Are your customers telling you the whole truth?
Rebuilding consumer trust in a growing digital worldOctober 31st, 2018 by
According to Edelman’s 2018 Trust Barometer, only 33% of consumers trust media, business, and government institutions. At the same time, Qualified Remodeler’s most recent Customer Satisfaction Report revealed that consumer trust is the most statistically significant service trait among satisfied homeowners. These stats are alarming for several reasons, but mainly because of their implications regarding the growth of the home improvement industry.
In the past, it’s been too easy for bad contractors to mask their performance with a license or bare-minimum code compliance — things that don’t even remotely forecast the quality of service a client can expect. As a result, the level of trust between homeowners and contractors has taken a hit.
The standards of quality are now much higher thanks to stricter regulations and better accountability measures, but unfortunately, the reputation of the industry still suffers and homeowners are still highly skeptical. Consumers are much more informed during the buying process and the methods that once worked to gain their trust are no longer helpful.
These three techniques can help builders and contractors rebuild consumer trust in today’s digital world:
- Collecting online reviews
- Applying for industry awards, certifications, and other distinctions
- Offering incentives
Keep reading to learn more about these strategies in detail, and download “Reputation Management in the Digital World” for an in-depth analysis of this topic and more.
Collecting online reviews
Nowadays, client testimonials can make or break the reputation of a brand. According to Forbes, 90% of consumers read online reviews before visiting a business, and 74% of consumers say that positive reviews make them trust a local business more.
If you end up getting a few negative reviews in the process, that’s okay. They lend authenticity to your brand and can even be a positive way to showcase how your business overcomes project hiccups.
Empowering customers to leave reviews and testimonials is a great way to develop a solid reputation. Establish a process, like surveying with GuildQuality, to ensure your customers are consistently given the opportunity to use their voice online.
Applying for industry awards
Another powerful way to gain the trust of potential clients is to apply for industry awards and designations. It’s one thing to tell people how great you are, but it’s another to be recognized by a third party for your achievements.
Each year, GuildQuality partners with organizations like NARI, James Hardie, and Remodeling Magazine to power Service Excellence Awards. We also hold the annual Guildmaster Awards to recognize companies within our community of quality who consistently deliver exceptional customer experiences.
Receiving a prestigious award is a huge credibility booster for consumers, so consider applying for a couple each year.
Offering an incentive
One of the best ways to get your foot in the door with potential clients is to offer an incentive, such as a free consultation or a complimentary service. This gives the prospect a chance to test drive the real thing without any risk, and it provides your company with an opportunity to gain the client’s trust. The key is delivering on all promises and exceeding all expectations, otherwise, the client will not return.
In our experience, giving people a chance to see our service firsthand is a great way to initiate a relationship and prove our value. Many companies, like Sublime Homes, take the decision-making process very seriously.
“We’re a super small builder, traditionally closing about 12 homes a year, so I am super careful with any investments I make with our sales and marketing budget.” -Amy Alexander, Sublime Homes
However, once they engaged with our customer service team, learned about our product’s features, and then actually started using them, it was more than enough to gain their trust.
About 70% of the clients who engage in GuildQuality’s free trial come aboard as full-time customers. We don’t require any credit card information and there is no obligation once the offer expires. While our situation might be a little different than yours, the same principle still applies: Offer customers a free front-row seat and prove that you are a good fit.
If you want to try out third-party customer satisfaction surveying for yourself, we’ll survey up to 20 customers on your behalf via our phone, email, and mail card process. You’ll receive all survey results in real time and have access to our reporting and marketing tools. The road to building your online reputation starts here!