Editor’s note: Listen to the interview to hear what Ray July has to say about online reviews and maintaining company individuality. You can read the transcript below the video, but we recommend hearing it for yourself.
Megan Ellsworth: Hey, everybody. My name's Megan Ellsworth here at rooferscoffeeshop.com. And today I am with one of our influencers, Rae July from Chinook Roofing. And we're going to be talking about the May influencer topic, which is how do you handle reviews? So Rae, tell us how do you guys handle reviews over there?
Rae July: Hey Megan, thanks for having me again. Well, let's see. So we kind of handle reviews with very little interest. And I say that because there was a point where our company did a lot of retail reroofs. So we were working in the arena of doing residential reroofs for homeowners. And we closed that side to our business about four years ago because we started to realize that, quite honestly, it doesn't matter what you do, homeowners are always going to have something to complain about. And with the internet being the way it is right now, everyone is an expert in everything, right?
If you look up our company, for example, you're going to see a review online that we got one star because the person called and we said, "I'm sorry, but we are a business-to-business entity only. We only work with general contractors. We do not work with homeowners. And they wrote a negative review for us because of that. We've never worked with this person. That's the only interaction that they've had with us. And so they write a bad review because of that. So it's kind of you got to just take it with a grain of salt.
There are times where, well, I guess we try to if it's a contractor that we work with, we do our best to make sure that if there is something that we did wrong we take every step to correct that thing so that they can have a positive outlook at the end of it. And again, you're still never going to please everyone 100% of the time, but when it comes to the homeowner reviews from the past that on work that we've done back when we did homeowner reroofs, it's just something that we kind of just take with a grain of salt because it's like there's always two sides. We have our side, they have their side, but the way the internet is set up they're always going to believe the side that's written and is out there.
Megan Ellsworth: Right. Mm-hmm (affirmative). For sure, for sure. So do you guys receive good reviews? Or I've been finding that through these interviews that a lot of people have to kind of seek out their customers to give reviews if they've had like a great experience. Do you guys find that as well where you kind of have to be like, "Hey, can you give us a review" or do people just tend to do it themselves?
Rae July: Because of the setup of our business, we only work directly with general contractors and a review really is one that would come from word of mouth. We don't advertise so a lot of our business that we get is from jobs that we've done. So if we've worked with a general contractor on a project and we did a great job, they will refer us to someone else. It's all about relationships. There's no marketing that we do. Maybe the guys will see us on a job site working and our guys will give them a card for someone in here, or they see our trucks out on the street, but that's about it as far as we go.
Our company doesn't have a Facebook page any longer. I don't think we have a LinkedIn page either. So Chinook really doesn't. We have a website, but a lot of what we do is honestly coming from word of mouth. And so we do our best to make sure that the guy in the trailer or the superintendent is the one that we keep happy because that's the guy who on the next project is going to say, "I want to work with Chinook because I had a great experience last time."
Megan Ellsworth: Right. Exactly. Okay. Thank you. Do you guys happen to do any sort of reviews from your employees? A lot of companies have been talking about that as well.
Rae July: I don't know if it's because it's a small business because we're such a small business, we're kind of insulated almost from that kind of stuff. And so we don't really get that, but you'll usually see it more on larger companies that are more corporate-centric.
Megan Ellsworth: Okay, cool. Well, I love your guys' setup and system and you know who you are. I love that.
Rae July: I do too.
Megan Ellsworth: Thank you for sharing today.
Rae July: You're welcome. Yeah, I was just going to say I think it's important to kind of have that separate identity. It's almost like, yes, we're a roofing company, but we actually do things a little bit differently. There's other companies in this region who operate the same way, but when we took ourselves out of that business of working directly with homeowners it was a conscious decision that we made because we wanted to focus on other areas. And at first when we did that, we thought maybe it was going to come back to bite us in the ass, so to speak, but it hasn't because we were able to move into a more commercial realm and it's been beneficial to us.
Megan Ellsworth: Love it. That's great. I think that is so important and especially now. And with reviews, this topic this month, staying true to yourself no matter if you get a bad review.
Rae July: Exactly, exactly.
Megan Ellsworth: I think that's brilliant.
Rae July: And sometimes we have to fight back when we get bad reviews, right?
Megan Ellsworth: Yeah.
Rae July: I'm a firm believer that if you have a company and you see a bad review online on Yelp or whatever, you have a right to respond to that. You should respond and you should tell your side because maybe telling your side is that influence, so to speak, that might change someone's mind and go, "Oh, well, this is the real story or maybe just a miscommunication" or whatever the case may be, instead of it just being one sided. And that's the problem with reviews. They are just one sided.
Megan Ellsworth: Right? Yeah. Man, this was great. This went not where I was expecting and I love it.
Rae July: Awesome. Always a pleasure.
Megan Ellsworth: Yes. Well, thank you so much, Rae. And I will be chatting with you next month.
Rae July: Awesome. Thank you, Megan.
Rae July is an Estimator at Chinook Roofing & Gutters in Fife, Washington. See her full bio here.