The Sign of Quality Still Counts
Anyone involved in the home improvement industry, or running a business selling products and services directly to the consumer, knows how important reputation is. It is why so much time is dedicated to gathering testimonials; proof to potential clients that there is a list of delighted customers eager to share their experiences.
Some of this positivity is employed to work against the bad image generally portrayed by the media – of the rogue trader or the cowboy builder. But is it ever enough? Or is this a clichéd and old fashioned view of a sector worth billions of pounds?
The consumer is spoiled for choice. If they are looking for a plumber or a builder - two of the most popular searches on www.findacraftsman.com - there is no shortage of reviews, ratings and testimonials, all stating that ABC Ltd are exemplary and their work is excellent. These days, it is so easy to give all this feedback from the comfort of your own sofa via your smartphone.
Unfortunately, one of the main reasons so much effort is put into creating a good reputation is the negative side of an industry that adds up to a sizable portion of GDP (£14b according to the FT). The stereotypical image of the small tradesman operating in the home improvement sector is not a good one.
All the hard work put into giving a positive image of your business can be nullified by your competition because they all have the same sort of reviews. Potential customers often just glance at the testimonials on your website, because they expect to see them there and they don’t always pay attention to what is said.
That is why the more discerning craftsman looks for differentiators that are harder to attain, such as membership of The Guild of Master Craftsmen – a personal qualification that means something to the average consumer who wants reassurance and that is not always gained by a simple score out of ten. They want to know if the business they are considering is competent enough to take on the job, that they are properly qualified and that they are insured. Rather than a short testimonial, they want to see evidence - before and after shots of the sort of work they are contemplating having done themselves.
We see a lot of member websites, read a lot of testimonials and look at a lot of pictures, and it is hard to avoid coming to the conclusion that simplicity still works. That is why The Guild logo is so powerful…it is seen in an instant and it conveys such a powerful message. Galleries of project work are also great…people see similar sorts of problems to the one they face being solved and in conjunction with the Guild logo it gives them the confidence to proceed.