The Power Of Online Reviews

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In recent years online reviews have become a very powerful tool for people looking for products and/or services online. I am sure there are very few people left that shop online that haven't noticed that at the bottom of every product page on websites such as Amazon.com and the like there are almost always a long string of reviews for that product. It has become almost habit for me that before I buy anything I always take the time to read a few if not all of them.  The funny thing is that not all reviews are good and yet still I may buy that product. Why is that? I believe that subconsciously we all do the math and weigh the number of positive reviews versus the number of negative and we even factor into that the apparent credibility of the reviewer especially if it is negative.

For example: You are looking for a Whatchadoozie on Amazon. The price for the Whatchadoozie is good and the product description is compelling. You scroll down and the first review you see looks like this...

WOW!!! I love this Whatchadoozie! My friends all bought one but I was hesitant. I finally got my Whatchazoozie in the mail and the shipping was right on time. I opened the box and there it was. The box was a little scratched up but that didn't matter because as I said WOW! It does everything I need it to do and I highly recommend everyone get one!

That is a great review because it is positive but not all positive in that I mentioned the packaging wasn't perfect so you know it probably wasn't written by someone who works for Whatchadoozie LTD. just trying to bolster sales with fake reviews.

So....you read more of them and you find one with one star and it reads as follows.

DO NOT BUY A WHATCHADOOZIE THEY SUCK, THE COMPANY SUCKS, AND I HATE THEM!!!!

Obviously the writer has a grudge whether it be personal or professional. They give no information as to why Whatchadoozies suck, and more than likely have a friend or family member that works for Whatchamadoogles Inc. As the urban youth are fond of saying...Haters are gonna hate.

So what does this mean? Simply that you will read and absorb the information in the positive reviews, weigh the negative reviews that are product specific and discount the ones that aren't. If the number of positive well written and concise reviews outweigh the negative ones you will more than likely take the risk and buy that product.

This also applies to online reviews that are not on a specific vendor page but rather found on sites like YahooGoogle, and Yelp. Let's say you want to hire a Wedding DJ like myself to DJ your wedding in Atlantic Beach NC. The first thing you will do (unless I was recommended by a friend or family member that has already hired me before) is search for "Wedding DJ Atlantic Beach NC" You will then find a bunch of wedding DJ's to choose from. You will then click on sites, read a little and go on to the next. If you happen to find one that grabs you you may either fill out their Contact Form (if they have one) Email them directly, or call them. (Although more on calling the company later.)

The problem is that you missed a step. After you find one that you like, you should then go to your favorite search engine and type in the name of the company followed by reviews. Then you will pull up any and all reviews that have been posted about them by past clients. This can do one of two things. Either it will make you a little more at ease when you listen to the sales pitch from the person you talk to, or completely dissuade you from even contacting them and make you continue searching for a better fit.

So let's say you find a vendor that has good reviews, you like the website content, the price is right and you are ready to do business. The best thing to do is either fill out the content form, or email but DO NOT call them unless you need immediate service. Why? Because this is a very important test of customer service. If a company want's your business they should make the effort to contact you within a reasonable amount of time. (Generally within 24 hours) A company that has poor customer service and doesn't check emails, and doesn't make the effort to win you over within 24 hours of getting your email is not a company you want to do business with and you will have communication problems down the line. (Now obviously if you are looking for a wedding vendor and you email them on a Friday night you may not hear from them till Monday or Tuesday especially if it is during peak wedding season so there are exceptions and common sense applies. Generally speaking initially emailing a company on a Tuesday is a pretty safe margin of error because most if not all business are open on a Tuesday and should get back to you no later than the close of business the same day.)

Taking that power to the next level.

Let's say you have emailed them and they emailed or called you back within a few hours and you have a  great follow up conversation. You are excited to hire them and they are equally excited to have you as a client. So that it right? Done deal! Not really no. To make the power of online reviews truly powerful towards the end of the conversation you need to emphasize the following statement...

"Ok well I am excited. Lets get the ball rolling.  Oh and I will be reviewing you online when all is said and done because that's what I do."

By saying that you grant yourself  power over that vendor. You almost guarantee that you get great customer service and his or her undivided attention. They will now bring their A game. Think of it like a restaurant or a Broadway Production where they know that there is a critic in attendance. They will snap into action and make sure everything is perfect. YOU are that critic and you have ALL the power and trust me when I say that they will do everything in their power to get that great review from you because at the end of the day the power of the online review is...well...powerful!