In the age of digital consumerism, the most verifiable source of information on the value of a product or service is a peer review.
We rely on them all the time – on Amazon, eBay, Airbnb and many other sites, what our fellow consumers say gives us the confidence to make what we believe is an informed decision.
But how verifiable are the reviews themselves?
The BBC recently revealed that there are some unscrupulous retailers or service suppliers that offer selected buyers free goods in return for 5-star reviews, and there are underground online groups that people can join where they are offered free goods in exchange for top-rated reviews.
There are two implications here – for both suppliers and consumers.
If you’re an online business…
Whilst there is no reason not to include a review functionality on your website, be clear in your internal policy on how those reviews are earned.
The safest position is simply not to accept items in exchange for a top-rated review.
And accept that there may be/will be some reviews that are not 5-star – use these as incentives to improve your service or product, or get in touch with consumers to find out how you can rectify the situation. The positive press you’ll get out of doing that is worth far more than a paid-for review that isn’t based on reality.
If you’re a consumer…
Which?recommends you to do the following things to try and spot fake reviews.
- Do not rely on ratings – delve deeper and read the reviews
- Check the dates – look at when the reviews were posted. If many of them were posted in a short time period, it might mean there has been a push for reviews on Facebook groups or other platforms
- Impartial reviews – click on some reviewers and check their history. Do they give everything five stars?
- A pattern of ratings – are the ratings at different ends of the scale with very little in between? It is rare that people are completely polarised about a product
For guidance and advice on how to improve your customer’s experience on your website, contact Realnet today on +1223 550 800