Do you ever take the time to read your competitors’ online reviews?
If you don’t, you’re missing out on valuable insights about your opposition and the state of the solar industry in general.
You may have seen a few online reviews about Solar City, and it was probably a sobering experience. Solar City is arguably the most well-known installer in the country—but it’s also a company that has had plenty of negative feedback.
At one point, Solar City held almost 40% of the residential market, but this share has dropped considerably in recent times. While the company has a great deal of work to do to turn things around, understanding and learning from its mistakes can teach you much about improving your own business.
What Do Solar City’s Reviews Tell Us?
Reading just a handful of the hundreds of Solar City reviews, it’s clear that many customers are unhappy or even angry about their dealings with the company. Most of the complaints stem from substandard customer service, poor communication, and a chronic lack of after-sales support.
In short: Solar City’s customers just aren’t feeling the love.
Reviews such as “Worst service on earth,” “Customer service is a joke,” and “Do not buy—run far, far away,” are startling to read because people don’t make comments like these lightly.
People also complain of delayed (or in many cases, zero) response to phone calls and emails, system faults that go unaddressed, and being completely ignored after the final installation.
While there are a few positive reviews scattered among the negative ones, it’s clear that there are severe problems when it comes to Solar City’s customer service, or lack thereof.
What Can You Learn from Negative Solar City Reviews?
Competitor reviews are a terrific way to fine-tune your business because they’ll tell you exactly what customers want and don’t want out of their solar experience.
If there’s one issue that comes up again and again, it’s a lack of communication.
Large companies such as Solar City often struggle to maintain contact between employees and customers, and it results in people feeling confused, frustrated, or completely ignored—and ready to jump online and tell the whole world about it.
If you run a business with a small team of employees, you have the opportunity to deliver personalized service and build strong, long-lasting relationships with your clients. Unlike dealing with a large company that involves talking to a different person (or department) every time, your customers can get to know your staff and become more familiar with your people and personalities.
In an industry that relies on consumers making significant financial investments, communication and customer service should be the foundation of everything you do. Large companies often seem cold and impersonal, so you can exceed expectations and build a customer base that actively supports you.
How Can You Encourage Your Own Positive Reviews?
By reading feedback about your competitors, you can identify the areas that you need to focus on to generate more happy customers, direct referrals, and five-star reviews.
Here are four key areas that you should pay particular attention to:
1) Keep your customers “in-the-loop.”
Reading the Solar City reviews, it’s evident that most complaints could have been avoided with better communication. Throughout the customer’s entire journey—from their initial contact to the commissioning of their system—you need to keep your communication channels wide open. Remember, every contact you have with a customer is a chance to either build or erode your relationship.
2) Be honest and ethical.
While many solar companies pride themselves on honesty and integrity, others have generated hundreds of complaints about dishonest and deceptive sales tactics. As good installers know all too well, unethical competitors don’t just damage their own reputation, but everyone else’s as well. Even if companies around you aren’t always doing the right thing, you have the chance to set a new standard that others can follow—and you’ll receive more customer referrals in the process.
3) Keep your promises.
Nothing infuriates customers more than being told something will happen, only to be let down when it doesn’t. Whether it’s replying to a question, making a follow-up call, or simply emailing a receipt, if you tell a customer that you’re going to do something, do it.
If you’re unable to keep a promise, contact the customer with an update. Even if your client is unhappy with the result, they will appreciate that you took the time to keep them informed.
4) Whatever you do, don’t ignore complaints.
The customer’s journey doesn’t end with the final installation. If a system has a fault, there’s a problem with equipment, or they have an issue with a staff member, most people will be patient and understanding provided that they know that someone is actively addressing the problem. Treat every complaint seriously, empathize with the customer, take notes, and be quick to arrange a solution.
Need More Expert Advice?
The hallmark of every good solar company, large or small, is that they always strive to get better. Reading the reviews of major competitors such as Solar City can give you the information you need to create a flawless customer experience.
If you’re interested in further reading about how to succeed in the competitive solar market, visit the Solerus Energy help center for a comprehensive list of expert advice and information.
We are a provider of premium solar equipment from many of the world’s best-known brands, but we also work with solar contractors to generate system designs and connection permits and assist with many other aspects of selling and installing solar systems.
The next time you come up against a large national company, focus on the things you do best, and show the customer why working with your company is a rewarding experience.
Solerus is a trusted solar energy equipment supplier, empowering contractors to develop agile solutions for commercial and residential clients. We provide a range of best-in-class solar products that are backed by an industry-leading 25-year warranty, designed to provide you with unparalleled peace of mind.
To learn more about reducing solar customer acquisition costs and the equipment you’ll need to have happy customers at a price that you’ll love, feel free to contact one of our knowledgeable specialists today!