reviews, but you should always respond to positive customer reviews too. Always thank a customer who posts a positive review! This shows them that their feedback is appreciated and will encourage them to recommend your company for future business. If you get a positive review from a customer and don’t bother to take the time to thank them for it, you risk making that customer feel dismissed or unappreciated. A response to a positive review also helps draw attention to the company. Your response should address the reviewer by name and should be informal:
In the example above, reviewer Chelsea posted a positive review. We responded with an informal “thank you” and when she replied that we are “the bomb” (a widely used expression in the 90s to indicate something or someone is awesome), we replied with a funny meme. It’s OK to have fun with your customers. Having some fun with your customers and social media followers humanizes your company and shows that you’re actually paying attention and not providing “boilerplate” or generic replies.
When you have a happy customer, ask them to post a review! Follow up the service provided with a phone call to check up and make sure your customer is still happy with the service they received. If the customer is still glowing from the excellent service you provided them, ask them to post a review! Let them know where they can post their review too: Facebook, Google, Yelp!, Angie’s List, Home Advisor, etc. Don’t just ask them to post the review: show them where and how to do it.
Super Heat & Air has a Reviews page on its website to not only show off our positive reviews, but to also show current and future customers where they can go to post a review of their own.
“There's an old saying in Tennessee — I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can't get fooled again.”― George W. Bush