The Online Review

online revOnline reviews in many ways are today’s modern referral and can be a blessing or a curse.

A solid review can generate calls into your product or service while a negative one can impact your business  greatly.

For example, I saw an ad this morning on the Starbucks website.  It was something I have been searching for so I clicked on it.  Once on the product site, I saw the star ratings for the review of the product.  Read the reviews and they were not good so now I have pause in purchasing this product.

But was this a fair review of the product or service?  After all, people only usually write reviews when they are angry, not when they are pleased.

In the tech industry this is especially true.

It is easy to post a video about your Samsung Galaxy S4 burning up or your iPhone 5S software acting janky and losing all your data.  It can immediately be viewed by millions of people world-wide and because of the number of hits your post receives, it becomes a thread on Google news like the Samsung Galaxy S4 story did today.  This doesn’t reflect however, the millions of people walking around with their S4’s and iPhones with absolutely zero problems.

So, how do we find solid products or services in the midst of all the bad online reviews?  Here are a few ideas that I am starting to use.

1)  Do the Math.  Look at the number of reviews Good vs. Bad.  In more than one case, I have found a single one star review in the midst of ten four and five star reviews pulling the average down.  If 9 out of 10 consumers rave about a product you are probably in good shape.

2)  See what the fuss is actually about.  I am in the process of renewing my alarm contract and noticed web-sites dedicated to bashing our alarm provider although we have had no problems.  When I looked at the biggest complaint, it was always the same.  The contract term.  Not the service or components.  Well heck, I know the terms so I am not too worried about that.  Plus, on further review, every alarm company had the same complaint.

3)  Check for resolution.  Many times, especially on a company site like Apple or Amazon, you will see a complaint followed by a response and resolution by the company.  Products aren’t perfect but if a company will back them and do the right thing,  you should be good to go.

4)  Use Social Media to ping your friends about the product.  Proceed with a little caution here as some will still hide behind the negative but your closest friends and users have no problems giving an honest 140 character review.

Chime in.  How do you find online reviews?

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