Going Beyond Social Reviews
In today’s technological, and, social media driven world, nearly all of us turn to reviews in some form or another. Whether we are purchasing a car, looking at a new coffee pot or in search of a contractor, we want, and even need, to hear other peoples’ experiences with the same item or company. However, nothing quite beats the power of good old fashioned ‘Word of Mouth’. It is estimated that 77% of consumers are more likely to buy a new product or hire a particular company when learning about it from friends or family. In addition to that, an estimated 61% of customers read online reviews, whether from Yelp, Facebook, or industry specific niche review sites such as Home Advisor, before making a purchase decision. Unfortunately with the good… also comes the bad. People tend to be MORE likely to share negative experiences, especially in the online world.
Social reviews are subjective, which means that they’re written from a single person’s point of view, at that particular moment in time. Regardless of whether a particular negative comment has merit, what’s even more important is weighing other factors that can tell you a lot more about that company than a few positive or negative comments.
When you take into account experience, achievements, affiliations, and business reputation, you then get a complete profile of a company, and can factor all of these components together, and develop a more comprehensive picture than you can with reviews alone.
Things are even worse when you consider the state of social reviews. Some businesses are staking their entire success on triggering as many positive reviews as possible on recognized sites like Yelp, Angie’s List, Amazon, Better Business Bureau, Bing Places, and Google. And, some companies are willing to PAY for those reviews, just as some companies are willing to PAY for negative reviews against their competitors. Sadly, both situations happen. Ironically, 68% of consumers trust reviews MORE if there are positive AND negative comments. Why? Because no business can please 100% of their customers, 100% of the time. The old saying ‘You can’t please everyone’ is true, not just in our personal lives, but also in our professional lives.
When it comes to choosing a roofing contractor – or any other business for that matter – there are four main factors that we think are much more important than social reviews alone.
- Business Reputation
1. Why is experience so important when it comes to the quality of a business?
Let’s say, hypothetically, you are told that you need complex surgery in which one wrong move could mean the end of your life. Would you choose a first-year surgeon just out of their residency with limited experience, or pick the surgeon that has performed hundreds of the same procedure and has been recognized as a leader in their field? Exactly!
While, most certainly, roofing isn’t surgery, the mindset is the same. When you are looking for a home restoration company, you want the assurance that the people performing the job, know what they are doing. The number of years in business and their ability to satisfy customers says a lot about a company. The longer a company has been around, the more confident you can feel about the quality of workmanship, their knowledge on not just their core services, but also in how to work with insurance companies, handle critical situations and their overall responsiveness to customer needs and concerns.
American Dream Home Improvement has been in business since 1999 and has completed more than 100,000 jobs, helping more than 60,000 customers along the way with their home improvement projects, from small repairs to major renovations and storm repair.
Most of our customers are satisfied with the work we have done for them, but it’s true that occasionally we get a customer that is not fully satisfied, where there might be factors on either side that result in a negative review. This is true of every contractor, and every business out there.
But here’s what you should ask yourself: Should a handful of negative reviews outweigh the thousands of customers we’ve made happy?
We don’t think so. We believe looking at online social reviews should only be one of the factors you consider when picking a contractor.
2. What has the business you’re interested in achieved? Has it grown and expanded its services over the years or remained stagnant?
Business achievements are not only about how many customers a company has acquired or projects that have been completed, but are also about growth and validation from satisfied customers.
Is it a business that is constantly trying to improve how it does things and learning new methods, materials and workmanship skills, or has it remained locked into a mindset of, ‘This is how we’ve always done it’, even if the rest of the industry has moved on to better practices?
Our business is a great example of what we’re talking about.
When American Dream Home Improvement first opened, we were a team of five people working out of a small house, focused on interior remodeling.
As opportunities presented themselves, we took the risks necessary for growth and expanded from interior remodeling to exterior home improvement and storm restoration. At that time in Illinois, few companies were in the business of restoring roofs damaged by bad weather.
That was the genesis of our growth from a team of five to a leader in the storm restoration industry that now employs more than 500 people in 26 states. We have been recognized by Roofing Contractor Magazine who named us one of the Top 100 Roofing Contractors from 2013 to 2015. These kind of achievements and recognition are not handed out to just any contractor.
3. What Affiliations Does the Company Have?
One of the sure signs that a business is thriving is confirmation from professional organizations that are well respected within their industry.
For example, a legal firm that is a recognized member of Super Lawyers has a mark of distinction from a respected organization that is known for only choosing the very best.
When a company has established these kinds of relationships, it says something about the way they conduct business, and provides you with another means of measuring the likelihood that they’ll do a good job.
In the roofing contractor industry, affiliations are an important way for you to measure one company against another.
We have spent over 30 years earning impressive affiliations, which include:
- 1st Nationally Certified Owens Corning Roofing Platinum Preferred Contractor
- EPA Lead-Safe Certified Firm
- National Roofing Contractors Association Member
- VSI Certified Vinyl Siding Installer
- Highest Rating With Guild Quality
Before you decide which company is the right one for your needs, make sure that the company has met the highest standards of member organizations and associations within its industry.
4. What is the business reputation of the company that you are researching?
Outside of what might be a handful of less than stellar reviews that could be seen to tarnish the reputation of a business, studies have shown that a company’s reputation is also measured on the following key characteristics:
- Ethics – Does the company promote trust through its actions?
- Workplace Culture – Does the company have a skilled team that enjoys coming to work and performing at high levels?
- Financial Status – Is the company on solid financial footing with ongoing growth and expansion?
- Leadership – Is the company using new technology, and leading the way in its industry?
- Management – Does the company have a plan for the future through steady management
- Social Responsibility – Is the company involved in local charitable organizations?
- Customer Service – Does the company value its customers and ensure that their needs are met even if it means losing money on a job?
- Quality – Does the company use quality materials for its products and services?
- Reliability – Is the company known for its consistent delivery of high-quality service? Does it provide guarantees to customers about that service?
- Personal Appeal – Is it a company that makes customers feel good about choosing them?
Our company believes that these 10 components are the essence of what sets a business apart from its competition.
We hire people that live in the communities where they work and military veterans because we value their honesty and hard work.
Our continued growth is clear evidence of our solid financial status, and we are heavily involved in our communities, especially through the Owens Corning Deployment Project that builds homes for veterans and their families.
We have designed our own customer relationship management (CRM) software that is used by every one of our subcontractors to maintain the quality our customers and our partners expect from us.
As an experienced and successful contractor in 26 states, American Dream Home Improvement believes that we have built a company with a solid foundation that keeps growing and getting better with each passing year, and with each and every customer.
We hope this guide has been insightful and will help you make a more informed decision when it comes to choosing a contractor in the future.