Investing in your home can be an exciting endeavor, especially when it comes to kitchen remodeling. The kitchen is often the heart of a home where friends and family gather to make memories. It is an important space that homeowners want to take pride in. After the initial creative phase of perusing cabinet fixtures and countertop samples, it comes time to find a contractor to fulfill your remodel dreams.
It is at this phase where decorative dreams can quickly derail into remodeling nightmares. Horror stories of inflated costs, shoddy craftsmanship and unfinished projects have plagued an alarming number of homeowners. As you begin your own renovation journey, the question is — how does one avoid these pitfalls and end up with the kitchen of their dreams? The answer is, simply, education. Arming yourself with as much information as humanly possible before and during your contractor selection will ensure that you will experience a smooth renovation process with the results that you paid for.
Consumer Reviewers After Word of Mouth
Although licenses, certifications, and concrete requirements are essential to finding a contractor, recommendations and personal instincts are far more valuable to narrowing down and completing your search. Soliciting personal recommendations from family and trusted friends is always preferred, but not necessarily available if you are new to an area or you live far from those trusted connections. In those cases, it is best to turn to online consumer reviews for reference. Consumer reviews are extremely helpful as a frame of reference, but it is essential to know how to navigate these reviews and avoid certain pitfalls that could lead you in the wrong direction.
If you have never before searched for a contractor, as with many first-time inquiries, the initial search begins on Google. The most impactful way to use consumer reviews to your advantage at this stage is through seller ratings. Seller ratings are extensions found on Google that show a business or product’s average star rating, as well as reviews alongside its ads, all based on data collected from customer reviews. By taking an average of negative and positive feedback, seller ratings allow you narrow the playing field and gather an initial roster of contractors to investigate further.
The Next Step: Individual Reviews
Once you have refined your search to a select few contractors, it is time to dive into their individual reviews. There are a few factors worth paying attention to, including the number of reviews and the ratio of positive to negative reviews.
Positive reviews certainly have the power to draw in a new customer base and improve the odds of a final hire. But, too much positivity may have a negative impact in the long run. A contractor that only has positive reviews should absolutely raise a red flag. It is important to know that on certain review platforms, businesses have the ability to remove any reviews that they deem inappropriate, or in some cases, negative. This can skew the overall public opinion of the business, causing a false sense of trust. A healthy balance of positive and negative reviews creates a picture of a well rounded experience on which you can make a more informed decision.
A Red Flag: All Positive Reviews
If a company has only positive reviews and does meet your remodel criteria, it would be extremely prudent to ask them during an in-person interview about any challenges or negative experiences they may have faced. Knowing how a contractor deals with a challenge is far more valuable to a homeowner than a glittering portfolio of successful remodels.
How to Confront Negative Reviews
If you do discover negative reviews within a contractor’s profile, it is important to pay attention to how the contractor responds to the review. Facing negative reviews head on will demonstrate a contractor’s ability to create a positive customer service experience. Many negative reviewers want to know that their opinion is being heard and will feel valued and appreciated by individual attention paid to them. By making customer service recovery public, contractors are also allowing potential clients to see that they care about their customers and are willing to resolve any issues that may arise.
Another potential pitfall of reviews lies in their authenticity, or lack thereof. Contractors may employ incentives to customers to generate positive reviews. This will bulk up the volume and positive light of their reviews, but result in a harder fallout if the actual customer experience turns out to be unsatisfactory.
The only way to avoid fabricated reviews is to ensure that contractors’ reviews are being authenticated by an outside source. For example, Kitchen Magic reviews are authenticated by a customer feedback management team which moderate every review Kitchen Magic receives. Every review that Kitchen Magic receives is guaranteed to be authentic, as well as both legally and third-party compliant.
Consumer reviews are an invaluable tool when searching for the perfect contractor for your home. In addition to personal interviews, well-negotiated contracts, and providing proper certification and proof of insurance, customer reviews will empower homeowners to make the right decision to ensure that their kitchen remodel dreams become reality.