A few years back my wife and I needed some housepainting done. The work included both exterior trim and interior work. Not the biggest job in the world but not the smallest. A friend highly recommended a painter and we hired him.
Ultimately the work got done, but the performance and attitude just didn't match up with the 5 star recommendation. The painter didn't make our list of contractors to recommend.
Flash forward a few years and buyer clients from out of town wanted some recommendations for painting their new patio home. We did some research and found two highly reviewed and recommended area painters and provided names and contact numbers to our clients.
The result? Despite the many great reviews for both, ONLY 1 of the 2 bothered to respond to our buyers. The one that did respond came out for the quote and promised a response by that evening. If he lives up to his promises, the painter will have the job.
Perhaps the non-responding painter has a very valid reason for not responding. Family emergency? A tech glitch that kept the message from getting through?
But for the buyers, none of that matters. One responded, one is getting hired.
Now admittedly online reviews are a bit of a stacked deck and just a starting point in a hiring decision.
What business person is going to reach out to the absolute worst client they've had in the last 5 years and ask for a review on Google or Zillow or wherever else they prefer? And I recognize that no matter how good a person or company is, there's going to be that ONE person that's going to be an issue. I am not a firm believer in "the customer is ALWAYS right". Sometimes the customer wants you to do things you can't legally or ethically do, and might just be ticked that you won't do as they say.
The bottom line? Does your real life performance close to matching up with your online persona? Your blog posts, your online reviews, your comments, your Facebook posts, all that and more add up to creating an impression of how you'll perform and set up an expectation for referral partners and potential clients.
And the confirmation starts early in the process with something as simple as responding to an email or answering a phone call. Personally I despise robocallers and it would be easier to just let everything go to voicemail and hope for a message. But whenever possible, I answer and proceed from there, because sometimes that call is from an agent with a referral or an out of area home buyer.
I know not everyone will leave a message, and too often those callers have a list of candidates and the first agent to answer the phone wins.
Answering the phone is just part of making sure my real life performance matches up with the online promises.
And of course there are other tests. If you claim a speciality, the customer is going to quickly figure out if your knowledge doesn't match the claim.
We're in a profession that is rife with people claiming to be gurus to the agents, and all too often when the rubber meets the road you find out they're snake oil salespeople.
It's a match game, claims vs. reality.
Until next Tuesday, just Ask An Ambassador if you need help,
Bill of Bill & Liz aka BLiz