NINE TOP-RATED EXPERTS SHARE THEIR WINNING ADVICE FOR GETTING POSITIVE RATINGS.
Expert rating is an important metric because it is a representation of answer quality and customers’ satisfaction with your service. It also determines whether you get credit for your work. But, getting positive ratings is not always an easy task.
Is there an elusive secret to positive ratings? Why do some Experts have higher accept rates than others? We invited a handful of top-rated Experts to share some tips and they delivered in a HUGE way. We were blown away by the wealth of knowledge and want to share the best tips with the rest of the community.
1. SHOW SOME LOVE
The Experts unanimously agreed that the best way to get positive ratings is to show compassion and empathy. "I try to interact on a human level with customers, so they know that they are dealing with a real person, and not a robot," says Chris L., Legal Expert since 2010.
Customers often come to JustAnswer with a cloud over their head because they need help with something specific and personal. What can you do to help? "I try to alleviate their concerns with compassion and treat every customer as if they are my only customer. Kindness goes a long way," says Samuel T., Legal Expert since 2008.
2. STICK WITH WHAT YOU KNOW
According to Mike V., Car Expert since 2006, "Nothing is worse than answering a customer and he shows you that you were wrong." Your judgment and reputation are important both as an Expert on JustAnswer and licensed professional offline. "Only answer something you are knowledgeable about and have a game plan as to how you're going to execute the answer," adds Aric K., Electronic Expert since 2009.
Even with familiar topics, it's sometimes necessary to double check the information you provide, says Robin R., Tax Expert since 2008. "I check on the specifics of every piece of advice I offer. For me, that means actually looking at tax law and any state law that may be relevant. I do not answer off the top of my head. This is because tax law can change yearly."
3. FEEL OUT YOUR CUSTOMERS
Understanding how knowledgeable your customers are and what they're expecting will save time and frustration for both sides, says Mike V., "I try to feel out their knowledge base first so I can try to get some idea of their expectations of me."
What if you can't feel out your customers? Bill B., Legal Expert since 2012 suggests, "Just give a clear explanation for why the answer is the way it is (along with a resource or two for the customer to dig deeper). This often gives the customer confidence in our knowledge and acknowledges a level of respect towards them to be able to understand concepts that may be outside their own field of expertise."
4. A LITTLE PATIENCE GOES A LONG WAY
A 7-year Expert on JustAnswer, Samuel T. notes, "Over the years, I have discovered most customers don't really know what they want or how to articulate it. So it takes patience to work with them and through their frustrations."
Customers are usually under stressful circumstances when talking to Experts and as a result, tend to be anxious and vague. To alleviate some of the stress, Tammy B., Legal Expert since 2008, suggests, "Be mindful of the pain customers are in and be patient when they don't understand what we are saying, especially when they are clearly the authors of their own misfortune."
5. YOU DON'T ALWAYS HAVE TO GIVE AN ANSWER
There's a false belief that Experts are a bunch of know-it-alls in their fields. Samuel T. disagrees, "I suggest that many times we don't always have the answers or even the answers customers want to hear. But if we can provide a little hope with any type of positive answers, they seem to really appreciate that."
What should you say to an upset customer? Aric K. advises, "Let customers know that troubleshooting is a means to an end. This doesn't mean that you can guarantee a 'fix,' but rather give them all of the things they could possibly try on a user level to reach a conclusion."
We also recommend using the Opt Out feature if you cannot or are no longer interested in answering a question. Doing so would free up the question for other Experts.
6. MAKE AN OFFER
The easiest way to get an automatic 5-star rating is through premium services. But when is the right time to make an offer? Robin R. recommends, "If and when I offer Premium Services, it is only after I have given a complete answer and the subject is one I know will turn into a more complex area."
She adds, "If I think it will not progress way beyond the scope of the original question, I offer free extra information that covers possible issues that may happen because of the question. I let them know that they can request me on those too, which gives them a 'heads up' without making them feel they are required to pay more right now."
7. PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE
Malcolm Gladwell says it takes 10,000 hours of practice to achieve mastery of a field. While we're not promoting the idea that you should spend 10,000 hours on JustAnswer before you master the art of positive ratings, we do encourage you to practice how to handle and respond to different customer situations.
Bill B. sums it up nicely, "Trying to narrow our own professional experience down to a quick "Q&A," hoping to convey the most pertinent information without sacrificing too much is a skill that we must continue to develop as Experts. We will always have unhappy customers and not all customers are reasonable (we also make mistakes), but with practice and attention to our customer's needs for good information combined with a respectful and caring presentation, we will continue to provide a valuable service and gain the benefits of positive ratings."
8. KNOW WHEN A CUSTOMER IS NOT RIGHT FOR YOU
There are a lot of things you can do to show empathy and help customers. But even the best Expert can't help a customer that refuses to be helped. "In some cases, the customer wants the impossible and unfortunately it is best to walk away. Not to sound blunt, but there's a saying that sometimes you need to know when to fire a customer," says Aric K.
It's up to you to choose the customers you want to help. If there's a mismatch, let the customer know and move on. Tammy B. stresses, "If there is a customer whom I don't want to help, then I don't. That way I can remain true to myself and my beliefs, and at the same time, can easily answer compassionately."
9. DON'T FORGET TO FOLLOW UP
Most Q&A ends after a rating, but sometimes, a customer asks follow up questions. Tammy B. emphasizes the importance of following up, "What I always do is answer all follow-up questions, without fail. I will never, ever leave a follow-up question unanswered even if I have already been rated. I know of Experts who opt out after they are rated positively or if the follow-up question is too hard. That's unfair and unethical in my view and will leave the customer with a negative feeling about the site."
10. DELIVER 5-STAR SERVICE
At JustAnswer, we work very hard to provide the best possible service to both customers and Experts. You're the ones that drive our platform so we do our best to help you emanate the same level of customer service as we strive to achieve. Loren Stone, Legal Expert since 2009, compliments, "I attribute my improvement to the Expert Ops team's brilliant online lessons in customer service. Where before, I was more concerned with volume of questions I was able to answer, they taught me to read the questions more carefully."
Mike V. likes to remind customers, "I let them know that I am trying to give them 5-star service. If I am not giving them that, then they should tell me what I missed."
BONUS TIP: EXPERT OPS TEAM HAS YOUR BACK
We understand that rating is a fickle thing. You can be the most knowledgeable and compassionate Expert, but still not get a positive rating through no fault of your own. This is where we can help! The site will automatically send out rating and reply reminders to the customer. We also have the No-Click Rating policy in place for situations when customers expressed satisfaction but forget to go back and rate. If you run into a situation that falls under this policy, don't hesitate to let us know.
Agree or disagree with the tips you've read? Got some tips of your own? Share your comments below.