The average customer is subjected to thousands of advertising messages a day. Many of them conflict with each other, and they’re all competing to win the business of every person they reach. It’s getting harder and harder for us as consumers to come to an informed decision when so many products promise the same thing. Online reviews, especially from trusted sources, provide additional details to help in the decision-making process. But which ones can we trust? Let’s find out.
What’s one of the first things we do when deciding where to go out to eat? We check if anyone we know has been there. Or we go online and read reviews on Yelp, Google My Business, and TripAdvisor. The same applies to eCommerce and shopping websites, hotel stays, airlines, and more!
There are so many online review platforms out there, and each one is tailored to a specific industry or niche. 97% of consumers today prefer product reviews before making a purchase and most of them consider reviews to be an essential resource in their shopping experience.
Who do you trust?
It’s easy to scam anyone on the internet these days. From catfishing to cyberthieves, social media hacking to phishing—the list is endless. However, don’t let this discourage you. The internet is a scary place but, when used efficiently, can be very helpful too. The below tips will help you navigate the world of review platforms and reviews.
How many reviews are there
They say there’s safety in numbers and the same holds true for online reviews. According to research by BrightLocal, customers read ten to forty online reviews for a business before believing their average star rating.
Read more than just a handful of reviews and compare across various review platforms to get a better feel of things before coming to a decision. The more opinions you read, the more confident you’ll feel about the decision you’re going to make.
Read the comments
Don’t just go by star ratings, read what each review has to say about the product and service you’re interested in. If you’re reading restaurant reviews pay attention to what they’re talking about. Are they complimenting just the decor and ambiance while neglecting the food? Is the hotel review only talking about its convenient location and not about the amenities offered?
Read reviews thoroughly and keep an eye out for red flags – these can be easy enough to spot when you look carefully.
Are they open or closed?
Check how transparent the review platform is. Do they accept and publish open reviews from all customers online? As long as the review does not violate any guidelines or is offensive, they should be allowed to be published. Open review platforms mean that reviews can be left by anyone – including staff, competitors and customers, so are sometimes less reliable than closed ones.
Closed review platforms, on the other hand, give reviewers the power to leave an opinion only when invited, normally after a verified purchase or visit. Companies are able to choose who they invite to leave a review, and will often give them an incentive to leave a review.
Reviews will always matter
Customer reviews are not just for the benefit of other patrons. They are also a great outlet for companies to showcase their services through the experiences of other happy customers. The feedback that is of high quality sheds light on the services and customer satisfaction and is a great way to bring in new business.
Use these tips as a guide, but always follow your gut feeling and judgment when it comes to believing reviews. We like to believe that there is more good than bad out there, and if people are taking the time out to review a product or service, it is probably a real story they want to share.