If you do a search on how to clean yourchimney, what are the odds that the information will be correct? As the Internet boomed, consumers have been bombarded with an information overload. What websites or ads do they believe? Anybody can put content out there, but what are you to believe? The consumer is more informed than at any other time in history. The challenge is how to sift through all the clutter to get the real scoop. Social media has organized the chaos.
If you have ever researched something online, you know what I mean. Do you trust what Apple says about their latest I–pod or do you trust the reviews from consumers that have bought one? A Neilson study found 90% of people trust recommendations from people they know. 70% trust recommendations from people they dont know (up from 9% in 2007). Another study found only 14% of consumers trust advertisements.
These reviews and websites like Angies List are making it harder for the fly by night companies to fly under the radar, and it is helping the reputable companies shine. This is good news for each and every one of us that go out every day and give it our all in service of our customers.
I have met with the owners of many reputable chimney companies over the years. It always seems to be that their biggest source of revenue is from referrals or repeat customers. Customers trust their own experience unconditionally. They also place a high degree of trust on the experience shared from someone they trust. These conversations have been taking place since we did our first chimney cleaning. The only difference is that these conversations are now on steroids.
It would be pretty difficult for a customer to share a good or bad experience with 150 of their friends before social media. Now it happens everyday with a few key strokes.
What are people saying about your company? When I heard people are tweeting about products, services, and brands on Twitter all the time my first reaction was, sure, but they are not talking about chimney sweeps. So I got a Twitter account and searched for my sweep company Lindemann Chimney Service. I was surprised what I found. Here is a recent example:
Tweet #1 Anyone ever used Lindemann Chimney Service? Jim do we need a note to make it clear its the service business not the supply or is this clear enough?
Tweet #2 (by me) I own the company and I promise you our guys will do a world class job for you.
Final Tweet Were going to have you line our chimney on Friday.
To me that is pretty real. My tweet said one thing that I am paying attention. The subsequent tweets from his friends sold the job.
Look up your company on the web. Keep your attention focused on your customer service and avoid unpleasant surprises.