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11 Ways to Overcome a 1-Star Review for House Cleaning

1-star review solutions

“How do I overcome a 1-star review for house cleaning? I’m trying to grow my cleaning business with ratings and reviews but I got a 1-star review filled with hate and animosity.”

We Ask a House Cleaner about DIY reputation management and how to resolve a bad review on Google, and Yelp.

Angela Brown, The House Cleaning Guru says a 1-star review isn’t going to kill you. Focus on your satisfaction guarantee, customer service, attention, and care. Oh, and a QR code. A satisfied customer is your best weapon against the schema.

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Hey there, I’m Angela Brown, and this is Ask a House Cleaner. This is a show where you get to ask a house cleaning question, and I get to help you find an answer.

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Question: How Do I Overcome a 1-Star Review for House Cleaning?

1 Star Review, Sad Face 1 Star Review

How do you get rid of a one-star review? All right, so there are websites like Google and Yelp, that allow customer ratings and reviews that are on a scale of 1 to 5.

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History of the 1-Star to 5-Star Review

Man with 5 stars making ratings and reviewsNow, these became popular 10-15 years ago on sites like Amazon and eBay. We study the ratings and reviews before we do business with people, sight unseen. This helps us decide if a shipment will arrive, in a timely manner as described.

Now a house cleaning or maid service rating and review are different. A buyer is not trying to verify somebody will ship a product before buying it online.  A house cleaning rating is important – because it’s a character reference. It’s about inviting somebody into your home to clean around your valuables, your family, and your pets.

And they want to make sure when they part with their hard-earned money that they are making a wise choice.

So, What Happens When You Get a 1-Star Review?

1 Star Review, Woman Upset at ComputerIf it happens to you and your business you get angry. It’s easy to get upset thinking the customer is unhappy with your work.

Okay, so stop for just a second. When you get a one-star rating and review, there’s actually a process to go through. Process number one, stop. Take your emotions out of the picture and step aside. So, pretend this is not about you and your company. Pretend it’s about someone else.

Look at the 1-Star Review from 3rd Party Perspective

1-Star Review Step 1

Honor freedom of speech. Your customer has a right to their opinion. And something triggered that opinion. So much that they took the time to sit down at a computer or tablet and write it out for the world to see.

If you can pretend this is one-star review or rating is about someone else, you can look at it objectively instead of taking it personally. Because it’s not personal, it’s business.

It’s a business transaction somebody didn’t like. That’s it, that’s all it is.

Your Response to the 1-Star Review is Your Right

1-Star Review Step 2All right, the next thing I want you to do, is I want you to be empathetic.

I want you to think in the back of your mind, what if this is particular customer was my mom or my grandma? And you start thinking about this, oh she paid $200 dollars. She had a cleaning service come over. 1 Star Review, Woman ThinkingAnd after the cleaning service left, she found a hair behind her bathroom door. Because there was a hair behind her bathroom door on the floor, she assumed that there were other parts of the house that were not clean.

When you put yourself in the customer’s shoes, you can start feeling sorry for the customer. And you can be a little bit more empathetic about where they’re coming from.

Is the 1-Star Review a Valid Complaint?

1 Star Review, Man With Palm on HeadAll right the next thing I need you to do, this is step number three, is look at the complaint, because guess what? One-star ratings and reviews, don’t write themselves.

1-Star Review Step 3Lots of customers will let stuff slide. They will skip over minor dissatisfactions. Causing a fuss is not worth the trouble. And they will let inadequate or average service slide. So, if you get a one-star rating and review, that should be a wakeup call, like “holy crap what did we do wrong?”

And if you have excellent customer service, you should be able to resolve this fast.

Introduce Your Customer Service Program Early

Cleaning Rates house cleanersNow on your initial walkthrough, let the customer know. “Hey, we specialize in customer service. If for any reason at any time you’re not satisfied with our service, will you tell me before you tell your social media?  Before you give me a rating and review online, will you give me the chance to make it right?”

This preps the customer to call you first for a satisfaction guarantee. Your response to that determines the review they leave.

You’ve already put the rules in place for what happens next.

You’re going to come back within 24 hours and you’re going to make it right. But if the first time you’re hearing about the problem is on social media in a 1-star review, there’s more than just one problem.

You Need to Address a 1-Star Review

1-Star Review Step 4All right, so then number four. What you do when you get a 1-star review? Let’s suppose you have excellent customer service.

Let’s hope you are empathetic.

Now you need to address the concern. Because there is a 1-star review floating around out there and it could bring your business down.

What is the Tone of the Review?

Is it disappointment or hate? Maybe even a misunderstanding of how ratings and reviews work. A disappointed customer is different from a hater.

1-Star Review Step 5Now I got one-star rating and review once from my consulting services. The woman said it was the best consulting she’d ever paid for. And she learned some amazing things that she was able to put in place that skyrocketed her business. And she gave me a 1-star review.

When you look at that, there’s nothing to correct. You look at it and go, “Oh the woman got confused. Instead of giving five stars, she gave one-star.”

So, it wasn’t even worth contacting her and saying, “Hey can you change that because you give me a one-star rating and review, you’re so confused.”

Anyone reading the rating and review could have gone, “Ha ha ha, okay whatever.”

Ratings and Reviews Influence Buying Decisions

1 Star Review, Angry Woman Yelling in PhoneSo, people will read the ratings and reviews. Before booking a hotel room or an Airbnb, people want to make sure they are not making a mistake.

It’s called social proof. If other people like a place, then it must be good enough for us too.

So, the ratings and reviews are paramount to the success of your business.

Be Diplomatic and Kind When Addressing a 1-Star Review

1-Star Review Step 6All right so when you address the rating and review, it’s important that you be kind. This is why we take ourselves out of the picture.

Because whether you like it or not, whether you admit it or not, whether you agree with me or not, is irrelevant. You are the voice of your business. You are the brand. And so, you need to be professional and kind no matter what you say.

It’s so easy to fire back at the complaint and go, “You don’t know what you’re talking about. Our people were there cleaning for four hours.” 

That may be true.

Please Don’t Be Defensive in Your Response

1-Star Review Step 7Acknowledge the customer had a concern, because, in the customer’s mind, they are right.

And so, if it is a real customer, this is not a fake review. But if it is a real customer that had a real situation, own it. Take a 100% responsibility and say, “Oh my goodness, I can’t believe we did this. We must have a day where we human. I am so sorry you had to experience this. 

We’ve never cleaned a house before with seven dogs running around underfoot. And we underestimated how a hair might end up behind the bathroom door.

We are so sorry. We would have loved the chance to have heard this directly from you. And we would have come right over and wiped it up.”

Give the Customer an Out – Don’t Shame them for their Opinion

1-Star Review Step 8And so, you give the customer an opportunity of an out. You want to acknowledge their pain. You want to admit that something was wrong and you want to say, “We would have loved the opportunity to make it right. We specialize in customer service and we work off of referral only. And so, our reputation is our pride. And if we missed something, we want to be the first ones to know about it, because we will do whatever it takes to make it right. 

By the way, we would love to offer you a free cleaning at no expense because you had such a terrible experience. please give us a call and let us make that right.” 

All right, now the reason I say that is you don’t want to throw your whole business reputation away for a lousy $200 dollars. (Or whatever was of the cost of the cleaning.)

Make it Right with the Customer on The Platform in Public

1-Star Review Step 9If you get a 1-star review on Yelp – address the concern there on Yelp. If you get it on Facebook – address it on Facebook.

You want to make sure that you make it right with the customer in public. The customer wants to know you’ve heard their concerns.

A lot of times, they will come back and say, “Oh my goodness, the owner of the company called me and they made it right and no hard feelings, all is forgiven.” 

And then they will change their rating and review.

Counterbalance Bad Reviews with Good Ones

1-Star Review Step 10All small businesses now rely on ratings and reviews. So, you want to put yourself in a position to receive good ones.

So, if you have a 1-star review, you can counterbalance that with 95 good reviews. And then your 1-star review seems insignificant in comparison.

So, I recommend is picking a website, Yelp, Google, or housecleaning360. Where ever you’ve listed your business and get a QR code of your listing.

Create a Business Card with a QR Code Linking Back to Your Reviews

1 Star Review, Woman Receiving Business CardAnd then make up a business card. On one side put your business name and contact information. On the other side put a QR code that directs the customer back to your review site.

Give it to your customer and say:

“Listen, if we make a mistake, gosh, I hope we don’t but we’re human. If we do make a mistake, will you please give us the opportunity first to fix it before you tell your friends? The information to call me is right here.”

(And point to the one side of the card.)

“The day that we please and delight you, there’s a QR code right here.”

(Point to the other side of the card.)

“Scan this with your cell phone, it’ll take you to the site so you can leave us a positive rating and review. So, if you’re not happy, call this side of the card, if you are happy, use this side of the card.”

Ask Every Customer for a Rating and Review

1 Star Review, Woman Jumping For JoyAnd you can ask every customer for a positive rating and review. And if they don’t give it to you today, they can keep the card and give it to you once they’ve had a positive experience.

But before they go to social media, before the blast you to their friends, before they leave you a bad rating and review. Ask them to give you the chance to call you first. And when they call you don’t, please don’t be defensive. Be accepting and say, “Hey I understand there was a situation here. As the owner, I’m willing to give it whatever it takes to make this situation right. What do we need to do?”

If A Customer Defames You – Ask Them This

1-Star Review Step 11And then ask this question, here are the magic words, “What do you think is fair?” Because when you ask a customer what they think is fair, sometimes what they think is fair, is far less than what you were going to offer.

They might say “Well, I’ll just pick up the hair behind the bathroom door and from now on just pay attention.”

Or they might say, “No, come over and clean up the hair that’s behind my bathroom door.”

They’re not going to say, “Come over and re-clean my whole house for free.” That’s not fair. But when you let them decide what’s fair, often it’s a small concession. What they’re saying is I want you to hear me, and I want to get value for the money that I paid. That’s it.

Most people are fair and that’s all they want. So that’s how you get rid of, overcome and deal with a 1-star review.

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Angela Brown
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