Scandalous news usually ranks higher than anything else, so it shouldn’t surprise any home inspector when a rotten one makes the whole industry look bad. Social media spreads disparaging news like wildfire and before you know it, your business might suffer. Good thing you’re not defenseless in the battle between bad press and good home inspectors.
Combating bad press is mainly a matter of reinforcing the positive aspects of your business as an industry pro. The more that you do to promote the positive aspects, the more you’ll separate yourself from the ne’er do wells. Here are 3 ways to do just that.
#1: Don’t Ignore the Bad Press
Some people like to believe that bad press will eventually go away on its own. But the Internet promises that nothing every truly disappears. A curious home buyer who’s looking for an inspector will easily find a slew of scary stories. So it’s a good idea to address the existence of bad inspectors while promoting the good that you do.
Some home inspectors are lax in their duties. Some are frauds who have little or no knowledge about home systems and fail to report on important defects. And some are genuine criminals.
If you have an online presence – and you should – use it to educate the public about home inspections in general and your business in particular. At the same time, address the existence of bad apples and demonstrate how your business is different.
#2: Use Negative Press to Improve
Some customer complaints might be blown out of proportion, but many of them are rooted in truth. The shortcomings of other inspectors (or even your own) aren’t always a bad thing. Sprout Social says they can be valuable lessons that make your business better. When you try to see things from their perspective, it’s good “both for the reviewer and your future customers.”
Many customers don’t know what home inspections entail. If they did, they might not need your help at all. Unrealistic expectations inspire bad reviews because the customer feels let down. And some inspectors really do a terrible job.
Either scenario gives you the opportunity to make your business stand out. By educating home buyers and other customers about what a home inspection can realistically cover, you’ll minimize disappointment. For example, no inspector can see through the carpet to find some decades-old asbestos tile. And by always striving to do a professional job from the inspection to a comprehensive, timely report, your customers will come to know that you’re reliable. Reliable inspectors are more likely to get referrals and good reviews.
#3: Prove the Nay Sayers Wrong
You can’t erase the fact that one inspector did a terrible job or that you hit a snag and a customer lashed out with a bad review. But you can demonstrate that you’re a cut above. That’s what Technori advises when a new, bad story surfaces. Outperform your past or the latest industry scandal and it will eventually be drowned out.
Just as the actor Robert Downey Jr. shook off a bad period in his life and reinvented himself, you can shake off a bad review or someone else’s bad press by proving that you’re better. “No one cares about what happened in his past because the quality of his work overshadows everything else,” Technori explains. Likewise, a negative past can be overcome, even if it’s your own.
It takes a commitment to excellence and a bit of PR on your own behalf. Use social media to your advantage. Write a blog. Maintain a membership with national and state-level home inspection associations. And always do your very best work for every customer. As long as home inspections are performed by humans, the industry will have its share of human issues.
Accidents happen, people have a bad day and sometimes a very bad person finds his way into the field long enough to do real damage. You can’t outrun bad press. But you can do your part to make the industry better and solidify your good name. In time, you’ll be synonymous with responsible, thorough home inspections. That benefits you and other inspectors who share the same goal.
Good education helps make good inspectors. If you haven’t yet signed up for ICA School’s home inspection course, it’s time to make that leap. Enroll now and you can begin working toward your certification online right away.