Finding good quality service companies is a common challenge that many home owners face. It seems like there are so many specialists that sometimes a new home-owner feels the need for a small team of experts to keep their investment in good shape. Home owners often wonder who they can trust that will do a good job for a fair price. With all the advertising out there, it’s hard to know which companies to trust. Here’s a short outline to help make it easier to spot good quality companies.
Use On-line Business Directories to find Quality Service Companies
What is ironic is that there are more ways than ever before to find good quality companies. The first on-line source most often checked is the Better Business Bureau. And while the BBB certainly is one source to look at, it is not always the most reliable. The reason for this is that many clients may get frustrated, but not enough customers will file a complaint with the BBB. As long as no complaints are made, the company retains their positive rating. And contrary to popular belief, reputable companies also can also get bashed on the BBB website despite taking serious steps to resolve a complaint. This happens when the consumer refuses to be satisfied with the company’s resolution efforts.
Look for On-line Reviews from Real Customers to find Quality Service Companies
So, what is the next place most often checked when trying to find good quality companies? On-line reviews on third party platforms like Yelp, Google, and Yahoo. These type of on-line directory (or search) services are always worth looking into. However, there are still issues to be had in this category of research as well. First, Yelp is notorious for blocking legitimate reviews due to ‘grammar, punctation, etc.” And in today’s text-friendly world, reviewers are often not grammatically correct. Google is also often considered an excellent source for 3rd party verification of a company’s reliability & credibility. Unfortunately, Google reviews need to be taken with a grain of salt as well. With fierce competition in many industries, many business owners will admit they have been plagued by false negative reviews (with little recourse). What is the solution? Ultimately, it involves reading through enough reviews on these platforms to get a sense for the overall theme.
What kind of themes are you looking for in the reviews posted? Here are a few questions to ask:
- Is the overall sentiment positive?
- Do the negative reviews cite specific issues that the company is trying (or has tried) to address?
- Do the reviews seem genuinely written by actual customers? (too many that are all the same or 80% similar content could indicate false reviews)
Look for Award-Winning Companies
Another way to you can check out a business is to see what types of awards and recognition it’s recently received. In North Alabama, there are several recognition programs that try to use objective criteria, in addition to the Best in Business Award. As an award program that is designed to recognize excellence, the Best in Business Award Program uses several metrics to determine which local companies should become recipients each year.
In addition to the Best in Business Award Program (which serves Alabama, Middle Tennessee, and Georgia), the Chamber of Commerce Association of Alabama (CCAA) and the Business Council of Alabama (BCA) also recognizes “Small Business of the Year Awards” and those companies are announced at the CCAA/BCA Partnership Annual Meeting/Luncheon in Birmingham, Alabama. In addition to associations and organizations, local chambers of commerce will often provide recognition to local companies for their outstanding contributions or services.
The answer to the question that started this blog is the same as it has been for the past 20 years: Research your service providers as thoroughly as possible. The twist is that now all that info is on-line, and the consumer is tasked with integrating information from several sources:
Cross Reference Multiple Sources to Find High Quality Service Companies
- Recommendations from friends and neighbors
- On-line reviews
- Third party recognition programs (like Best in Business Award, Chamber of Commerce Associations, etc.)
- Personal interactions/interviews
There are really many excellent service providers out there that are willing and able to do good quality work- don’t let a few bad news stories cause excess worry! With all of the on-line tools available, finding good quality services that are reliable can be as easy as drinking a cup of coffee in front of your computer!