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Negative Review Responses: Examples for Your Landscaping Businesses

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Business Advice

A negative online review of your landscaping company hurts. It hurts you, your business and your company’s reputation. Your response matters. Here, we include negative review response examples to empower you to soothe unhappy customers and protect your reputation.

A negative online review of your landscaping company hurts. It hurts you, your business and your company’s reputation. Your response matters. Here, we include negative review response examples to empower you to soothe unhappy customers and protect your reputation.

We also cover why your response is important. And we share how to turn negative feedback into an opportunity for customer retention and business growth.

The Importance of Addressing Negative Reviews

Today, customer reviews matter more than ever. A Power Reviews survey found 99% of people read reviews online and 98% think they’re essential. And 96% look for negative reviews.

When you get a negative review, it’s tempting to strike back or ignore it. But negative reviews on social media, Google, Yelp, Thumbtack and elsewhere — especially those not responded to — can turn away new customers.

And a song written by David Carroll after United Airlines damaged one of his guitars, went viral and reportedly cost the airline $180 million.

Instead of lashing out or ignoring it, face the criticism head on and use it to your advantage in your negative reviews response. When you do, you actually benefit your company.

You Protect Your Reputation Online

Negative review responses are great opportunities to protect — and even prop up — the reputation of your business. They shine a light on potential problems, including those you might not be aware of. And they give you a chance to address those problems both internally and publicly.

Responding to negative feedback shows you care about your customers, take pride in the work you deliver and are willing to rise to the challenge of better serving your customers’ concerns and expectations.

How you respond makes all the difference in how people perceive your company.

Your [Appropriate] Responses Build Trust

Thoughtfully and professionally responding to negative reviews helps earn trust from current and potential customers.

Think about reviews on a product on Amazon or a business you’re considering. If you see five-star praise, you might be skeptical. But seeing good, neutral and bad reviews — especially reviews with thoughtful, honest responses — gives credibility to the product or business.

You Might Keep and Win Back Unhappy Customers

Responding to negative feedback can help retain current customers and even win a customer back.

Say you respond to a bad review with a comment along the lines of “Well, you wouldn’t work with us. We tried.” That doesn’t make you look good. It makes you look like a jerk.

Imagine, if instead, you say, “You know, Mr. Jones, you have a point. We were in a very busy phase and didn’t give you the attention your job deserved. We want to make it right. I’ll give you a call so we can find a way to do that.”

The second response serves to diffuse the customer’s anger. And how could they say no?

You Show Potential Customers You’re Worth Doing Business With

Consider the second response above from the perspective of a potential customer. it makes your company look like a rock star organization. Wouldn’t you want to do business with your company?

Best Practices for Responding to Negative Reviews

Now that we’ve established the benefit of responding  — the right way — to negative feedback, let’s look at how to effectively do it. Here are three quick key ways to turn your response into a win for your business and its reputation.

Don’t Be Generic

It’s important to respond to customer reviews with a personalized message. Don’t rely on a canned response, which can sound insincere. You can personalize messages more easily by starting with sample templates. We include a few below.

Respond with Empathy and Understanding (and Humility)

It’s easier to be empathetic and understanding if you remind yourself that criticism of your business isn’t personal. It’s simply about someone being disappointed in a service you did or didn’t provide.

Sometimes negative feedback doesn’t even have anything to do with your business. There may be something going on in the customer’s life that they’re redirecting at your business.

Step back and look at the situation as objectively as you can. Ask someone who wasn’t involved for their opinion. And ask your crew or other staff what went on with the job.

In your response, make it a standard to:

  • Thank the customer for sharing their feedback.
  • Acknowledge the customer’s concern.
  • Express that you understand and/or share their concern.

You may not actually feel any of that. But putting a good face forward is a good way to protect your company reputation. How you respond is really a form of marketing your company.

Stay Professional and True to Your Company Values

Your response will be most effective if it’s professional and aligned with who you are as a company. Here are some helpful practices to keep it classy.

  • Avoid being reactive, confrontational or hostile.
  • Take responsibility — even if it’s not deserved — instead of making excuses or blaming the customer.
  • Avoid slang or overly casual language. Be mindful of good grammar.
  • Hold true to your company values. For example, if your company prides itself on timely completion, reiterate that in your response.
  • Use your own voice so you sound authentic and honest.

Show You’re Committed to Addressing the Concern

Once you’ve thanked the reviewer for sharing feedback and acknowledged their disappointment, address the issue at hand. Own up to it and ask for both forgiveness and a second chance. Share that you want to resolve it. And if appropriate, share how you can resolve it.

It’s often smart to take the conversation offline, so you can discuss a solution one-on-one instead of in front of an audience. Provide a convenient way for the reviewer to contact you to get the issue resolved quickly. If it’s a known customer, call them yourself.

Examples of Negative Review Responses

Responding can be tough, especially if you’re still stinging from the criticism. Here we offer examples of good responses. You can even lift these as a starting template for your  own responses. Simply add in you and your customer’s names.

Note that for any of these examples, it’s best to sleuth the situation based on your internal records and the crew involved. Once you know that you can respond more thoughtfully. A caution though: if you find that the customer is flat out wrong, don’t say so in your public response. Keep that part between you and the customer privately.

Example Response to a Missed Appointment Complaint

We’ve all been there, waiting for an appointment — having potentially shifted our calendar and other responsibilities to accommodate it — only to get stood up. No-shows are maddening. And customers don’t want to hear an excuse.

Here are two sample responses to a negative review about a missed appointment.

Example 1

Dear Customer Name:

Thank you for sharing your feedback and frustration over our missing your appointment. I understand your disappointment and take full responsibility for the oversight.

I want to make it up to you by giving you a discount and discussing a potential second chance for working with you. I’ve sent you a direct message. Call me at your convenience, and let’s talk. 

Thank you,

Your Name Here

Example 2

Customer Name. We are so sorry for missing you and the impact on your time. We let ourselves get a bit overbooked and didn’t adjust as needed. Please know we pride ourselves on meeting customer expectations and have put new procedures in place to make sure we never fail to do so in future. Let us complete your job at a discount to regain your trust. I’ve left you a message. Let’s talk soon regardless of whether you choose to give us another chance or not.  All the best, Your Name Here

Note: If the job is a larger multi-day project, a discount is a nice idea and can actually benefit you financially in the long run. If it’s a one-time or recurring maintenance, you might offer a free visit altogether.

Example Response to Negative Review About Service Quality

Crummy service happens. Sometimes it’s legit, sometimes it’s the customer’s expectations or perceptions. If you get a bad review for a quality issue here are a few sample responses.

Example 1

In this example, the customer has complained that the plants in their new flower bed are small and the bed looks poor. This is an easier complaint to address because ultimately, the plants just need time to grow and fill in.

The pictures you’ve saved from past jobs can be very useful here. LMN lets you save these in your CRM.

Dear Customer Name:

Thank you for sharing your disappointment with your flower bed installation. We’re disappointed that it didn’t meet your expectations. Please know that what you see today is just the beginning. Your plants will fill in as they have time to grow. 

I’ve sent you a DM with a photo of a new installation and that same installation x months later. You can see how the plants filled in. I’d love to touch base and see if that eases your concern. And, if not, what we can do to make it up to you and make sure you get the quality and service you deserve and that we’re committed to providing. 

Thank you,

Your Name Here

Example 2

In this example, the customer complained that an install fell short of the proposal. The photos from the jobsite and your internal investigation validate that.

Customer name, you’re right we blew it. And we’re not happy with ourselves. We pride ourselves on quality service and we ran into some unexpected issues that led us to fall short with your project. On top of that we didn’t communicate the issues with you well. 

Thank you for sharing your feedback. Please give me a call at xxx-xxx-xxxx. I want to talk about what we can do to make it up to you, or at the very least, to hear what we could have done differently. You Name Here

Example Response to Negative Review Over a Billing Issue

If a customer bashes you online over a billing issue — whether valid or not —  use a response that fosters goodwill. Here are a few samples to get you started.

In these examples, the customer has complained about their bill not matching their estimate. You’ve found out it’s valid, but are committed to meeting your estimate because you didn’t let the customer know of the added costs. Or you did, but it’s not worth fighting with the customer.

Example 1

Hi Customer Name,

Thank you for letting us know that your bill was different than what you expected. We know that your budget is important and we make every effort to adhere to it when quoting and delivering work. 

It looks like prices went up during your project and that we didn’t let you know and passed the added cost on to you. That’s not right. We’ll adjust your bill and get you a new one. We appreciate your business and hope you give us the opportunity to work with you again.

Thank you,

Your Name

Example 1

In this example, the customer simply complained after the fact despite having approved your estimate and signed off on your doing the work.

Hi Customer Name,

Thank you for sharing your concern. There’s definitely been a misunderstanding. I’d like to talk live and better understand your concern and walk through the difference between your estimate and bill and see what I can do to set things right. I’ve left you a message, feel free to call me at xxx-xxx-xxxx at your first chance.

Talk soon,

Your Name

Turn Negative Feedback into a Growth Opportunity

In addition to responding to negative reviews, it can’t hurt to take some time to learn from them and incorporate changes to your business and or customer approach if needed.

Some reviews will likely uncover needed changes. Others may just uncover chances to better cover your ass(ets).

Identify Areas for Improvement

Negative landscaper reviews are an excellent way to gather honest feedback and better understand where your company can improve. Take note of where your business is being dinged. Is it for one-time issues or are there complaints, such as missed appointments, shoddy workmanship or billing mistakes that seem to occur again and again?

Foster a Culture of Continuous Learning and Adaptation

As your landscaping business evolves, it’s likely that its shortcomings and challenges will evolve, too. You can stay ahead of bad reviews by cultivating a workplace culture and processes that embrace communication and are  committed to continuously learning and improving to better meet the business and its customers’ needs.

Embrace Feedback as a Catalyst for Business Success

Success is more likely when you stay agile and continually evolve and improve. Embracing feedback, even the most unpleasant kind, can help strengthen and grow your business. View it as an important catalyst, rather than a shameful ding.

How Landscaping Management Software Can Improve Customer Experience and Help Prevent or Reduce Negative Reviews

Building and maintaining a landscape company that keeps customers happy and minimizes negative reviews can be time-consuming and challenging. Fortunately, you don’t have to go it alone.

Technology, like landscaping management software, can help you manage your business in a way that lets you better serve your customers and yourself.

Enhance Communication and Scheduling

Avoid miscommunication, missed appointments and billing issues by using a business management platform. Scheduling and time tracking tools, like those in LMN, let you quickly and easily manage estimating, scheduling, your crews’ capacity and communicate with customers to provide updates to schedules.

Ensure Accurate Estimates and Transparent Invoicing

Stay true to your estimates and avoid unpleasant billing (or profit) surprises by using a management software to track materials used, get accurate GPS site measurements and minimize the chance of over- or underestimating work.

Streamline Operations for Consistent Quality of Service

When your operations are in order, you can consistently deliver high-quality service. A management software lets you streamline operations for one-time or recurring maintenance jobs, design and build or snow removal services.

Now You’re Ready to Transform Criticism into Effective Negative Review Responses

While no one wants to hear that they’ve disappointed their customers, negative reviews can be powerful indicators of where you can strengthen your landscape business. They can also serve as opportunities to connect with customers and demonstrate your ongoing commitment to them.

Use the tips and templates provided here to better respond to negative reviews and help to build relationships with current and potential clients.

And if you need more time back to do more to keep customers happy, check out LMN landscape business management software. It lets you automate estimates, initiative invoicing, track crews in real-time, and manage customer contacts and jobsite photos.

Questions? We have Answers.

What’s the best way to respond to a negative review?

First and foremost, own up to it and ask for another chance. It’s best to take any deeper and direct discussion offline. Also provide a convenient way for the reviewer to get in touch with you.

Is it good to respond to negative reviews?

Yes, you should absolutely respond to negative reviews. If you don’t, you’re missing out on an important opportunity to right a wrong, secure an important relationship and show that your company has integrity.

How do you respond to negative comments?

The best way to respond to criticism is to appreciate that someone is providing feedback on your business and sincerely do what you can do to set things right with them.

Have additional questions?
Chat with us live during business hours or contact sales.

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