Today’s blog post looks at the validity and usefulness of online reviews.
When buying products or services from local businesses did you know that in Australia, around 60% of consumers read online reviews or blogs before making a decision to purchase and that people on average will read 5 reviews before making that decision. 84% of consumers trust an online review just as much as a personal recommendation. These statistics tell us that people are making purchase decisions vastly differently from even just ten years ago. Good online reviews can make or break a business in today’s purchasing climate, to be relevant (and even on most people’s radar), a business needs to have an online presence with many positive reviews.
Searching for a trustworthy and reliable removalist is not an easy task. Removals companies can easily obtain a bad reputation from disgruntled customers and unfortunately there are plenty of dodgy removalists out there who are more interested in a quick buck than they are in transporting your household contents safely. On the other end of the spectrum there are many removalists who do care about providing you with a stress-free and easy move for a fair and reasonable price and it’s these companies you need to know how to find. But how?
Statistics say that 84% of us find it difficult to spot a fake online review, furthermore in 2015, consumer group Choice found that 15% of reviews online were fake. Fortunately large sites that feature reviews such as Facebook, Yelp and Google Plus have sophisticated algorithms that scan and eliminate reviews that bear telltale markers that flag them as fake - such as the use of specific words or accounts posting in a certain way. On a personal level, one way to check what you think may be a fake review is to compare it to other reviews on the same company - is the language used very technical or overly complimentary? Are competitors criticised? Are there several positive reviews left on the same day featuring similar language? If it stands out from the other reviews, chances are it’s a fake one. Many fake reviews are left by competitors in an underhand way to undermine a company in order to drive more business in their own direction. This can be hugely frustrating to an honest and trustworthy company as it can be very hard to prove and even harder to get fake reviews removed.
So HOW DO you spot a trustworthy company from the dodgy ones? The good news is that it’s not actually that hard! Start the the company’s website. Is it well-written, informative and giving you the feeling that they know what they’re talking about? Check their own reviews or testimonials page. Now, while this isn’t the most reliable source of genuine reviews (ie. the company can veto what appears on here easily), it can nonetheless provide you with a sense of how their customers perceive them - which if you are feeling at this point that they are a trustworthy company, can be a useful tool.
A competent and reliable removalist should have many more outlets for their business other than their own website. Check social media - Facebook, Google Plus, Pinterest and Instagram are all places where a removalist may feature a profile. Check out the reviews here also. Are they primarily positive as a whole? Just remember, if there are 20 positive reviews and 2 negative ones, you can safely base your opinion on the positive ones. Especially telling is when the positive reviews are all 4-5 stars and the negative ones are one star. That is usually a red flag for either a competitor trying to drag down the overall rating or a disgruntled customer who is possibly not giving a true version of events. Check how the company responded to the negative reviews if there are any. The correct procedure is to thank someone for leaving a review, even a bad one, and to attempt to offer a resolution privately.
In general you can safely trust a company who has in excess of ten reviews and overall is featuring a 4 or 5-star rating.
Some websites are more reputable than others and have greater screening procedures in place to week out the fake reviews. These are:
It is worthwhile noting that it is fairly common for disreputable companies to disable the reviews feature on their Facebook business page. Because Facebook does not allow a company to remove unfavourable reviews, if a company receives many negative reviews they may decide looks better to remove this feature altogether from their Facebook profile!
Some websites exist solely to provide online reviews (and sales leads) to companies wanting to advertise their products and/or services. In some instances a company listing is obtained through a paid subscription. The reviews on these sites can still be genuine however they may hold slightly less credence than the sites above.
✓ Product Review
✓ Yellow Pages Online (Sensis)
✓ Oneflare (formerly business.com)
✓ Move Finders
✓ My Moving Reviews
Statistics obtained from: