If you’re in the moving business, negative reviews are going to happen, it’s almost inevitable. On top of that, those negative reviews usually aren’t nice. Remember, moving is one of the most stressful events in someone’s life, so a poor moving experience on top of that can really cause them to be mad. So what’s the best way to handle negative reviews for your moving company?

Moversville Connect has compiled some of the best answers from the mover-communities online regarding negative reviews.

In short, the first thing to do is to get out in front of it. The quicker you respond in a professional way, the quicker the customer feels heard, and anyone viewing the review will see that you care and have a professional response. If you only have a few bad reviews among a bunch of good reviews, a few bad with professional responses should be fine in the eyes of any prospects.

How Do I Prevent Negative Reviews?

Of course, the number one way to prevent negative reviews is to provide excellent service in the first place. But as a growing company, you’re not going to satisfy 100% of your customers. So what do you do to prevent negative reviews from being posted?

Step 1: Speed

If you know a customer had a bad experience and they haven’t left a review yet, getting out in front of it and getting on the phone with the customer is top priority.

When you get on the phone with a customer, it gives you a chance to actually know what happened. In some cases, there might have even been a simple misunderstanding and the situation can be cleared up immediately.

Step 2: Listen

The most important thing to do when you’re on the phone with a customer who had a problem is to close your mouth and open your ears. Actively listen and jot down a few notes if you have to.

When you listen and let them vent all of their frustrations about your service to you, it completely diffuses them and removes a huge weight from their shoulders.

Step 3: Speak Like A Human

Customers can tell if you really care, if you come off scripted, your efforts are useless. Speak how you normally speak and like you actually care.

Step 4: Prove You Listened

After they’ve told you their problems, in short, summarize what they had to say to make sure they know you listened.

“So as I’ve written down in my notes here, I understand you were having a problem with xyz, and also a problem with abc. I also hear that there was a problem with 123 and 456.”

Repeating back to them shows that you listened and that you’ve acquired the information to actually do something about it.

Step 5: Apologize For The Experience

Whether you were wrong or they were wrong, it doesn’t matter, if you want to show how much you actually care about the problem they had, at least be sorry for the experience they had.

“First off, I want to apologize, I’m very sorry you had this experience with us.”

Step 6: If You Were At Fault – Acknowledge It & Promise To Improve

If you were at fault, legitimately acknowledging it shows you’re bigger than the situation. Nobody is perfect and most people understand that.

Promising to improve not only helps them feel heard, if you keep your promise you’ll improve your company so the problem doesn’t happen again.

“Hey John, it sounds like we are at fault here, and I’m not happy about the mistake we made. As the CEO (or leader of this department), this falls on me. But I’m going to make one commitment to you, we’re going to get better at this. Thank you for bringing this to my attention, it helps us significantly.”

Step 7: Offer A Solution

The solution you provide is ultimately up to you and what you can do for them to remedy the situation. But offer something you feel that would make them happy. Obviously the more you give the happier they would be, but you have to find that line in between what makes them happy and is practical for your company.

Step 8: Take Them Off Any Review Solicitation Emails or Text Message List

If you have a review solicitation program, it should go without saying that you should be removing them from those solicitation emails and possibly all future marketing emails.

How Do I Respond To Negative Reviews Already Posted Online?

When you see your negative review posted online, the first thing to do is contact the reviewer privately. Don’t ask to take down the review just yet, first see if you can start a dialogue. The quicker you respond as soon as you get the review, the higher the chance they’re still on the website or app, available to respond.

Thank Them

The most valuable asset anybody has is time. If they’ve taken the time to write you and give you feedback, that’s more than other people who had a bad experience who decided not to write you, which means you don’t matter to them as much.

Respond privately with something like:

“Hello (Name), thank you for taking the time to express the problems you had with our company. We take what our customers have to say very seriously. I’m sorry you had a poor experience with us, is there anything we can do on our side to make this situation better?”

The goal is to start a dialogue. Without starting a dialogue, there’s no chance of the review coming down.

If you care about the long-term health of your company, I would recommend doing what it takes to be fair to both them and your company. If you can come to an agreement where you both can win, then you can ask them to consider taking down the review.

Should I Pay or Bribe Customers To Take Their Review Down?

Deciding whether or not you should bribe your customers to take down their reviews is really entirely up to you. You may feel like in some situations you can negotiate a deal to take down the review as soon as they post, and in other situations, there’s just nothing you can do. Whatever the case may be, this is something that may be best to deal with as soon a the review comes up. If you already have a poor reputation, your time may be better spent fixing the problems in your business rather than figuring out how to “fake” your reputation to the public.

In some situations, if you have a customer who’s threatening a bad review it might be best for you to give the customer what they want if you feel like the short-term impact is less than the long-term impact. Nobody wants to be threatened by a bad review or succumb to the customer who threatens them, but at the same time, you don’t want to be so stubborn with the situation that it hurts your company in the long-term. Pick and choose your battles here and weigh the short term impact vs. the long term impact.

How Hurtful Can Negative Reviews Be For Your Moving Company?

Your reputation online can make or break your entire company and can decide how impactful your marketing is.

For example, if you’re spending tens of thousands of dollars every month on marketing with a poor reputation you’re going to book fewer jobs than the mover who’s spending the same tens of thousands of dollars who has a good reputation.

Whether you like it or not, the reputation you hold online is a very important aspect of getting business. If you have less than 4 stars on Yelp and Google and you’re wondering why you’re not getting business, consider looking at BOTH your reputation and marketing, not only your marketing.

It’s super important to make sure your reputation is solid enough before pouring additional money into marketing. There’s no sense in marketing and paying for traffic, customers, or leads when many of those customers may eventually decide to not to use your company because they saw your online reputation.

Negative reviews can dramatically hurt your moving company and the absolute best way to not get bad online reviews is to provide excellent service in the first place.

How Do I Overcome An Existing Bad Reputation Online?

Recovering from an existing bad reputation is no easy task. It could take months even up to a year to recover from a poor online reputation.

The number one way to recover from a poor online reputation is to start providing excellent services and start getting more 5-star reviews.

Some movers who have recovered from a poor online reputation have done whatever it takes to make the customer ecstatic – given discounts, provided extra services for free, or whatever else goes above and beyond the customer’s expectations. When you have a customer who is genuinely happy about the service you provide, getting them to leave a positive review should be easy.

If you have a system of going above and beyond the expectations and encouraging the customer to review your services, you’re on the right track to increasing your reputation.

Once your reputation is better, you can slowly start to remove the extra discounts & incentives and start selling based on your quality of service.

How Do I Get More Positive Reviews For My Moving Company?

Getting positive reviews for your company is quite simple if you’re providing good services. All you have to do is ask. You can ask via email, text message or right there in person.

There are review solicitation companies that allow you to automatically send a text message to your past customers so they can review your services on Google & Facebook. Your Moving company software should be able to do these kinds of email follow-ups as well.

What About Yelp?

While many businesses aren’t a fan of certain aspects of Yelp and the way they filter out good reviews, it’s still one of the most trusted online reputation platforms according to the consumers.

In order to get your reviews to stick, Yelp wants your customers to naturally review your services without you asking or incentivizing. This makes it somewhat difficult to increase your reputation if you have an existing poor reputation.

Yelp says that they filter out based on the customer’s reputation on Yelp.

If you’re soliciting reviews to Yelp it’s likely your reviewer may not be established on Yelp, it’s likely your reviewer may use certain language that Yelp can determine it’s being solicited, and it’s likely the customer has clicked on a certain link that Yelp has traced and considered it to be solicited. All of these are ways that Yelp can determine whether a review is going to show up or not.

Instead, if you want more Yelp reviews, simply go above and beyond the customer’s expectations on the job, then remind them how much a review on Yelp means to your company.

Don’t incentivize, don’t provide a link, just remind them. If you’ve truly gone above and beyond the expectation, when you remember to remind the customer how important a review is to you, when they go to review, they’ll naturally find your Yelp profile and review your service the same way they naturally review other services they’ve used.

While we’ll never fully understand Yelp’s algorithm, what’s true is that Yelp wants unsolicited, non-incentivized, natural reviews. If you can make this happen by going above and beyond the call to action with your customer, they’re more likely to return the favor back to your company if you’ve reminded them about what matters to you.