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-   -   The menace of on line grades and reviews (https://www.contractortalk.com/f16/menace-line-grades-reviews-127736/)

Ron Pestone 12-16-2012 08:55 AM

The menace of on line grades and reviews
 
THE MENACE OF ON LINE GRADES AND REVIEWS
We are living in a time when the people we as contractors work for go on line and review and grade our performance. While in the abstract this might seem like a wonderful idea in reality is itís an awful idea. Letís start with the facts: we as contractors have to bid to get a job, owners who are skillful or worse who pretend to be novices but are in reality sharks use the process to drive the price in the gutter. So now we have a job, how many times has an owner told you he didnít like the way the job turned out or he wanted to make changes, and of course did not want to pay for any of the extra work. How many times have they tried to squeeze you for extras? Then there is the matter of payment, some pay so bad they should be arrested. The list goes on and on and now they can add internet reviews and grades to their arsenal. More than a few use the internet as the ultimate blackmail tool hidding behind their computers writing self serving reviews. I for one and many of the contractors I know are sick of it! All contractors should weigh in on this as it affects all of us.

Tom Struble 12-16-2012 09:07 AM

yea... but what are you going to do?

480sparky 12-16-2012 09:16 AM

Myself, I don't pretend to be a novice.:no:

killerdecks 12-16-2012 10:30 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ron Pestone (Post 1651798)
THE MENACE OF ON LINE GRADES AND REVIEWS
We are living in a time when the people we as contractors work for go on line and review and grade our performance. While in the abstract this might seem like a wonderful idea in reality is itís an awful idea. Letís start with the facts: we as contractors have to bid to get a job, owners who are skillful or worse who pretend to be novices but are in reality sharks use the process to drive the price in the gutter. So now we have a job, how many times has an owner told you he didnít like the way the job turned out or he wanted to make changes, and of course did not want to pay for any of the extra work. How many times have they tried to squeeze you for extras? Then there is the matter of payment, some pay so bad they should be arrested. The list goes on and on and now they can add internet reviews and grades to their arsenal. More than a few use the internet as the ultimate blackmail tool hidding behind their computers writing self serving reviews. I for one and many of the contractors I know are sick of it! All contractors should weigh in on this as it affects all of us.

I've even had several try to beat me up with their hoa if we didn't give in to their demands for free xtras. I have had ex employees and ex wives try to do as much damage as possible. It is necessary that you reply to any negative reviews otherwise your silence only screams how right they must be.
The real tragedy in all this, is posts are allwed to be anonymous, should people be required to put their name and address on the post this sheet would disappear fast.
In our own constitution we have been provided the right to due process before our accusers. It seems as though the net has gone the way of the middle ages allowing anonimity to be the rack and the thumbscrew of the modern age. Should enough people band together to fight these review palaces that use them (reviews) for a means of gaining ad revenue, legislation could be enacted to put a stop to this means of public extortion.

480sparky 12-16-2012 10:36 AM

If an anonymous, online review is one that carries any weight with a potential customer, is that really the type of customer you want?

thom 12-16-2012 11:01 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ron Pestone (Post 1651798)
we as contractors have to bid to get a job, owners who are skillful or worse who pretend to be novices but are in reality sharks use the process to drive the price in the gutter. So now we have a job, how many times has an owner told you he didn’t like the way the job turned out or he wanted to make changes, and of course did not want to pay for any of the extra work.

You are not doing your job properly.

Assuming this is residential work (it sounds like it from your on-line complaints stuff), you are selling a commodity while complaining your product is treated like a commodity.

Sell yourself Sell your company, be different, show the difference, sell the difference. People will pay more, oftentimes they are happy to pay more, you just need to show them that they are getting more product, better product, for more money.

I didn't buy my trucks because they were the cheapest, I didn't buy my cars because they were the cheapest. Why would you presume that people will always buy the cheapest remodel?

When I was doing remodel, my standard was to project all my costs (including insurance and other overhead) then double that cost to produce my final price. It was my job to sell that price. That required me differentiating my product from my competitors products. I included enough money in the job to do it well while making my customers happy. Really, I didn't have unhappy customers.

Of course remodel is stressful. After 20 years of it, I went to building spec homes, a far easier way to make a living.

Tom Struble 12-16-2012 11:49 AM

this seems to be more of a ''contractor'' than a sole prop. skilled craftsman type businesses problem.. i wonder why?

EthanB 12-16-2012 12:07 PM

I am familiar with the potential negatives of the online review process but I think the empirical evidence shows strongly that it helps customers research businesses with more accuracy. Plenty of businesses have had problems with false reviews or have had legitimate reviews pulled but they are not a large percentage. Very few systems, especially on the internet, are perfect.

A productive and ethical contractor should be able to generate many more positive reviews than a hack. In the old "system" two contractors would provide a few references. The good contractor would give the number of three recent projects, the hack would give the number of the one project they got right and two numbers to friends who would lie for them.

The new spam filters in Google are designed to eliminate the bogus reviews and plenty of legitimate ones are removed in the process but not nearly as many as the spam. Familiarize yourself with the criteria for the different review systems and offer multiple options for your customers when you ask for the review. Asking your customer to create an account just to leave you one review is pretty likely to get that review blocked because it appears spammy.

ohiohomedoctor 12-16-2012 12:12 PM

Ethan,

A huge THANKS fpr the link last night. I stayed up reading for hours and hopefully will be able to get this resolved.

To the op. Offer a discount to people with active google + accounts. I wish more people used google + anyways because in my opinion the platform and os are far superior to fb.

If you have happy customers you will likely get good reviews. Then some third world nazi will destroy all of your work because of a service area discrepancy. That being said just be a walmart greeter.

killerdecks 12-16-2012 01:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 480sparky (Post 1651868)
If an anonymous, online review is one that carries any weight with a potential customer, is that really the type of customer you want?

I want names and addresses to stop all the sheet.

480sparky 12-16-2012 02:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by killerdecks (Post 1651984)

I want names and addresses to stop all the sheet.

So you're volunteering?

killerdecks 12-16-2012 02:20 PM

I haven't written negative reviews about any body and if I did I wouldn't hide behind anybodys skirts. To repeat myself.
If people wanna write bad stuff or good stuff they should have their name in the front of their post. I know for a fact I have had 3 disgruntled employees write trash under the veil of anonymity

workingintx 12-17-2012 12:35 PM

We actually have this problem now.

We do a ton of small jobs every day. We have about worked for thousands of customers the past 3 years. We follow up with every single customer after the job and do a quick survey and post both our negative and positive survey results on our website and facebook site. For the negative survey results or folks we just can't get in touch with, we have had around 30 jobs go south for one reason or another these past 3 years. We have rectified all of them except 3. Out of those thirty, we have the following number of negative complaints on online review sites.

On Angies List we have 3 complaints with an F Rating. 1 Complaint was from someone that we just couldn't get due to conditions beyond our control, the other two were quality issues which we resolved by either redoing the work or refunding their payment.

On Yahoo Reviews, we have 1 complaint from a guy who was a complete nut(he refused to take his money back when I tried refunding it to him by personally delivering it to him).

The bottom line is that reviews don't actually match our true performance or customer satisfaction level that we are getting when we do our followup phone survey. It's very frustrating to me because it personally affects mentally and physically when one of my customers isn't happy. I don't know what to do online to promote our good ratings and hundreds/thousands of happy customers.

The problem I still have yet to figure out is, how do I get my large number of happy customers to post raving or happy reviews for us on these review sites? I have tried reminding folks and they say "yeah yeah, no problem I'll do that for you", but nothing ever comes of it.

How do you guys actually get folks to post good online reviews about your company if the job was actually done to their satisfaction?

killerdecks 12-17-2012 01:15 PM

Only the freaks and buttheads post stuff out there. Very few are willing to do any good, they figured that's what they paid you for, why should they have to do anything else.

EthanB 12-17-2012 01:16 PM

Phil Rozek is my favorite adviser in this area. He's got a great perspective on gathering reviews.

Here is on of his posts on explaining Google reviews to customers. I think the biggest hurdle is showing customers HOW they can leave you a review.

I can't really tell you the best way to get your customers to actually do the work, that really depends on your personality. Nagging would work for some but not for others. Follow up emails or postcards will work. Incentives are a no-no. The best time to ask is right after you have finished and they are telling you to your face how happy they are. That's the time to say "It would be really helpful if you'd write me a review like that. A lot of my customers check Google/Yelp/Angieslist/etc. before deciding on a contractor."


@Killer - I know why you feel like this but I bet a lot of your business is from word-of-mouth. Those are all good people giving you praise. The adage "A happy customer will tell one friend but an unhappy customer will tell everyone they meet" seems true in any format.

killerdecks 12-17-2012 02:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by EthanB (Post 1652866)
Phil Rozek is my favorite adviser in this area. He's got a great perspective on gathering reviews.


@Killer - I know why you feel like this but I bet a lot of your business is from word-of-mouth. Those are all good people giving you praise. The adage "A happy customer will tell one friend but an unhappy customer will tell everyone they meet" seems true in any format.

Yup we still did 200 decks this year, lots of people said we had a great reputation,
The thing that gets me most upset is when any issues are resolved the sheet still stays there and there is no recourse.

bauler 12-17-2012 03:45 PM

I wouldn't waste a moment on worrying about it. You just can't please everyone, you'll drive yourself insane. I bet the majority of your customers don't look you up anyway. I have read reviews on tools where they can't figure out how to get it out of the box and its the tool company's fault. Stay away from the cheapskates.

killerdecks 12-17-2012 05:50 PM

it seems as the very people you give a "special" to just to keep busy in the winter are the most viral of all.

J F 12-17-2012 06:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ron Pestone (Post 1651798)
THE MENACE OF ON LINE GRADES AND REVIEWS
We are living in a time when the people we as contractors work for go on line and review and grade our performance. While in the abstract this might seem like a wonderful idea in reality is itís an awful idea. Letís start with the facts: we as contractors have to bid to get a job, owners who are skillful or worse who pretend to be novices but are in reality sharks use the process to drive the price in the gutter. So now we have a job, how many times has an owner told you he didnít like the way the job turned out or he wanted to make changes, and of course did not want to pay for any of the extra work. How many times have they tried to squeeze you for extras? Then there is the matter of payment, some pay so bad they should be arrested. The list goes on and on and now they can add internet reviews and grades to their arsenal. More than a few use the internet as the ultimate blackmail tool hidding behind their computers writing self serving reviews. I for one and many of the contractors I know are sick of it! All contractors should weigh in on this as it affects all of us.

An equally important online menace is posters who won't use a bit of paragraph spacing in their #$%#@ posts, so they can be easily read. :censored:

ohiohomedoctor 12-17-2012 08:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by workingintx (Post 1652823)
We actually have this problem now.

We do a ton of small jobs every day. We have about worked for thousands of customers the past 3 years. We follow up with every single customer after the job and do a quick survey and post both our negative and positive survey results on our website and facebook site. For the negative survey results or folks we just can't get in touch with, we have had around 30 jobs go south for one reason or another these past 3 years. We have rectified all of them except 3. Out of those thirty, we have the following number of negative complaints on online review sites.

On Angies List we have 3 complaints with an F Rating. 1 Complaint was from someone that we just couldn't get due to conditions beyond our control, the other two were quality issues which we resolved by either redoing the work or refunding their payment.

On Yahoo Reviews, we have 1 complaint from a guy who was a complete nut(he refused to take his money back when I tried refunding it to him by personally delivering it to him).

The bottom line is that reviews don't actually match our true performance or customer satisfaction level that we are getting when we do our followup phone survey. It's very frustrating to me because it personally affects mentally and physically when one of my customers isn't happy. I don't know what to do online to promote our good ratings and hundreds/thousands of happy customers.

The problem I still have yet to figure out is, how do I get my large number of happy customers to post raving or happy reviews for us on these review sites? I have tried reminding folks and they say "yeah yeah, no problem I'll do that for you", but nothing ever comes of it.

How do you guys actually get folks to post good online reviews about your company if the job was actually done to their satisfaction?

One thousand customers in one year is around 3 a day. That is a lot. If only 3 of them were unhappy then you should have plenty good reviews.

What sort of projects do you do tobhave such a high volume of clients?


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