Why we haven’t allowed negative reviews of plant hire companies on iSeekplant.
We’ve long wanted to solve the ‘quality’ problem in plant hire, but been conflicted about how to go about it given there are many shades of grey in plant hire as there are days in the year and in construction – your reputation is everything. The nature of the contracting market is also changing, and plant hire suppliers are being squeezed like never before.
Most of the small to medium sized plant hire companies know that you’re only as good as your last job. A lot of our owner/operator customers pride themselves on the quality of their work and skill of operation. Their reputation is their only marketing tool and they rely on word-of-mouth to find them new clients every day.
Whilst plant hire companies are service providers to the construction industry, this doesn’t mean that the contracting client is always right, or that plant hire company has been given every chance to succeed on that site. Scope changes also happen regularly and what is required of a service provider sometimes changes with the weather. If a plant hire company has a bad trot on the site, because the engineer or contracting business hasn’t managed it well, or communication wasn’t effective, or they were hired on unprofitable terms – is it fair to say, in a public domain, that plant hire company isn’t a quality operator? If there is a personality issue or a miscommunication, or the contract terms weren’t clear or fair, causing a falling out with the client and service provider – does that mean that plant hire company should be publicly tarred with that fracas forever?
Take restaurant review sites like Yelp.com or Zomato.com for example. People rate things online for two reasons – when they are off-the-charts happy with something and their expectations are blown away, or when they are angry and disappointed and want to eek their revenge out online. In fact, negative reviews are far more common and numerous than positive ones on these platforms. That is the inherent flaw in online ratings systems – the attitudes expressed are highly polarised and people are more inclined to unload when they are unhappy. People are really angry, or really happy and nothing in between.
Is it even possible to be jumping-out-of-your-skin excited about someone conducting earthworks to a survey plan? Does anyone rave about a grader trimming a 6:1 batter? Don’t think so. You either trim the batter to tolerance or you don’t. But it is possible to be very angry about something that happens on site, and if I know anything about our audience, who we love dearly, they are highly emotional, strong-willed, opinionated and aggressive towards each other at times.
What our users seem to be are principally concerned with is: is this plant hire company any good? Has anyone else had a positive experience with that supplier? It would give each user the comfort to know that there was another couple of project managers out there that had a positive experience with a plant hire company, increasing the likelihood that they too would have a positive experience.
As a customer – you can request endorsements from your customers from the ENDORSEMENTS tab in your customer portal. When they receive your request – they are allowed to only give you a thumbs up – and they are allowed to keep their identity and the company they work for hidden from view on the front-end of the website. This is important because the contractors often view their plant hire relationships with good suppliers as the secret to their competitive advantage.
Its light-touch, easy to use and means that if you have done good work in the past, you can show that off to the market and attract more clients.