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Article: How to respond to negative reviews against your home inspection business

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Hi TIJ Readers,

My favorite articles to write are ones that directly stem from home inspectors' questions. This is one of those articles. An inspector asked us how to approach negative reviews without increasing his liability. Here's our answer.

Enjoy!
Stephanie

P.S. Have a topic you'd like us to write about? Let us know in the comments.
 



How to respond to negative reviews against your home inspection business

Online reviews matter. But just how can reviews affect your home inspection business?

The bottom line? Online customer reviews can directly impact your success. Which led one of our readers to ask us this question:

Quote

I've had an issue with receiving negative seller reviews. Usually, the buyers are my clients and, so far, they've liked my inspections and my reports. What do I do when it's not even my client leaving a negative review?

- John Paul Oliveira

At InspectorPro, we know a thing or two about receiving negative reviews from people that aren't clients. Receiving negative reviews, especially from non-clients, can be frustrating and disconcerting. The good news? Your response to reviews can make a difference.

In a recent study, the Harvard Business Review found that replying to customer reviews, positive or negative, results in better ratings. Software company Vendasta listed three reasons why responding to unpleasant reviews is beneficial in a recent blog post:

 

Quote

 

  • You're not just replying to just the one reviewer. You're speaking to everyone who reads this review, including potential future customers.
  • Replying is your opportunity to make things right. If a customer brought a complaint to you in person, you would try to make it right. The same goes for online reviews⁠⁠—despite the impersonal nature of online reviews, it's not over just yet. You can turn this things around!
  • Replying shows other readers you are not shady or neglectful to feedback, and have taken steps to ensure this problem won't happen to the next customer.

 

In this article, we discuss how to respond to negative online reviews to defend your reputation and discourage potential claims.

Investigate the allegations internally.
Before responding, look into what the reviewer is saying. See if they are a client of yours or otherwise related to an inspection you performed (i.e. seller, real estate agent). Then, examine how their claims match up to your recollection of the inspection and your report. If you weren't the one who performed the inspection, take time to discuss the review with the inspector that did to make sure you have all the facts.

Evaluating the feedback first also gives you the opportunity to put your emotions in check. Reacting defensively could inspire your negative reviewer to escalate. Worse still, if your upset reviewer is particularly angry or petty, they might seek to get a bigger reaction from you by spreading their unfavorable assessment across online platforms.

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