Reviews - why we don't pay for them and why you should care

Every now and then our clients draw attention to our reviews and how good they are. We are proud of the business we run and we take many steps to safe guard our reputation. One of the ways we do this is by having open lines of communication with our customers. If you, as a customer ever need to go online and complain it means that we have not done our job. We are only human, we make mistakes, just as we are fully prepared to fix them.

It is common knowledge in our industry that people sometimes pay for reviews. It is unfortunate but as a consumer it is easy to spot. Are all the reviews worded the same? They’re probably fake. Are all the reviews for a service (such as maintenance) that the contractor only performs as a secondary service? They’re probably fake. Are all the reviews within a realistic time-frame, is a lifetime warranty any good from someone with only 10 months of reviews? They’re probably fake.

We see reviews being manipulated by the big franchise shops all the time, adding hundreds of out of state reviews and strangely worded “service encounters” to their companies online presence but in this case it is easy to just sort their reviews by lowest to highest. It becomes apparent that sometimes the only resort their clients have is complaining online. Is that the type of company you want to do business with?

We also see new companies manipulate their online reviews. In our first two years, we had approximately one hundred clients, of which four reviewed us honestly. Of those four, two were family. Hey, we get it. Starting a new business is hard! This is a realistic target. We have heard stories from Colorado Springs where contractors that have been in business less than a year but have a plethora (40+) of five star reviews. This is taking the friends and family thing to a whole new level. As a direct result of being run by salespeople not contractors, unfortunately for the consumer, this results in unrealistic expectations as all too quickly it becomes apparent that the majority of reviews are fake and that a contractor with less than a year’s experience isn’t really who you want working on your most important asset.

These days the internet gives you an abundance of review options. Google is a great place to start. Remember to always sort reviews lowest to highest. Check out a company’s Facebook page, how do they interact with customers? Make sure to look a business address. Is your contractor working out of a strip mall or a business park? That is usually a major red flag. If using a payment based review platform like Yelp, Angie’s List or Home Advisor remember that some “sponsored” content will always be viewable first. We love Yelp’s button at the bottom of the page that says “XX reviews not currently recommended “. We call this the “juicy stuff” button. Lots of sites and apps exist specifically to help the consumers find the right contractor. We encourage our clients to use all of them when making an informed decision.

We don’t pay for reviews. We think that honesty should still mean something and we hope the customer thinks that too.

Melanie King