How to Respond to Online Reviews: A Guide for Home Service Businesses 

Maintaining a positive online reputation is essential for the success of your home services business. Whether your company provides landscaping services, flooring services, HVAC services, moving and storage services, or you fill another niche of the home service industry, sustained success relies on good ratings and reviews as much as it relies on factors like your marketing or customer service. 

But you don’t have to take our word for it. Just look at recent data, which reveals that nearly half of consumers trust online reviews “as much as [they trust] personal recommendations from friends or family.” Not only that, but 77% of consumers say they “always” or “regularly” read online reviews when comparing local businesses — and in the home services industry, reviews may be even more impactful. The way business owners respond to reviews is also significant, because, as we’ll discuss in a moment, owner responses (or the lack thereof) affect the way consumers shop. 

We’ll explore all of these topics, along with many others, in this guide to responding to online reviews for home services businesses. Continue reading to learn why it’s important to manage your reviews, plus some strategies for responding to them. We’ll also answer some review management FAQs for the home services industry, like how to increase the number of reviews your business receives.  

Why Should Your Home Services Business Respond to Reviews from Customers? 

There are numerous reasons why it’s critical for your business to respond to reviews from customers, especially if you’re part of the home services industry. According to research by BrightLocal, an astounding 98% of consumers “read online reviews for local businesses,” while 89% describe themselves as being “‘fairly’ or ‘highly’ likely to use a business that responds to all reviews, positive and negative.” 

In other words, not only are the overwhelming majority of consumers actively reading and comparing reviews — they’re also paying attention to whether the owners respond, and making decisions about where to shop accordingly. Because while 89% of consumers are “fairly likely” or “highly likely” to transact with businesses that reply to all of their online reviews, 22% are “not likely at all” to shop at businesses that don’t respond. As a home services business owner, you need to make sure that you’re meeting consumers’ customer service needs and expectations by responding to all of your reviews, whether they’re positive or negative. 

Not only does having a review response strategy bring your business into alignment with consumer expectations — it’s also what Google recommends if you want to improve your company’s local ranking. As Google Support points out, “When you reply to reviews, it shows that you value your customers and their feedback. High-quality, positive reviews from your customers can improve your business visibility and increase the likelihood that a shopper will visit your location.” 

This is especially vital within the home services industry, where, the data suggests, reviews may have even more impact on buying decisions than they do in many other industries. According to BrightLocal, 46% of consumers say that customer reviews have a “very important” impact on their decision to hire or use “service businesses and tradespersons” — a percentage surpassed only in the healthcare (47%) and care service (57%) industries. When asked the same question about other industries — specifically, “How important a part do online reviews play in your decision to use these types of business?” — only 43% responded “very important” for the automotive industry, 40% for the financial and legal industry, 33% for the food and drink industry, and a mere 16% and 15% for the entertainment and retail industries, respectively. The takeaway is that consumers care more about home service reviews than they do, for instance, reviews of fast food franchises, shopping centers, or even law firms. 

Learn more about why responding to reviews is important, or continue reading for tips on responding to negative or positive reviews in the home services industry. 

How Should Your Home Service Business Respond to Positive Reviews? 

While they might not feel as urgent, positive reviews are just as important to read and respond to as negative reviews. According to data from BrightLocal, “57% [of consumers] say they would be ‘not very’ or ‘not at all’ likely to use a business that doesn’t respond to reviews,” whether they’re positive or negative. Replying to positive reviews is a simple way you can engage with happy customers and maintain the enthusiasm and excitement they already feel toward your brand, increasing the likelihood they’ll recommend your business and refer others. 

Ideally, you should ensure that each review response you write is personalized to the reviewer’s comments, a topic we explored in depth here. It’s also important to respond within 24 hours to ensure that all customers receive swift acknowledgment from your team. Here are some other tips for responding to good reviews and ratings for your home services business: 

  1. Use the customer’s name if provided (and appropriate). 
  2. Acknowledge a detail from the customer’s review, such as saying how thrilled you are that they enjoyed your… (insert the appropriate detail here).  
  3. Where possible, you can also build on a detail from the review. For example, if the customer mentions your great pricing, you can use that as a springboard to bring up ways they can save even more money on future visits — for instance, if you have a customer rewards program or referral program you want to highlight.  
  4. Be sure to welcome them back and express gratitude for them choosing your business.  

Want to learn more about this topic? Here are a few additional articles you may want to explore. 

  1. Guide to review platforms for the home services industry
  2. Tips for responding to 5-star reviews 
  3. Tips for responding to 4-star reviews
  4. What types of reviews do consumers value most, and how can you adapt? 

What About Replying to Negative Reviews or Ratings? 

In the last section, we touched on the power of personalization when responding to online reviews. Unsurprisingly, your tactics for responding to negative reviews should be different than your process for replying to positive reviews. While the goal of a positive review response is to keep satisfied customers happy and make them feel appreciated, the goal of a negative review response is to prevent customers from leaving for your competitors, while simultaneously presenting your business as a service that other consumers can trust to make sure the job is done right. 

Remember, 77% of consumers “always” or “regularly” read reviews, which means you aren’t just responding to your actual reviewer — you’re also showing potential customers that your company deserves their business. At least, that’s the goal of a well-written owner response. 

So how can your team write better responses to bad reviews or ratings of your home services business? Here are a few tips. 

  1. Apologize for the customer’s negative experience (even if you believe the complaint to be unwarranted).
  2. Assure the customer that your team is committed to delivering fantastic service. 
  3. Encourage the customer to follow up by contacting you for further assistance. 
  4. Provide a phone number and/or email address where the customer can reach your team. 
  5. If the customer has rated your business poorly without leaving a review, encourage them to contact you directly and/or follow up with a comment so that you can learn about their experience and ensure they receive assistance. 

To learn more about responding to negative reviews and how they impact your business, get started by exploring the articles below. 

  1. How to deal with legally sensitive reviews 
  2. How to respond to 1-star ratings and reviews 
  3. Should you censor negative reviews of your home services business?  
  4. Why you should embrace negative reviews  

Online Review Reply FAQs for Home Service Businesses

Q: Is it Necessary to Respond to Old Reviews of My Home Services Business? 

A: Yes, you should strive to make sure that 100% of your reviews receive a reply, unless they violate the review platform’s ToS (for instance, by threatening your business), in which case a review removal service can be deployed to ensure that your reputation is not negatively impacted by unfounded claims about your business. Older reviews should take lower priority than recent reviews, but should still receive customized replies from your team. Read tips from our response scribes about responding to older reviews of your home services business. 

Q: Can My Business Pay for 5-Star Ratings and Reviews? 

A: No, there are numerous consequences that can result from attempting to manipulate your reviews. Not only is posting fraudulent reviews a violation of the ToS on Yelp, Google My Business (GMB), Facebook, and other review platforms, it may even constitute a violation of the law. If you utilize fake reviews, you may find yourself being investigated and fined by government agencies and/or penalized by platforms like Yelp. Learn about the right way to incentivize reviews and explore whether a review generation service aligns with your company’s needs. 

Q: What if Someone Reviewed My Business in Error? 

A: Issues like similar names or addresses can lead to mistakes on review-sharing platforms. If a customer leaves a review for your business by accident, we recommend following these tips in your reply. 

Q: How Else Can I Get More Reviews for My Home Service Business? 

A: It’s important not to pay for, offer discounts for, or otherwise incentivize positive ratings and reviews. However, you should encourage your customers to provide you with their honest and authentic feedback, always while taking care to follow the Terms of Service on Yelp, Facebook, or any other platform or website where the review will be shared. Our review generation service makes it easier and more efficient to collect ratings and reviews of your home services business, whether you prefer a manual or automated approach. 

Q: What Are My Options if I Don’t Have Time to Respond to My Reviews? 

A: Responding to reviews is an effective way to accomplish a wide range of objectives for your business, including: 

  1. Building trust in consumers who are unfamiliar with your brand 
  2. Immediately enhancing your current level of customer service and outreach
  3. Improving your local SEO 
  4. Spreading the word about deals and promotions, or other unique selling points 

Don’t miss out on these benefits just because your team is busy handling other priorities. Let our dedicated review response service handle the writing for you, making it truly effortless to ensure your customers receive personalized, on-brand replies. 

Online Review Management Solutions Designed for the Home Services Industry

Serving plumbing businesses, HVAC businesses, storage businesses, moving businesses, gardening and landscaping businesses, flooring businesses, and other businesses in the home services industry, Shout About Us offers comprehensive solutions for all of your review management needs. We offer review reply services, review removal services, review generation services, review monitoring services, and business listing management services tailored to meet the unique needs of home service providers and the marketing agencies who partner with them. 

Learn why thousands of brands trust Shout About Us to help them save time, boost revenue, and drive results. Contact us online to learn more, or book a demo with Shout About Us today.

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