Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Do you trust online reviews?

According to Search Engine Land, 79% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations!

*Do You Trust Online Customer Reviews As Much As Personal Recommendations?
79% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations (up from 72% in 2012)
Only 21% said they do not trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations

Analysis: This is the acid test for online reviews. Can they have the same impact as personal recommendations? The answer is an overwhelming yes.

Keep in mind that that “yes” comes with a few caveats in most cases — it is not a “yes, always.”

Authenticity of reviews is a key factor in whether or not consumers trust them. The increase in respondents selecting this answer shows that consumers don’t blindly trust reviews and exercise judgment to determine if reviews are genuine. Review spammers beware — consumers are on to you!

As you might predict, younger consumers (16-34) are more trusting of reviews than older consumers (55+). Older consumers are more pragmatic and skeptical, while younger consumers have grown up with in the Internet — so it’s second nature to them to read and value online reviews.

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So where are we searching for reviews?  There are Google Reviews, Yahoo Local, Yelp, Angie's List, etc. So which review sites do you trust that are unbiased? Do you view all of them? Base your decision on the majority? Or do you use and trust one tool?

According to Yelp (one of the fastest growing review/travel sites in the country), "You shouldn't ask your customers to post reviews on Yelp." Do you really think businesses don't ask people to review them on Yelp? or any other review tool? How do you REALLY know these reviews are not biased? You have to TRUST that businesses are doing the right thing, and the algorithms behind the scenes are "fair."

According to Google, "Reviews are only valuable when they are honest and unbiased … Don't offer money or product to others to write reviews for your business or write negative reviews about a competitor. We also discourage specialized review stations or kiosks set up at your place of business for the sole purpose of soliciting reviews." Like, Yelp, Google uses an algorithm as well to determine if a review is honest or not.

Have you ever wrote a review, and never saw it posted?! There's a science behind it, the algorithms! Each program uses a different algorithm to test if a review is "fake" or "real," but how is that determined? And does it make a difference? Would you not try a restaurant because it had all positive reviews? Or better yet, if a friend told you that a restaurant was amazing, but you read awful reviews, would you still go? Do you think more people write a review based on a bad experience or a great experience? 

As a business, we LOVE reviews, we want to hear from our customers! It's not about "making us look good," it's about knowing what our customers like and don't like. So, why would a company want to make fake reviews? Our customers are our eyes and ears! If we are not meeting standards as expected, we want to know. If we don't know, it's hard for a us to improve. We appreciate feedback in any way! Whether it's through a review site or a simple e-mail!

What review sites do you trust and use?!

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