In the past, I relied heavily on word of mouth, but these days I get the recommendations from friends AND check the online reviews to make decisions. While I think that this behaviour is partially due to being new to a city, I believe it is also because so much information is available to us. So why not use it. For example today I used Google + Reviews to pick where to have a lunch meeting, yesterday I used Amazon reviews to pick a toy for my niece.

How does this apply to the renovation and home industry? Well, the behaviour is the same for making home repair or renovation decisions. 18 months ago, I used HomeStars to pick a plumber to help us setup our washing machine and water softener. Why wouldn’t you pick the best?  In this case, we picked Cornerstone Plumbing who had an average of 9 out of 10. Just 8 months ago, our furnace broke in late January!  We had our old furnace company come in and then hit the computer to find another company to give us a second quote. Who did we pick? Delta Air Systems, they have a 10 out of 10 rating on HomeStars, a great review on Google+ and are part of the Better Business Bureau.  The best part, when we had them replace our furnace they lived up to their awesome reputation.

Do you think that these companies, restaurants and toy companies just hope that their online reputation is great? I don’t think so. They work at it. They follow up with their customers and get feedback, respond quickly to online reviews that are not complimentary and monitor their online reputation, just like they monitor their bottom line.

I am a wife, Mom, third time home owner, and young professional. I would ask, do you think my behaviour is that different from other 30 somethings? If the stats are right and 89% of consumers now check online for reviews prior to making a purchase, then managing your online brand is now an essential part of business.