Are your customers telling you the whole truth?
GuildQuality’s profile pages, reviews, and social sharingNovember 2nd, 2015 by
It’s been fifteen years since we launched GuildQuality. Since then, we’ve released new products, introduced some powerful consumer-facing services, and continued to advance our customer surveying and reporting tools.
We’ve also grown quite a bit: Today, hundreds of thousands of homeowners share their feedback with GuildQuality every year, and two thousand companies rely on us to help them deliver exceptional customer experiences.
Given all that we’ve done at GuildQuality and all that is happening in our industry, I thought it timely to share an update on some of the advancements we’ve made in our platform, paying particular attention to the public-facing aspects of GuildQuality: social sharing, ratings & reviews, and Guildmember profile pages.
Where GuildQuality started, and how we evolved to be about so much more than customer satisfaction surveying and performance reporting
A lot has changed since we first launched, but our mission remains the same: We seek to elevate the stature of the building, remodeling, and home improvement industry to a level commensurate with its importance. We’re building a community of quality where everyone has the resources they need to excel, and the best get the recognition they deserve for their commitment to quality.
With the launch of GuildQuality in September of 2003, contractors of all types and sizes gained visibility into the quality of their customer service. From the C-suite to the front lines, our Guildmembers began receiving real-time, high response rate, comment-rich homeowner feedback and performance reporting. With that newfound visibility into their company performance and the performance of their people and teams, our Guildmembers had new tools to measure their progress toward their quality goals.
But our scope didn’t end with operational tools. Homeowners and homebuyers struggled then (and still struggle) to discern between great companies and those that aren’t as committed to delivering exceptional customer experiences. That challenge allows less professional companies to surf on the brands of their more accomplished and more quality-minded peers. And when a single homeowner has a bad experience with their builder, remodeler, or contractor, that bad experience drags down the entire industry.
It became apparent to us very early on that to be successful in our mission—to truly elevate the stature of this industry—we needed to do two things: Help our Guildmembers elevate their game and help homeowners make more informed decisions about who to choose. The feedback that homeowners share via our customer surveying enables us to do both of those things.
So not long after our launch, we began expanding our offering. We unveiled Guildmember profile pages in 2005, social integrations in 2010, reviews in 2011, maps in 2012, GuildQuality Find in 2013, and GuildQuality Answers in 2014.
Given how visible these public-facing web pages and services have become, I thought it worth sharing a more detailed overview of the most popular ones, with answers to some of the questions we think people might be wondering.
Guildmember profile pages
Q. What is a Guildmember Profile Page?
A. Many of our GuildQuality members have a personalized company profile at guildquality.com. We call these Guildmember Profile Pages. They include as much information as a member is interested in sharing: company bios, pictures of their work, videos, and customer feedback.
We love sharing these profile pages, and they receive a tremendous amount of traffic. Roughly two-thirds of guildquality.com’s visitors check them out.
One of our favorite profile pages is our own—we use the GuildQuality application to survey all of the users among our Guildmembers (well over 10,000 people) about their experience with GuildQuality. We survey every user three months after the member joins, and on the anniversary of their join date. Here’s all of our Guildmember feedback on our own profile page.
Q. Does every Guildmember have a Profile Page?
A. Guildmember Profile Pages are one benefit among many available to Guildmembers, and many of our members—particularly those who are focused on improving their performance well beyond their current levels—choose not to publish a profile page.
Q. I see lots of positive comments on some of those pages? Are those for real?
A. They are! We display two types of written homeowner feedback on member profile pages: “Comments” and “Reviews.”
In response to our satisfaction surveys, homeowners share lots of comments about construction quality, communication, or any other question asked in the survey. We refer to these as Comments, and the volume of comments we receive in our customer satisfaction surveying is a big part of our value proposition. The comment-rich feedback adds hugely important context to the ratings shared in our survey responses.
Many are testimonial-like shout-outs, and we make it easy for our members to add these to their profile pages. When published, they look like this:
Reviews are different than comments. These are star ratings that homeowners ask us to publish, and they come with a written description of the type of experience they had working with their contractor. We publish all of the reviews we receive: positive and negative alike. Read more about reviews below.
Q. On some Guildmember profile pages, I see bar charts showing scores for different things like Construction Quality, Communication, or Likely to Recommend. What do those scores mean and where do they come from?
A. Our customer satisfaction surveys enable homeowners to rate their contractor on a scale of zero to four (with zero being the worst and four being the best) in all sorts of categories. Our members can publish a summary of those answers to their profile page, displaying a bar for as many or as few questions as they like. The score for each category indicates the percentage of respondents who answered a three or four to that particular question.
Q. Do all Guildmembers survey all of their customers?
A. It’s our recommended best practice for Guildmembers to survey all customers at least once. We know that many of our members survey all of their customers. We also know that some don’t, and it’s not possible for us to police this on a member-by-member basis. While most of the reasons why a customer might not receive a survey are pretty straightforward (the most common being that the member felt the project was too small to merit a survey), there are undoubtably times when a Guildmember has intentionally left that customer out of the system.
Even if someone doesn’t receive a survey, GuildQuality encourages all customers (we define customers as people who have paid the contractor for services) to share their feedback. See more about this below in the question “Can anyone post a rating and review?”.
GuildQuality Ratings & Reviews
Q. Some Guildmember profile pages show customer star ratings and reviews. Where do those come from?
A. Members can opt-in to including a review question within their customer satisfaction surveys.
For the Guildmembers who have opted in to reviews, we take the customer’s answer to the Likely to Recommend question (which we ask on a five-point scale), display it as a star rating, ask the customer if they would like to publish that rating on the member’s profile page, and then give them an opportunity to elaborate on the rating with a written review. Here’s how that looks from the perspective of someone who’s completing a survey:
Q. Can Guildmembers pick and choose which ratings and reviews they publish?
A. If a member is opted into reviews, the review question gets added to every customer satisfaction survey we send on their behalf.
We publish 100% of the ratings and reviews shared by respondents to the member’s profile page. About 80% of respondents share a rating, and about a quarter of those include a written review.
Q. Are there any instances where a customer would share a rating or review and it later disappears from (or never show up on) the Guildmember’s profile page?
A. There are four scenarios where a review would “disappear” from a member’s profile:
- The person who provided the review asks to have it removed.
- After receiving some ratings and reviews, the member decides to opt out of GuildQuality Reviews. When that happens, we remove 100% of the ratings and reviews that people have previously shared.
- The member has set their profile page to display only the most recent year’s worth of customer feedback, so reviews and ratings that are older than a year won’t appear on the page.
- The member cancels their GuildQuality account, in which case we remove all the customer feedback from the page.
Q. Sometimes the average star ratings on GuildQuality seem to be dramatically different than the average star ratings I see for the same company on some other sites. Why might that be?
A. The feedback we publish on our site comes from actual customers, and the overwhelming majority of it comes via our survey process. We believe that our process—particularly when dealing with the relatively small customer volumes of companies in the home building and home improvement industry—generates feedback that is much more representative of a company’s actual service level than reviews that come from that tiny percentage of customers who are motivated to visit a website and publish something.
In addition, sites that accept feedback from any source are prone to include reviews from people who either 1) were prospective customers but never actually engaged the service provider they’re reviewing, or 2) fake customers (sometimes these are competitors posing as customers and sometimes they are simply fake reviews intended to inflate ratings).
Q. Can anyone post a rating and review, whether or not they receive a customer satisfaction survey?
A. All of our members who are opted into GuildQuality Reviews open themselves up to having unfiltered ratings and reviews published to their profile pages. The overwhelming majority of the ratings and reviews come via our survey process, but customers may also submit reviews directly via the member’s profile page.
Along with their review, they include their address and the date of when the work was done. Before we publish their review, we mail the address a confirmation card. Upon receipt, they’re directed to enter a code to verify their feedback. This process enables us to verify that their review was provided by an actual customer.
At present, we only publish reviews from customers who worked with the company during the time period displayed on the member’s profile page. So if the customer’s experience with the contractor dated from several years ago, and the member only joined GuildQuality last year or they have set their profile page to only display the most recent year’s worth of data, then we don’t publish that review.
We like this process for many reasons. Among my favorites is that the more a company promotes their Guildmember Profile Page, the more likely it is that a customer who hasn’t been surveyed will see it, and be prompted to share their feedback.
Q. I’m a Guildmember, and when I’m reading my survey response notifications, I see that I can click “publish” next to any comment provided by a respondent. What does that do?
A. For comments (as opposed to reviews), this will publish that particular comment to the Guildmember Profile Page, and for members who have their accounts linked to Facebook and Twitter, it will also auto-publish those comments to Twitter and/or Facebook.
Q. It looks like I can also “publish” reviews. What does that mean?
Every review automatically gets published to the Guildmember Profile Page, but as with comments, they only get added to Twitter or a company’s Facebook Timeline when someone clicks “Publish.”