October 18, 2023

How to respond to reviews for your field service business

Phone with green 5-star and red 2-star reviews displayed around it

As a field service business owner you’re probably aware that reviews are important, but did you know that nearly half of people will not even consider your business if your review rating is less than 4 stars?

Reviews are extremely powerful and the ratings you receive have a massive impact on your whole operation.

Given this, it’s important to understand how you should manage your reviews, when to respond and how to deal with negative feedback.

In this article, we will cover some of the best practices for handling reviews, including when to reply and how to improve a low rating. You’ll also find some top tips on how to win positive reviews and promote them so you can gain more business.

Should you reply to all reviews?

You don’t need to reply to every review you receive, however, you should always respond to a negative review.

This is because a response to a negative review shows that you take your customer's concerns seriously and allows you to get across your side of the story.

It is also a good idea to reply to the odd positive review too. This shows you are engaged with your customers and helps encourage your customers to leave positive responses after using your service.

In particular, if a customer has taken the time to write a long or very detailed review, this deserves a response.

How do you write a good response to a review?

Writing a good response to a review, whether positive or negative, requires a few essential best practices.

  1. Acknowledge what the customer has said - One star or five stars, customers want to be heard. Make sure you directly address the primary focus of their review.
  2. Make it personal - If you know the name of the customer who left the review, use it. Addressing the customer by name personalises your message and makes them feel heard.
  3. Stay professional - Your responses are a public representation of your business. If you want to be considered a professional business then the tone of your replies should be in keeping with this.

What is a good response to a review?

Here are two examples of good responses to reviews, one from a negative review the other positive.

In this example, Lewis professionally handles the complaint, addressing the customer directly by name and always stays calm and polite. He also provides a solution to deal with the customer's grievance by offering a free thermostat.

This is a good example of a response to a positive review.

In the customer's feedback, they express their gratitude for the quality of the interaction they had with the company.

One of the team has written a personal response addressing the customer by name and acknowledges their positivity around the customer journey. This makes the customer feel heard and further reinforces the company’s reputation for others who might read the review later.

The response is also personally signed off, again making it feel more personal and genuine.

How do you politely respond to a bad review?

To politely respond to a bad review it is always best to remain formal, professional and factual. Address and acknowledge the concern, explain why you think the issue arose and how you’re going to address it and be sure to offer your apologies.

To break this down further there are five key requirements you should fulfil to make sure you give the best response.

  1. Take the emotion out of the interaction - If you respond while angry or emotional you are likely to write something you regret. To avoid this it’s a good idea to wait at least 24 hours before responding or if there’s someone else in your team who is less caught up in the interaction, let them handle it impartially.
  2. Provide a solution - Almost every gripe can be remedied with a solution. Whether that’s returning to take another look at the job, providing a future discount or replacement, or even providing a refund. Reinforce why your company is great to work with.
  3. Thank them for the feedback - Even if you completely disagree with the customer, tell them that you appreciate the feedback and explain what you’re going to do to avoid further dissatisfaction in future.
  4. Reinforce your quality - It’s a good idea to explain why you believe your service is of a high standard and mention your overwhelming positive reviews. This is more for potential future customers who read the interaction rather than for the person you’re responding to.
  5. Take things offline - Lastly, it can be a good idea to speak to the customer offline. This will usually be a call over the phone but you may want to meet in person. This can help take the heat out of the interaction and allow you to calmly resolve things.

After taking these steps and if things go well, you may even be able to ask the customer to change their review.

Here is a great example of how to handle a negative review.

The business addresses the customer personally and takes ownership of the issue.

They then explain the context around why the issue occurred without excusing the mistake. This is followed by an explanation of the steps that the business has since taken to rectify the problem and then provides a personalised offer to follow up.

How do you respond to a negative review on social media?

Responding to a negative review on social media is no different to responding to a negative review on any other platform. Address the customer's concerns, remain professional and personalise your interaction.

The benefit of negative reviews

Before you get too worried about negative reviews it is important to remember that a few less than positive responses aren’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, negative reviews are an expected and necessary part of proving yourself as a credible business.

When customers are researching a business they will actively seek out negative reviews as a way of establishing trust. This is because consumers know that any business will eventually accrue some negative feedback.

By checking this they are able to get a sense of the worst-case scenario. The key is ensuring that your negative reviews aren’t too bad, or that when they are, you have provided a good response.

By doing this it gives potential customers another point to compare and measure you against your competitors and can give them a different insight into how you operate.

So don’t take a small proportion of negative reviews as bad, it’s just another way of proving your quality as a business.

How to remove a negative review

The best way to remove a negative review is to speak to the customer and address their concerns. If you’re able to resolve their issue and make them feel listened to, then they will likely take down their review or even change it to five stars.

In those instances where the review is either fake, offensive or compromises the use policy of the review hosting platform (such as Google or Trustpilot) then you can report it.

Google’s use policy can be found here.

To report a Google review follow these steps:

  1. Find the review that you'd like to report.
  2. Click More and then Flag as inappropriate.

Read Google’s help article for more steps.

How do you respond to a review with no comments?

A one-star review with no comment still requires a response. It may be that the customer unintentionally left 1-star, in which case a response may alert them to the mistake.

Even if this isn’t the case, you should apologise if they’ve had a bad experience and ask for feedback on what led them to leave such a poor rating. Reinforce your good reputation and the many previous happy customers you’ve had.

Also, make sure that your response isn’t too long.

How do you respond to a 5-star review?

When responding to a 5-star review or any positive review, don’t overthink it.

Always thank the customer for their positive feedback and make your response as personal as possible. If they mentioned a particular aspect of your service or the quality of an interaction, then make sure to refer to this directly in your response.

The key component is to realise is that any review is an opportunity to showcase yourself to other prospective customers.

Understanding this, you want to make sure that the qualities that make you a good business and the reasons a customer might want to use you are highlighted in your response.

However, never force this into your reply, you’re simply reaffirming the positive messaging from the review.

How to win more positive reviews

If you want to win more positive reviews then there is one simple method you can use to achieve this. The best way to win more reviews is simply to ask for them.

Of course, asking for reviews alone is not all you should do, but if you’re not already asking your customers to leave their feedback you should start doing this.

The key is to make it as easy as possible for the customer to leave a review. That means giving them a link they can click on and a reminder so they don’t forget.

You should also make sure you are clear what platform you want to direct their review to. For most service businesses, Google Maps is a good place to start as this is where many customers will first search for you and it can help your SEO.

To make life easy for you, using CRM software like Payaca will allow you to automatically send messages asking customers for reviews, with a convenient link already attached.

If you want some more insight on how to gain reviews, then we’ve written a whole 6-point article on how to skyrocket your reviews that you can read.

How to promote your positive reviews

Once you’ve built up a bank of positive reviews it’s time to start thinking about how you can leverage these reviews to your advantage.

Essentially your main goal should be to get eyes on your reviews. This is because positive reviews and testimonials are a highly effective way of winning new customers. However, you only have a limited window to prove your worth.

In the majority of cases, consumers will read between 1 and 10 reviews before committing to that service. This means, where possible, you should aim to get the right reviews in front of your customers.

To do this, you should collect your best reviews and testimonials and then display them on your website. You should also include a link to the primary platform where your reviews are displayed.

It’s also smart to refer to the positive feedback you receive and any awards you have gained in the messaging on your website. Don’t boast, but being proud of the positive impact you’ve had on your customers is a good angle to take.

All this makes it easy for potential customers to read positive reviews about your business and gain the positive affirmation they need to use your business.