Many of you will have not been too surprised at the results of a BBC Inside Out investigation which showed that fraudulent tradespeople can advertise their services on two trusted trade websites without any experience. Although it must be said that the cases illustrated were for building handymen.
We all know that the best promotion for any business is the recommendation by a previous customer. They have no reason to recommend a business unless they were truly satisfied by the results and we are much more likely to believe them than a statement by the owners of the business.
The problem for me comes when I am not convinced that the customer has the necessary knowledge to rate the work of the business. I would urge you to look at some of these ratings and the phrases you will see time and time again are: ‘they were very tidy’, ‘very polite’, ‘nothing was too much trouble’, ‘very punctual’, etc. Now don’t get me wrong, all these attributes are very commendable and I would value them in choosing a tradesman. However, what I would really like is the reassurance that I will get a good job, well executed and using quality products which will stand the test of time.
Therein lies the conundrum. The vast majority of us do not have the skills or knowledge to recognise the relative quality of the work; we rely on trust, and we’re back to square one. The ideal situation would be for suitably qualified professional to rate the work of other professionals and to be paid for doing so. Clearly, the ratings would have to be done blind to rule out any bias and possibly be based outside the normal operating area of the examiner.
This could then be layered on top of the service rating given by the customer and that would provide a rating which would be really valuable to all concerned?