Let me know if this has ever happened at your business. Your company provides great service to a new customer. Your employee answers the phone correctly, and the technician arrives on time to fix the problem on his or her first visit. Of course, this is done for what you consider a fair price. All seems to be well.
A few days later, your company is getting beat up on a website like Yelp from that very same customer. While the homeowner did not have the decency to share this concern over the phone, he or she is quick to tell the online world your prices are unfairly high, your employees were unfriendly, and you took too long to complete the job. Take your pick on the complaint — it doesn’t matter, this is hurting your company’s reputation.
No matter how hard you try, some people just can’t be satisfied. What if you could go back in time and hear from other businesses in your town about this specific consumer? Perhaps a local plumber had a similar experience and the painter down the street also received negative feedback from the customer. With that information at hand, you might say thanks, but no thanks, when that customer rings your phone. If you have the same personality traits as I do, you might even refer them to your competitor.
WEBSITE REVIEWS CUSTOMERS
Scott Carzo, a landscaping contractor from Boston, grew tired of such rotten customers and decided to do something about it. He created www.contractorscustomers.com, which he deems “a reverse Angie’s List or Yelp — a website where businesses can write and search for reviews on customers.”
The website was launched in December, though Carzo admits he’s been thinking about the idea for nearly a decade. For now, the website is free to use, though I’m sure once the contractor base has grown large enough, they’ll likely charge a fee. Being only two months in, there are not a ton of nationwide entries at this point. However, in Carzo’s hometown of Boston, he’s built quite a database.
Basically, after completing a job, a contractor posts a review of the customer. Of course, most will be positive, but a few won’t be. And, all members of the site will have full access to all of the reviews and may be able to search a prospective customer by name or address.
“Even avoiding one customer who is not a good match for your company is valuable in regard to money, effort, and time,” said Carzo. “There is value in avoiding a potential mismatch. This helps you identify a customer with whom a couple of professionals have not had the best experiences. There is a small segment of people who don’t treat people fairly. They clearly do not wish to have an equitable relationship.”
This is certainly not an endorsement for the site. I have not used it, but I do think it is an interesting concept. It’s probably worth taking a look at since, at this point, there is no cost. If you’re not interested, I would advise attempting to find alternative measures to accomplish the same goal. This can be as simple as comparing notes with a few other business owners in town.
And, be sure you’re monitoring review sites like Angie’s List, Yelp, and others. If you’re not, people visiting these sites are only getting half of the story. And, while you should not turn it into an online aggressive argument, make sure people reading know your company cares, performs good work, and isn’t afraid to answer complaints when and if they surface.
Good luck out there.
Publication date: 2/22/2016