One star review

Mitch Hoy

Active Member
So I just got my first one-star review, out of tens of five stars. A potential customer called me for an estimate, I jotted down her info on a piece of paper while pulled over, and lost it. I guess I said I would be out the next week. Yesterday, I got a passive aggressive text to my business number saying, "I guess you don't want to give me an estimate." I wasn't sure who it was, nor thrilled to get back to someone like that, so I didn't... My bad I guess?

Left me this today:
I called him to get a quote. he said he would be out early the next week. i never heard a word from him again. i even sent him a text asking if he would give me a quote. I heard nothing from him again after my first call. Horribly unprofessional .
What have you done with this kind of online criticism? Trying to tread lightly here.
 

Mitch Hoy

Active Member
Good counsel. I picked up the phone, I was negligent. Hopefully she'll listen when I fall on my sword.

This brings up another topic that I could use some perspectives on:
Currently, I give free estimates. We are finally getting enough call volume that I've had to start delegating just to keep up, which I'm lucky enough to be able to do by bringing in a friend/other climber. Is there a point where paid estimates make sense? I'd think you'd have to have some big local cred to ask for a fee, but I'm curious to ask who does it and why? It would be nice to keep down the window shoppers (and not work 80 hours a week).
 

Bango Skank

Well-Known Member
Can you reply or leave a response to the review? If so, maybe do so, and explain what happened and apologize as well. Most people would understand and alot can probably sympathize.
That's really not gonna hurt your rep too much especially if you're leaving behind lots of happy clients.
 

cerviarborist

Very stable member
Think of it in terms of the difference between an architect and a building contractor. If you know you want a building constructed on your property, but you're not sure exactly what dimensions, or what materials and construction processes would best suit your site, you retain, and pay, an architect. Knowing the details that you don't know, and educating you to the point that you can make an informed decision about how to best develop your site to suit your goals is in the architects wheelhouse. Once you've been brought up to speed to the point that you've made that informed decision and have paid the architect to produce a set of plans, you can then call various qualified builders and show them those plans and ask them for an estimate of the cost to make those plans a reality. Since the specifications are all there in the plans, they should be able to give you a number, and won't need to charge you a fee to do it.

If the prospective customer has already made an informed decision about what to do with their trees, and has detailed specifications which encompass that work, then all they need is a price and you can give them an estimate...for free.

If on the other hand, they'd like to know how to manage their trees, or how to best solve a conflict between themselves and their trees, then they need professional advice. That's a paid consulting call.

It's the difference between being asked to write a cook book for a client....or being shown a particular recipe and being asked what you'd charge to bring the necessary ingredients and prepare the dish.
 

evo

Well-Known Member
My only bad review is basically the same thing.

Dude called when I was healing a open fracture in a toe. I told him that I'd likely be many weeks out, and to call another company down the street.

Dude called back a month later, scheduled a time for a quote.

Pull up and he asks me "Which one are you?" and "What is the name of your company"

The tree is nothing more than a stob, he hired "some power line crew" to do the removal. They limbed and topped the doug fir. I told him that I was many weeks out due to my injury, and wasn't able to take on such a small job. He got nasty, and started yelling at me in his front yard. I didn't respond and got in my truck and drove away (calmly).

I responded on the review, basically saying that I gave him referrals and cant take every job on.

It's still there, but I don't really care anymore. One or two bad reviews isn't a deal breaker if you have many 4-5 star reviews.
 

Reach

Well-Known Member
Good counsel. I picked up the phone, I was negligent. Hopefully she'll listen when I fall on my sword.

This brings up another topic that I could use some perspectives on:
Currently, I give free estimates. We are finally getting enough call volume that I've had to start delegating just to keep up, which I'm lucky enough to be able to do by bringing in a friend/other climber. Is there a point where paid estimates make sense? I'd think you'd have to have some big local cred to ask for a fee, but I'm curious to ask who does it and why? It would be nice to keep down the window shoppers (and not work 80 hours a week).
Locally, I know two companies that charge for estimates. One is a big company who does free estimates unless you want to meet in person, there’s a fee for that. Otherwise you put a ribbon on your tree and someone looks at it within a week or so.

The other company is owned by a highly credentialed consulting Arborist, one who is in the board at the ISA and spent a number of years as lead Arborist at Longwood Gardens. With his qualifications, every tree he looks at gets an assessment, so it’s worth paying his fee.
 

CanaryBoss

Well-Known Member
We give free estimates unless an arborist assessment is needed/wanted. You received some good advise and examples here I believe. We also have a job fee minimum. Customers are told that on the phone to avoid the real small stuff. Also, we require husband and wife to be present on all estimates or we will not come. It’s really helps our rate of sale. You never hear, “let me talk to my spouse”. If you do a really good job selling it to the wife, do you think she can do as good of a job selling it to her husband? Especially if your the higher priced company?
 

Bango Skank

Well-Known Member
We accidentally got a little sawdust in a neighbor's pool, they were mad, we offered to have one of the guys skim it all out, but they did not want any of us on their property.
There wasn't much we could do to make them happy, they just wanted to be angry I think. This earned my old employer 1 star. Also had a 1 star because a neighbor was mad about the noise at 8am, nevermind city noise ordinance stated after 7am we were good.

Sometimes you just can't win, even though the clients were happy.

Maybe mention to some of your customers how much you'd appreciate their honest feedback on Google or wherever the review was left.

It'd be nice if you do end up working for the lady and she rescinds her complaint.
 

colb

Well-Known Member
I don't think you want that client. I don't think they want you. I understand @ATH saying go do the work, but I have to disagree. Just own it - there's worse things that can happen. I just would not take them on as a client...
 

ATH

Well-Known Member
I have yet to fire a client. I have been very close a couple times. I would not tell them if I did I would just stop Returning phone calls or bidding work. In both instances I am glad I did not. Both times they were mad at other circumstances and ended up taking it out on me. Since then I have returned to work at both and they have been great clients.

I would not treat a reviewer any differently than I would treat anybody else whether they give me one star or five stars.

My point was just keep doing the right thing and stuff works out. But I do also understand the idea of letting a sleeping dog lie rather than trying to work with somebody who seems intent on being malcontent.
 

ward

Well-Known Member
With this particular complaint--"he didn't show up to the estimate"--it's especially bad when you don't recall ever setting up the appointment with them. If you choose to reply to the review, be simple and apologetic: "sorry we had our schedules conflicted. Please call to help us make it right to you". I don't think you want to offer anything concrete to them in a response, as it is bait for future terrorists to hold you hostage. Think of it this way: you are only there to help. It's a shame you didn't get the chance to meet with this one!
 

Mitch Hoy

Active Member
Just an update, we had a storm, and I have been running my ass off right up until leaving for vacation.
You guys have had some incredible input, thank you so much.
I was able to craft a response to the review that almost makes it a positive.
I personally reached out to the lady, apologized, and offered to make things right in a voicemail. I didn’t get any reply from her, but later when my wife was answering our business number, a drunk sounding guy called, asked for an estimate, made a spitting sound into the phone, and hung up. As some have mentioned, I don’t think I wanted her business anyways.
The experience has pushed me to realize that I need a better system for inflow, and, more importantly, I can’t be a one man show anymore.
 

Chaplain242

Well-Known Member
I don't think you want that client. I don't think they want you. I understand @ATH saying go do the work, but I have to disagree. Just own it - there's worse things that can happen. I just would not take them on as a client...
Every case is different. I have had some defacto clients that I did a real estate job for to get them out of fine-able trouble, only to hear wind that behind closed doors they were making threats to get even with me for removing their favourite tree... needless to say that it wasn’t worth the trouble to do their neighbours job that required using their yard. Lost a client for someone else’s unreasonable anger issues...

I have also seen 180 swing around. Due to clients behaving badly I have walked, only to find out later that it was due to being ripped off by another tradesman, or family issues and I copped it due to proximity. Only to have them come back six months or a year later and situation completely different.

The only ones I really struggle with is giving an estimate, and hearing from the spouse a completely different story from what I had given., or when submitting the written quote they contend that I told them something on the day that I know I did not say or mention (I write notes). That is hard as once corrected makes it difficult on site with the original spouse if you get the job, and sometimes lose client even if did a great job.

Like the idea of having both spouses on the job at same time!
 
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