It takes only seconds for a disgruntled consumer to risk your HVAC company’s reputation. Unfortunately, some companies act like ostriches. Stick their head in the ground and pretend it doesn’t exist.  However, if your business is sound, you don’t have to fear complaints. In fact, embrace them and you will be a better service provider. Here’s why:

Make sure you have an avenue for complaints. Allow an area of your web site for complaints or make sure that with every job you d, your business card is left there (or the owners card) so people know there is someone real who wants to help. If you don’t allow an avenue for complaints, they will find their way to places you can’t control.

Negative feedback may actually be less common than you think. Often, customers who feel wronged don’t address their complaints; they just take their business elsewhere. But, you want to know why a customer leaves you for a competitor. Negative feedback helps you strengthen your service and retain customers.

Complaint resolution can reassure potential customers. They can see ahead of time how you react to and solve a difficult service situation. It can put their minds to rest, knowing that if there’s a problem you’ll make things right.

You can manage negative comments on your own turf. People are already commenting on your HVAC business, whether you know it or not.  When the criticism appears on your site, it’s easier for you to monitor it and respond.

Criticism provides authenticity. Without it, your comments forum could seem like a sham.

Here are some tips for responding positively to negative reviews:

  • Monitor comments regularly.
  • Don’t auto post every comment. Spam will find its way to your site, and you’ll receive comments that are just plain odd. Make sure you read them all.
  • Address complaints promptly. Act quickly to make the situation right for your customer and contain the damage to your reputation.
  • Keep a respectful tone in every response. If a comment angers you, cool down before responding. Look past the customer’s language and consider whether he may have a point, despite his tone.
  • If you’re in the wrong, apologize. It’s no fun to admit to screwing up a job, but deep down we all know we do it on occasion.
  • Avoid finger-pointing and excuses. It just sounds (and is) juvenile. Address the problem, state the facts, and make things right for the customer.
  • Ask satisfied customers to post positive reviews. Keep the forum genuine, but there’s nothing wrong with ensuring your praises are sung as well.
  • Realize that even with stellar service you’ll have customers that God himself could not please.
  • Don;t be afraid to fire your customers. Yes, I said it. If there are customers who are stopping you from providing excellent services to other customers, fire them.

I’m interested in your experience with customer reviews. How do you handle negative feedback? Has it ever changed your business for the better?