Video: How to Handle Good, Bad, & Ugly Google Reviews for Your Lawn Care or Landscaping Business

Well, it happened..."Oh cool. I got to review...Huh? That's nice." (puts phone away and forgets about it)...

Or maybe it went a little something like this..."Oh No, you didn't Mr. Jones!" (furiously typing)...

Reviews on Google. You're going to get them. Good, bad and UGLY. Today I am going to break down how you should respond in every situation. Stay tuned.


(Check out the video with description, resources, comments, etc. on YouTube)


Video Transcription

Hey, what's up? It's Chad with Landscape Leadership. We've helped dozens of mid-sized lawn care and landscape companies all across the country, crush their competition and grow a business with a great reputation.

If you're new here, make sure you hit that button in the bottom right corner to subscribe to the channel as I frequently release new landscaping and lawn care marketing tips.

Also all the resources that I mentioned in this video you are going to find below in the description along with some bonus materials that are going to be very helpful.

So far in this video series, all about online reviews for your lawn care and landscaping company, we've been talking about many facets of what to do, how to do it, where to do it. In the first video we talked about the why, meaning why is it so incredibly important to get online reviews for your business? And also we talked about where should you be getting reviews online.

We also talked about the how, meaning how are you going to get more and more great reviews for your lawn care and landscaping business on a consistent basis. If you haven't watched those videos, be sure to check them out.

Today we are going to fast forward and talk about how to handle these reviews when they come in, whether they be good, bad or ugly.


How Google Reviews Effect You Emotionally

Google reviews have the capacity to evoke some very strong emotions. After all, you're passionate about the reputation of your lawn care or landscaping business. It seems like these reviews either push us to one of two spectrums. One being, we want to take everybody into the saloon and buy them a round of drinks... 

Or you want to take them out into the town square and shoot them full of holes..."I'm calling you out, you yellow-bellied toad!" So let's break it down. The good, the bad, and the ugly.


Handling Good Reviews on Google may be thinking, what do I really need to do with good review? If you're reading them and really not doing anything else with them, you're missing some golden opportunities. You really should be grateful when someone leaves you a review online because generally people don't like doing this. So it's a huge deal.

  • When it comes to getting a good review for your lawn care and landscaping business, make sure you're responding publicly within a week to a Google review. Now, it's not urgent, but it is important for each response to each review.
  • Make sure you're giving an original, thoughtful response. Talk about specifically what types of services this customer has used you for, and also pay attention to any little nuances, special things that they called out about how you took care of them.

Responding publicly to reviews isn't just for other people to see. Google says this is a best practice and they actually reward brands in their search ranking if they respond to their reviews.

Now on my next video in the series, we're going to talk about what to do with all those good reviews and how you can actually leverage them in your marketing, so make sure you subscribe to the channel so you don't miss that.

  • Also, make sure you take these Google reviews and circulate them with your team. For instance, say you have a technician that services this property. Maybe in the review the customer actually called out their name or maybe they're just talking about how great the results are. Maybe there was a crew that worked or other team members that were involved with some sort of interaction for this customer. This may be the positive feedback that they need to keep doing a great job.


Handling Bad Google Reviews for Your Lawn Care or Landscaping Business

Now. Next, let's talk about a bad review. Now, this might not be what you're thinking. It's not the worst possible review you could get. It's the middle of the road, two to three star review that usually has the word, "but" included in it.

These types of bad two to three star reviews usually include backhanded compliments, meaning they couldn't quite give you a one star review because they were so ticked off at you, but they certainly wouldn't give you a five star review because they were so happy.

So when they give you the good feedback, but talk about the bad things that happened, resist the urge to get extremely defensive and start going off on them because you have a great opportunity here. It could just be that something was misunderstood or miscommunicated, and so you have the possibility here to take a customer who is lukewarm and turn them actually into a passionate advocate.

Here are some tips to handle a bad two to three star review:

  • First, respond as quickly as possible within 12 hours. We'll talk a little bit later about what to do when you're upset and a little hot under the collar, but try to respond to these reviews in a pretty quick manner.
  • Next, empathize with their goals or concerns. Step out of your defensive emotional state and think like a homeowner. Even if you don't completely agree with them, you should find a point that you can absolutely empathize with them about a little statement showing some concern about their wellbeing goes a really, really long way.
  • Whatever you do, do not make excuses. Do not shift blame and do not assume that you know the whole situation.
  • Also, highlight positive elements in the review because they might've said a few things that were good and if you can call those out, you could have a chance to maybe calm them down a little bit as you addressed the areas of concern. Also, take ownership of this issue and finally take the conversation offline.

Now, when you take ownership of this issue and you decide to take it offline, make sure you mention that publicly. Remember people are coming to these profiles and seeing how you respond to these reviews and if they see that you are offering up a way to get in touch with you, it shows that you actually care. They will probably assume that if anything possibly goes wrong while they're working with you that you'll do the same and respect them.

Now in some cases you can take this lukewarm customer and turn them into a raving fan. You could actually ask them, after you address this problem, if they would feel comfortable going back in and editing their response on their review, changing the star rating and then talking about how you had a problem and how you solved it. 

It doesn't happen in every single circumstance but you can get some customers to do this when you are on the same page and I've developed that relationship equity with them. You can get them to go back and change this.


The Ugly Review

Now let's finally talk about the plain down ugly review that was left for your lawn care or landscaping business. I don't care how awesome you your team and your company is. This is bound to happen from time to time, so before you come out with guns blazing, ready to light them up, take a few minutes and relax.

Maybe some of you might need to take more than just a few minutes, maybe a couple hours or a good part of the evening, and then come back to this within 12 hours, you're going to respond a lot of the ways that I just mentioned in the bad review, the two to three star range, but with a couple of caveats.

Let me give you some tips on how to respond to a really ugly online review:

  • First, apologize sincerely. I really mean it. Be Sincere. Part of that is to empathize with their goals and concerns so that it comes across. Not saying, "I'm sorry you feel this way", but really expressing some concern about the emotional state they're in.
  • Also, don't make excuses.
  • Also, don't shift blame and don't assume that you know at all.
  • Do not lecture, berate
  • Do not over-explain because when you do that, it makes you look like you've got something to hide. Be concise, and authentic in your answers, but don't explain all the details publicly for everyone to have out there because it might make it look like you're trying to defend yourself just a little too much.
  • Again, make sure you're taking ownership of this problem, communicating publicly that you want to take this conversation offline. Either you know who this customer is and you're going to contact them directly or you're giving a means for them to contact you via phone or email.

But what if that isn't good enough? What if you've shown empathy, you've taken ownership, and you've given a means to either reach out and contact this person that's really upset?

What happens if they go dark? Well, you can come back into your review and edit what you wrote. What I would do is leave your original response and at the end of your response in all caps write word, "UPDATE". After that, write a brief response saying what you've tried to do and get in touch with this customer. "Mr. Jones, I tried calling you twice and sent you an email. I really would love to talk with you to get this all sorted out because you're very important to us."

What does that do? If you're a person coming to these Google reviews and seeing a bad review, you see a brand responding and updating.

All of a sudden now the person that left the bad review becomes the villain in this story and the brand looks like the hero.

Now, some of you might not be emotionally wired to ever respond to Google reviews for your lawn care landscaping company. You might have somebody that's much more even keeled and isn't as emotionally invested in the company as you. They could respond professionally, but not get so hot under the collar.

This could mean that someone else in your company might be better at doing this for you and you can talk together about how you should respond.

The point is, take some time, think this through, and don't just go out there and light them up.

Here's to having an online reputation that's bigger than life itself. Thanks a lot. Have a really great day.

Want regular, practical tips like these to take your lawn care or landscaping business to the next level? Then consider subscribing to my YouTube channel. Or if you'd rather read our in-depth articles on Landscape Leadership's website, you can also subscribe to our blog   

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