You’ve heard about online places where you can see how well a certain company is doing. Places such as Yelp, for example. You’ve generally learned, hopefully not through personal experience, that companies that have a really low rating are the ones you should avoid. But how important are online reviews today? Well, they are important. They may be the best indicator of a company’s success, but they are certainly not the only one.
Each company experiences a fluke every now and then
In this regard, companies are like people. They make mistakes. The responsibility we put on them – their employees, in fact – is great. After all, you will be entrusting them with your stuff. But they also make mistakes, and the clients love to complain. People love to complain at McDonald’s, for example, but just won’t stop eating there. Meanwhile, their revenue keeps growing. However, one bad lunch isn’t the same as your broken valuables. You, of course, value the stuff that you have earned and do not want to see it destroyed.
Naturally, you’re much more skeptical about moving companies than you are about McDonald’s. So, if you see a company with several customer complaints, but a good rating otherwise, then you’ll know that it’s just a simple fluke that could have happened to anybody. If you see a ton of bad reviews, you’re dealing with a company with bad practices, or even a fraudulent company.
What customers say is a pretty good indicator of how important are online reviews today
A 1 to 5 rating doesn’t leave much room for explanation. To get an idea how important are online reviews today, you have to look at what customers have actually written. This doesn’t mean that you have to read what each and every customer has written about each and every company in your area. You will want to single out displeased customers, and you can recognize angry reviews at a first glance. They tend to:
- Use a lot of uncensored words and other forms of colorful language, often in rapid succession, in a single sentence;
- Sometimes they write IN ALL CAPS, LIKE THIS;
- They will probably use strong language (for instance “I will sue these idiots/morons/dolts”).
We’re all angry sometimes, and that’s understandable. But if their concern is something minor, such as a single piece of a broken dish which isn’t expensive at all, then these people are just looking to vent their frustration. Keep this in mind when looking at moving companies reviews.
Do reviews affect revenue in the long run?
Well, yes. Negative reviews, as you well know, can discourage future users from buying a certain product or service. Customers have something like a gut reaction which causes them to distrust companies with many bad reviews. Then comes the snowball effect, which comes in several steps:
- A user browses the company whose service he is in need of;
- Then, he sees some negative reviews. Those negative reviews can be one in twenty. For that reason, the user can easily single them out;
- After reading those negative reviews, the user forms a negative picture of the company, which may or may not be correct;
- Said prejudice causes the customer to either a) avoid the company altogether, or b) to use the company’s services anyway;
- Assuming the customer uses the company’s service, he is more likely to spot minor faults. His prejudice will make him more likely to think that the company has done a shoddy job, when, in fact, it was a job well done.
- As a result, the customer is more likely to give another negative review;
- The vicious cycle repeats with each new customer.
And this is how important are online reviews today. As you can see, they can quickly bury a business in bad reviews and deceive the customer, which is something we will discuss in the next chapter. Even reliable moving companies can fall prey to this.
Will the free market correct this?
In the long run, perhaps it will. You see, what every company, and especially a moving company needs right at the beginning, is a stroke of luck. We have demonstrated how negative reviews tend to multiply over time. Well, same goes for good reviews. It does happen in the free market that a good company may find itself in bad luck and face a foreclosure. It can also happen that a company with bad business practices satisfies a few customers right at the beginning, due to luck. And then, their number of customers grows exponentially. Online reviews are so important today mostly because they’re such a double-edged sword. It’s not always fair, and a good company with bad reviews may have to wait a bit until the market corrects itself in their favor or even reorganize.
Whom can the customers trust?
There’s no strict definition here. Unfortunately, there are no 100%-foolproof parameters that you can use to distinguish good companies from bad ones. Reviews are just one method, and, as we’ve established, it’s not completely surefire. So, what is there left for a customer to do? Well, the obvious answer relates to moving mistakes, such as hiring bad movers. The thing is, reviews will only tell you the general idea behind company’s practices. This is how important are online reviews today: that is, they are, but not the point of make-it or break-it.
If you orient yourself solely based on reviews, you may find yourself in a bad situation sure enough. What you need to do is research individual companies. If this sounds like a chore, well, that’s because it is! Unfortunately, it’s something that you have to do in order to get a good service. Nothing beats your personal experience when it comes to researching moving companies. Your own eyes and ears, metaphorically speaking, are the best source of information there is. Reviews, no matter if they’re positive or negative, are only there to help you along the way.