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Are You a Member of the Latest "Online Grapevine"?

April 12, 2007
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There is a new kid on the block. The online block that is, and her name is Angie. If you haven’t heard of Angie’s List (www.angieslist.com), it is an online community “grapevine” where members report and grade service companies.

You must be rated by a member to be on the list. Many companies are on there and don’t even know it. It comes as a surprise when a caller says, “I found you on Angie’s List.”

Three Ways Angie’s List Can Benefit Your Business
  1. 1. Credibility. We have found that members really use the list. I got a call from out of state not too long ago. A client is moving into our area and, although Angie’s List wasn’t the primary source where she got our name, she commented that it was “good to see us on Angie’s List.” So, the first way that being on the list benefits you is credibility.

    The absolute best form of credibility you can get is someone’s unsolicited word. In other words, the client who rates you on Angie’s List has no other motivation than to contribute to the common good that serves us all, to help others avoid unscrupulous companies and have the best experience.

    That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t reward people for talking about you, in fact, when you tell other’s about Angie’s List, they send you a note in the mail with a huge bag of M&M’s! I love it! (my belly doesn’t, but that’s another story). So, when someone gives you an “A” rating, it speaks volumes.
  2. Accountability. This may not appeal to some cleaners out there, but the reason that you are reading this piece right now is because you want to improve your business. The accountability a list like this provides you will certainly help you improve your business because it keeps you on your toes. We have an “A” rating with Angie’s List at this writing, but on one occasion I pulled up the list to see how we were doing. To my horror we had an “F” rating on quality. I was highly upset, to say the least! I wanted to hurt someone (mainly the technicians who did the job). Upon further investigation, I found that the technicians did not do a few things that we promised. My company responded and offered to return and even offered a refund, but the client refused. But the nice thing about Angie’s List is that you can respond to each report. And it doesn’t have to be a bad report either. You can reinforce your credibility by posting nice comments after someone rates you on the site.
  3. Money. I know what you are probably thinking: “Howard, that’s really nice that you can build credibility and be accountable, but how do I make money with Angie’s List?”

    We track all of our marketing whether it is paid or not. The best thing about Angie’s List is that it is free advertising. The client pays about $5.95 per month to be a member, and they can choose from a myriad of industries ranging from plumbing to snow removal. But you don’t pay a dime. Our reports have revealed that my company generates about $24,000 per year directly from Angie’s List. Once you are on the list and have a good rating, you can place an ad on the site. Plus, they have a magazine that goes out to members. You can place an ad in the magazine, and you may also end up on the Page of Happiness or be honored with the Super Service Award (our company received that designation for 2005 and 2006). You can then use the Super Service Award logo on your site, and you can purchase decals to put on your truck.


How Companies Are Rated
Companies are rated on Price (we usually don’t get an A rating is this area because we charge more than other carpet cleaners), Quality, Responsiveness, Punctuality, and Professionalism. The ratings range from “A” being the best to “F” being the worst. We normally get an A in all the other categories.

How to Get On the List
You cannot pay to get on the list. You have to be referred. So, I would recommend that you get some of your clients to join Angie’s List and talk about you.

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