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10 Tips From Top-Rated Experts to Improve Your Ratings

By Anh Nguyen |

NINE TOP-RATED EXPERTS SHARE THEIR WINNING ADVICE FOR GETTING POSITIVE RATINGS.

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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.

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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.

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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."

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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."

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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."

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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."

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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.

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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.

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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."

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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."

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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.

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Comments

  • Avatar
    keeperumiami

    Over many years & dealing with many different personalities, one of the most difficult aspects of answering questions is not coming up with the answer to questions, it is coming up with the right question in the first place. In the tax and financial areas, often, assisting the customer in determining what their questions should be, rather than "JustAnswerng" their original questions, is more valuable than anything else. Explaining why is also very important....Steve G.

  • Avatar
    Anh Nguyen

    @keeperumiami, this is a great point and similar to what Samuel T. referenced in #4. Do you have a tip on how to assist customers get to the heart of what they really want to know?

  • Avatar
    StLouisWayne

    Experience. At least in my field you can generally tell what they are really wanting to know by the question they ask.

  • Avatar
    Anh Nguyen

    @StLouisWayne, there's something to be said about experience. All of the Experts included in this article has been on the site for at least 5 years.

  • Avatar
    StLouisWayne

    We all started new one day. It takes time. When I first started I was lucky to get a rating on one out of ten answers. Now I would say I get at least 50 percent of them with the same root answer. How you deliver the answer is at least as important if not more important the the answer you deliver. If you get someone chat spend a few minutes chatting with them. Its much harder to stiff you if they like you.

  • Avatar
    73bbchevy

    I also believe that a personal touch goes a long long way and empathy for the customer , I hate when a expert opts out with no explanation to a customer as to why or when they give cookie cutter answers. Try to satisfy the customer and the accept will follow , try to get the accept and you will fail.

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    Samuel-II

    ^^^ Yep. That is one of my pet peeves, too. No explanation Opt Outs, which I trained to be against the site policy. I do not opt out without explanation. Even if simply - "I must opt out" Samuel-II

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    Anh Nguyen

    @Samuel-II, good add.

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    alumalite

    Congratulations Anh!

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    MaryMeadenEsq

    Are the ratings sections that the customer views now 5 stars all the time? Any more smile faces or are those gone for good. THANKS

  • Avatar
    Anh Nguyen

    @MaryMeadenEsq, all US-based customers should only see the 5-stars, but some international and PayPal customers on our old platform may still see the smiley faces. However, we hope to have everyone off the old platform in the near future.

  • Avatar
    StLouisWayne

    Sorry to help derail this but are you saying us customers only have the option of 1 or 5 stars? Basically back to accept or not accept? Are we going to wipe the slates clean on our ratings so they actually have meaning? Its not very fair for some of us to have percentages based off customers who could rate in 20 percent increments while new experts percentages are coming from customers who have to rate 100 percent to rate at all.

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    StLouisWayne

    Honestly I think the ratings should be wiped clean periodically anyway. SOmeone with 50,000 ratings can be a jerk to a customer and who cares about the negative.. it would take 1000 of them to make a measurable difference.

  • Avatar
    Anh Nguyen

    @StLouisWayne, customers still see and able to rate 1 through 5 so it's not back to accept or not accept. Customers are able to see your recent ratings, in addition to overall rating, by looking at your profile. But to your point, our team is looking at ways to calculate and display Expert ratings that would better represent true customer satisfaction. We will be reaching out to the Expert community for help on this, so thanks for bringing it up.

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    wanpakumono

    I have noticed in my brief time here that, often the customer doesn't make their question and expectations clear. I have seen where some experts jump right in with "solutions" that may not address the actual problem. If I need clarification, I will often reply by restating what I think their question is and what they are looking for. They then have the opportunity to concur, or clarify so that we can get on the same page faster. It also shows the customer that you are "listening" to them. I really hate it when it is obvious that an expert has simply submitted a cut-and-paste answer along with a request for a five-star rating.

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    Anh Nguyen

    Hi @wanpakumono: That's a great point of restating the customer question to make sure you are giving the right information. It is against site policy to keep asking for a rating. We do send notifications on the Expert's behalf to customers and remind them to rate.

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    Law_Maven

    the link, above, to the Negative Rating Removal policy ( https://experthelp.justanswer.com/hc/en-us/articles/201143890-Negative-Ratings-Requesting-Removal ) goes to "OOPS
    You're not authorized to access this page"

    Is there anywhere else to find information on that policy? For instance to handle a situation when a customer specifically says, "I like your answer but I don't want to pay for it so I will rate it as 1 star."

  • Avatar
    Anh Nguyen