Roofers, Here’s How to Handle One-Star Reviews

"One-star reviews may not seem like it, but they can be a goldmine for your roofing business. Learn how to turn negative feedback into valuable opportunities."

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A One-Star Review Story

Here’s how one roofer handled like a pro.

Ever get that sick feeling when a bad review pops up? Yeah, me too. It’s like someone smashed your hard work. For roofers, Google reviews can make or break us. Handling bad feedback is a skill we all need.

Let me share one of my toughest reviews. I’ll show you how to turn a bad situation into a win by staying calm and pro.

Why You Should Care About Reviews

Reviews are everything for us roofers. They’re more than just stars on a screen. They’re our reputation. Good reviews build trust and bring new customers. They show our hard work. We’ve got had 148 great reviews. Losing even one feels like a punch to the gut. We earned those good words with sweat and hard work.

The Incident

We were cruising along with five-star reviews. We felt unstoppable. Since 2016, our record was clean. Then, in 2022, a one-star review hit us like a brick. It was about a job from 2019. Three years ago! Imagine that—a job long forgotten suddenly bites us. The hit was quick and hard.

The Job

The job in question was a normal roofing project. It was covered by the customer’s insurance, with a $1,700 deductible. We gave an estimate that matched the insurance price. We started the work, clear that the deductible was the customer’s part. The house was a 4,000-square-foot home in a high-end area, worth between $500,000 and $600,000. The deal was clear, and we were ready to deliver good work like we always do.

Halfway through the job, the customer said they would not pay the deductible. It was a shock. It was against our deal. We had also agreed to add a cricket on the chimney at no extra cost. It wasn’t covered by insurance. We did it because it was the right thing to do. Despite the bonus work, the customer refused to pay. We were now dealing with a tough client AND an unpaid bill.

The customer’s refusal to pay dragged on. Despite the clear deal, the customer stayed firm on not paying. We tried to talk it out. He offered to pay $200 per month. But the customer didn’t follow through. We ended up floating $1,700 for a job we did well. And we moved on. You can’t win ’em all. Sometimes you cut your losses and keep moving.

Responding to the Review

So imagine our surprise when the customer left us a one-star review years later! We knew we had to respond. We decided to address it in public. We gave context and cleared up the problem without being defensive. Responding to reviews quickly, whether good or bad, is important. It shows the business cares about its name and values customer feedback. We wrote a response that was calm and true. We shared our side of the story while respecting the customer’s view.

Our response was carefully written to avoid escalation. We agreed with the customer’s points. In fact, we opened with “Almost everything in the review is accurate.” You get more flies with honey, after all! But then we gave more context to explain the problem. We stressed that the customer had not paid the deductible as agreed. They’d delayed payment despite many tries to resolve the situation. By laying out the facts, we honored our customers while also telling the truth.

The Opportunity

The outcome wasn’t great money-wise—the customer never paid the full amount. But our response served a bigger purpose. It showed our willingness to talk with customers, even through conflict and disagreement. No ghosting. No tirades or rants. We stood by our work and our word. And so far, the reviewer hasn’t responded.

Handling the bad review in the right way had a positive effect on the business. The review impresses leads when they check out our business. It reassures them that we value our name and respect our customers. This incident, though painful, turned into greater trust from potential customers. And it’s all because we took the time to tell the truth, straight no chaser.

Takeaways

Quick Response

Always respond to reviews quickly, whether good or bad. Quick responses show you care about your customers and your name. Thank happy customers for their kind words. If bad reviews pop up, do your homework first. Are they telling the truth? Did you drop the ball? Or are you getting slandered?

Stay Pro

Keep a professional tone in all responses. No response is bad. A profanity-filled rant is much worse. It torches trust before customers even get to meet you. Instead, tell the truth. Own up to mistakes and promise to make it right if you can. And if you get slandered, tell your side of the story. Chances are they’ll back down once the whole truth comes out.

Remember the Opportunity

Every review, whether good or bad, is a chance to show your service. Owning up to mistakes and making them right builds trust. Leads know that you’re word is good. If you say you’ll fix a mistake, you’ll do it. And telling the truth in an even manner shows you won’t let yourself get taken advantage of. It makes you look like the man. And everyone wants to work with the man!

Improve, Improve, Improve

Make processes to stop similar problems in the future. These reviews are a window into what’s working and what’s not. If reviewers mention the same thing over and over again, it’s not a coincidence. They’re not all lying. And you need to take that seriously.

And all those positive reviews? You can show them off. Plaster them on your website, your quotes, your videos, anywhere with space. Again, they prove that you honor your word to customers.

Conclusion

Handling bad reviews is an art that demands a cool head. But if you can keep calm, you can turn those even negative reviews into a goldmine. Do what’s best for your customer. Tell the truth. Keep it simple. And you’ll find yourself light years ahead of your competitors!

—John Delaurier, Peach Roofing

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