It’s no secret that buyers turn to personal recommendations and online reviews when they’re looking to purchase a product or hire a service provider. The higher the price of the purchase, the more likely they are to rely on the opinions of previous customers. Hiring a moving company is no different. Buyers want to know what others have experienced with a company before trusting them to complete something as complex and personal as a household goods relocation.
To what extent should you trust online reviews? Do you know what to look for? Online reviews can be a helpful tool when doing research, but it’s important to keep the big picture in mind. In this article, we will examine how to accurately assess a moving company’s online reputation by offering insider knowledge on common consumer mistakes.
As You Read Online Reviews, Here Are Some Important Things to Keep in Mind:
- Reviews are subjective. They only reflect one person’s experience or opinion. Try not to get hung up on one customer’s negative review, as there may be conditional circumstances surrounding their move you are unaware of.
- A low percentage of total consumers leave reviews, studies show about 1.5%. Online reviews reflect the experiences of a very small sample of real customers.
- Consumers are more likely to leave a review about a negative experience than a positive one. When consumers feel the need share their side of a negative situation and want to be heard, they are more apt to leave an online review. So, take time to read reviews with an eye for context. A noticeably calm and honest critique of the company likely yields more trust and credibility than a review blatantly bad-mouthing the company without substantial reasoning.
What to Look for During Online Review
- Online reviews should be realistic and relevant to the business. As you read reviews, both positive and negative, identify the specific reasons for the rating given. Do they sound credible? Make sure the review accurately reflects the business and the services they perform.
- Do your best to look at the whole picture when doing online research on a company by exploring multiple review sites. Since different consumers prefer different review platforms, you’ll get a more accurate assessment if you explore trends across various sites including the company’s website, social media, third-party sites and, especially, ones specific to the business’s industry.
- Pay attention to whether the number of reviews is realistic for the size of the business. For example, a global brand like Nike may be expected to have thousands of reviews, but that’s likely not to be the case for a professional moving company.
- Examine ratings across review sites. Often, buyers are looking for authenticity. 3-star averages with hundreds of reviews is likely more credible than hundreds of 5-star reviews. Why? No business is perfect, and the absence of negative reviews may spark distrust. A healthy mix of positive and negative reviews depicts a more realistic picture.
The Most Reputable Online Review Platforms:
- Google My Business – Google owns 90% of the worldwide search market, so, it’s no surprise many consumers choose Google to leave reviews for the businesses they buy from. To add, Google posts every review submitted, which eliminates bias and increases trust.
- Better Business Bureau (BBB) – The Better Business Bureau is a private, non-profit organization that has been around for over 100 years. The BBB prides itself on being objective, operating a stringent rating and accreditation process.
Why Consumers Should Use Yelp with Caution:
Many credible positive and negative reviews posted to Yelp filter to a “not recommended” section that is not easily visible to consumers. In fact, it is usually a grayed-out link found at the bottom of the business’s page. This typically happens when the reviewer is not considered a regular user of Yelp, even if their experience with the company is legitimate and deserves to be seen by other consumers. Also, a helpful review may go to “not recommended” for, seemingly, no reason at all. Many businesses find this practice frustrating and not an accurate depiction of their online reputation. Some claim this process is used to force companies to advertise with Yelp. Because of this, we encourage you to use caution when exploring online reviews on Yelp.
Red Flags for Spotting a Fake Review:
Fake reviews are not overly common, but they pop up from time to time. Fake reviews can be positive or negative and are sometimes hard to spot. Here are a few common characteristics that, when combined, could indicate a fake online review. Please note: Not every review with these attributes is fake.
- Too few details about the reviewer
- Extreme or outlandish review, 1-star or 5-star
- Too vague or overly technical review
- Unverified purchase
- Other reviewers do not find the review “helpful”
As a consumer, it’s important to feel confident in a buying decision, especially for moving services. As you evaluate moving companies, remember to do your research. Take individual reviews with a grain of salt and trust your instincts. Need help? Speak with one of our experts at 1-844-350-4284.