Editor’s note: Listen to what Mandy has to say about online reviews and how to use negative reviews to make positive change in your company. You can read the transcript below or listen to the podcast.
Megan Ellsworth: Hey everybody, my name's Megan Ellsworth here at Rooferscoffeeshop.com and today I'm with Mandy MacIntyre. We're talking about the May influencer topic, which is how do you handle reviews? So, what do you guys do over there?
Mandy McIntyre: So, we handle reviews, both negative and positive. And I think one of the things that really kind of was a game changer for us as far as reviews was utilizing some technology. So, there's a software called Podium, it's a text messaging software.
Megan Ellsworth: Okay.
Mandy McIntyre: And text a review to somebody, a link for a review, and it's a lot easier because it's there on their phones, so while you're standing in front of a customer you can just say, "Hey, take advantage of a good situation," is my advice always. So, if you're talking and things are good, just be like, "Hey, do you mind taking 30 seconds," and it's literally only 30 seconds, "to write us a review?" And while you're standing there you can text them the message and you're good to go.
But as far as reviews that are bad and how do you address those? We definitely always address those, but I think the most important thing is to kind of set a level of expectations so that you're not getting those unexpected, horrible reviews. So, I've always been a big advocate of symptom versus problem. So, when you get a bad review, that's a symptom. The problem is their expectations weren't met and they want you to know it and they want the whole world to know it. People that, for lack of a better word, can sometimes be internet trolls, and if you go back you'll see that they have a little record of bad reviews.
Mandy McIntyre: Yeah, so to kind of thwart that, what we did was we made up this template to give to all of our customers and it's called the NEXT steps.
And it's an acronym, NEXT, for notify, expect, extra, and thank you. The X is extra. Because we would get these reviews for commercial stuff and it would say, "Oh, it really smelled in the building," or, "There was debris out in the parking lot," or "They didn't tell me that they were going to be there." So, what we did is we just set this level of expectations for the property manager to notify all your tenants, especially if you have doctor's offices or stuff like that, and then we took this form and we would post it on the door so that even if the property manager didn't notify them, we're going above and beyond to notify them.
Megan Ellsworth: Okay.
Mandy McIntyre: Yeah, so I think setting those expectations is a huge way to offset getting a bad review in the first place.
Megan Ellsworth: Yeah, for sure, I love that, and especially when you're working with buildings rather than like individual residential homes, you're going that next level to make sure that everybody in the building knows, that's beautiful.
Mandy McIntyre: Yeah, because you're dealing with one property manager and there could be 20 tenants or more, and you don't know if they're telling everybody and it's going to be that one person that worked third shift and they're trying to sleep and we're banging on the roof and they didn't know, and that's who's going to leave a bad review, someone that you've never even met or talked to.
Megan Ellsworth: Yeah, oh, that's so true.
Mandy McIntyre: Yeah.
Megan Ellsworth: Do you guys have any problems with when say you're talking to a customer and you send them the text via Podium to do the review, are sometimes people kind of hesitant or like, "Hmm, I'd rather not," and in that case, what do you guys do?
Mandy McIntyre: Yeah, you can see if they click the link or not, so sometimes you'll see that they clicked the link but then they never actually left a review. And there's a template for a friendly reminder that we can send that says, "Hey, just reminder, do you mind sending us this review?" But like, we don't go chasing, I'm not going to go chase anyone down. And then we also don't... I mean, I think a review should be organic, I know there're some companies out there that kind of bribe people for reviews, they give them like, "We'll give you a hundred dollar gift card if you give us a review." I mean, not that that's illegal or anything, but I don't know, I just think if you're going to have reviews just keep it real as far as I'm concerned.
Megan Ellsworth: Yeah.
Mandy McIntyre: And we don't even delete the bad ones, we keep them up there and we respond and no one's perfect, no company's perfect, no one's going to have a five star review forever on their Google page or anything like that.
Megan Ellsworth: Precisely.
Mandy McIntyre: Yeah.
Megan Ellsworth: Well, fabulous, any last words or advice to other contractors?
Mandy McIntyre: I really think it's the expectations. Some, especially residential customers, have a whole different set of expectations in their head than from a contractor's perspective, so I think just being clear on those expectations, letting them know, "There may be some minor damage to your landscaping," because if you tell them ahead of time they're a lot more accepting than after the fact when they think, "Oh, it's my roof, so nothing else is going to be touched," not realizing that you have tarps hanging from your house and your house in essence becomes a construction zone. A lot of customers don't understand that, so I think it's just being super clear on the first initial steps of the project.
Megan Ellsworth: Yeah, love it. Well, thank you so much, and I will be chatting with you next month.
Mandy McIntyre: Awesome, thank you so much.
Mandy McIntyre is the Operations Officer at 1st Choice Roofing Company. See her full bio here.