The internet is a massive game changer.
Information that had been kept secret or at least “unknown” is now available in seconds. It can be searched, looked up, studied or even sent to you daily.
We have the ability to shop hundreds of car dealers. I can find used books in a market unimagined just 20 years ago.
Contractors are able to reach customers in so many ways that business doubles; or triples.
And I am able to read reviews of those contractors further tightening the information. I’m able to avoid scheisters, cheats and incompetents.
But I recently learned, rather RE-learned, a valuable lesson. There is no substitute for human interaction.
I am having some plumbing work done here at the casa. I called around, scheduled some estimates and made a decision. However, to be safe, I went to the web and researched my guy. I was disappointed to see he had several horrible reviews. I was upset.
When I met the guy for the walk through and estimate, he struck me as a decent fella. He was on time, called to follow-up and was thorough. He was clear in his expectations and even built a decent time line for me. This couldn’t be right.
So I went back and reread the reviews.
And as I was reading I found a pattern in the write ups. It seemed as if they were all the same guy talking. Then I went back and looked at the dates. Every review, every last one of ’em, was written in a 3 day period. This guy has been in business 25 years and gets a glut of bad reviews in a 3 day gap. No way.
So I called him and asked him about it; I needed to make sure.
He told me that this guy was an ex-employee of his. When he was let go he vandalized a truck, stole some tools, wrote the reviews and harassed this plumber. In fact, he has a police record for doing the same thing to 2 other past employers.
Relieved, I scheduled the work, he called the day before to tighten things up. He showed up on time, his subcontractor did excellent work and he was done 4 hours early.
The internet is a tool. As such, it has proper applications. And improper ones too.
There is no substitute for the human spirit.