Sometimes a little straight talk is needed, and when it comes to online reviews it’s time to be honest. Most online reviews are worthless, especially in the world of construction products and services. There are people who only read that last statement and there is a pretty good chance they are going to make some online comment or review stating the guy who writes the “Around the House” column is an idiot, and therein lies the problem.
Every day, homeowners are missing out on great companies and products because they get spooked after reading an online review. Think about it — most online reviews are given by people who post anonymously on a product or service wherein they have a grievance. Yet, their review, which is merely their opinion, is believed by some as if it were the gospel. Our society has become so gullible when it comes to social media.
Most online reviews fall into one of two categories — grievance reviews or staged positive reviews. The smallest category of reviews consists of reviews that are unsolicited, honest and contain constructive positive or negative remarks. Let’s face it, when you are satisfied with a product, even marginally satisfied, unless coerced by the seller, you go on with your daily life. Who has the time to write reviews for every item they purchase? Most positive reviews are a result of a company asking for them, which has more to do with internet marketing than true value-added services.
In the retirement areas of Florida, there are a couple of realities. Although most retirees do not have a work schedule, some retired seniors are the most impatient people in America. Because time is all they have, when someone is late for an appointment or a call is not immediately returned, they become angry. In this current environment of labor shortages and longer delivery times for products, the expectation of punctuality can turn into a casualty. A good company will get a one-star rating from a senior because they could not make an appointment or call them back immediately. Here is what they don’t realize — good companies and craftspeople are busy, and they have more than just one customer. You will have to wait on the best.
Then there are those homeowners who could be given a platinum wrapped Tiffany diamond and they would complain it was too big. In building projects, there is good, better and best in most products and services. Some homeowners buy the cheapest product and pay half the price to get it installed to then demand the best of both. Plus, most homeowners do not have any idea as to the product and project standards and will obsess about a color shading, microscopic glass scratch or natural grain in the product. Just because you have locked in on something doesn’t mean it’s defective. All products have standards of quality and rarely is anything in this world perfect. Unless you are a rich Arabian Sheik who is willing to pay 30 times over for perfection, you must learn to accept the standards.
When there is a grievance between a project owner and a contractor or provider on a construction project, the project owner does not have the right to demean or slander the provider. If a homeowner or project owner truly feels they have been wronged by a provider, there is relief through the court system. However, unless that project owner is willing to file a formal complaint against the contractor or provider, they should be careful with what they write or say, because companies are starting to file lawsuits for libel and slander against people who give negative and dishonest reviews. The identity of authors using an alias and posting anonymously can be discovered. They could be served with a six-figure lawsuit and spend $400 per hour to hire a lawyer to defend them.
The best way to determine if you are hiring a good company is to ask the following four questions:
- How long have they been in business?
- Do they have a local office?
- Are they busy?
- Do your family and close friends use them?
The answers to these questions will tell you more than anything if the company you are considering hiring for your project is good or not. If you are like me, I dismiss most negative online reviews, because these are the people that will never be happy and who are just looking to get something for free.
Don Magruder is the CEO of RoMac Building Supply. He is also the host of the Around the House TV show that airs on LSTV on Xfinity 13, Spectrum 498, Prism 83, and LakeSumterTV.com... M/W/F at 1:00pm and 6:30pm, Tu/Th at 9:00am and 4:00pm, and Saturdays at 7:00am, Noon, and 6:00pm.