Negative reviews are not as deadly as most contractors think. However, some can be removed and all can be addressed. The business development manager is responsible for monitoring reviews. When a negative review appears, the business development manager should attempt to identify the customer. If unable to do so, the next step is to see if the reviewer posted multiple negative reviews of HVAC companies in a limited time period (e.g., a month or less). If this is the case, chances are the reviewer is a competitor. The business development manager can then contact the review site and present the evidence to get the negative reviews removed.

For negative reviews from customers, the business development manager should reach out to the customer and attempt to identify the problem with a resolution that will satisfy the customer. If the customer fails to update or remove the negative review, the business development manager should then add a very factual, non-defensive response, explaining what was done.

For reviews that are completely malicious and filled with falsehoods, the business development manager should attempt to resolve things with the poster. If that doesn’t work, the business development manager should then try to get the false review removed with the site. If that’s unsuccessful, the business development manager can then post a response that tactfully suggests the reviewer might have mistaken your company for another because the reviewer posted A, B, and C when the company did or does X, Y, and Z.

It’s impossible to make all negative reviews go away. Ultimately, the strategy for reputation management is to bury them. Bury them with positive reviews for the particular review site. Bury them under blog posts, press releases, and videos for the search engines.

Who Should You Hire Into the Business Development Manager Role?

The business development manager needs to have an outgoing personality and be willing to engage in networking. As the face of the company, the person needs to be presentable and attractive. The ability to write well is another requirement (maybe the toughest), along with comfort with computers and social media. Finally, you want someone with enough tact to handle the reputation management aspect of the job.

The ideal candidate is a young, journalism or public-relations major. This degree requires writing skills. They are well-versed in social media before graduating and are likely more extroverted. With the decline of traditional media, they have fewer job prospects than the past.

Compensation should be part of the marketing budget. Use special business cards and promotional coupons to track the networking results and add a variable compensation component for business generated through networking and social media — knowing you will never be able to track everything.

Don’t forget to spiff reviews and reputation management. What gets rewarded, gets done.

In a year’s time, a business development manager can make you a force to contend with in your market. This one position can change your company.

Matt Michel, CEO, The Service RoundtableFor more cutting edge ideas, detailed business processes and procedures, product rebates, technician recruiting and development, and world class training and coaching, visit Service Nation Alliance or call 877.262.3341.

Matt Michel is CEO of the Service Roundtable (ServiceRoundtable.com). The Service Roundtable is an organization founded to help contractors improve their sales, marketing, operations, and profitability. The Service Nation Alliance is a part of this overall organization.