How to make sense of online customer reviews

Customer reviews have revolutionised online shopping and our decision-making process, allowing us to get an idea of what we are getting ourselves into before we spend any money or make a trip to a restaurant. The key to unlocking the value of customer reviews is not to always take them at face value, but instead to use them as evidence in much the same way as you may use sources in an essay or paper. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of customer reviews. 

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Don’t just limit yourself to the retailer’s website

Reviews have become a huge part of the Internet, and so there are a number of third-party sites that are dedicated to reviews as well as influencers who are raring to share their own opinions. If you’re on a website that doesn’t have any product reviews, then quickly type the brand, restaurant or business into Google i.e ‘Hobbs clothing reviews’ and see what comes up, you may be surprised how many results you find and how specific you can make your search request. 

Be wary of paid-reviews

As consumers began to use reviews more to help them decide on which products to buy and which restaurants to visit, businesses have started using them as a part of their marketing strategy, paying certain influencers, and even individuals, to post positive reviews about their product or company in exchange for free products or even a monetary reward. This paid-for strategy somewhat skews the accuracy of reviews and so it’s important to always check them for any indication that they may be sponsored. When visiting review sites, keep an eye out for robotic language too as this could be a sign of a copy-and-paste job designed to boost rankings. 

Read both positive and negative reviews

It’s important that you give yourself both sides of the story before making any decision, which is why you should always read a selection of both the most highly rated and least rated reviews as well as a couple that sit in between. If a review includes no explanation, then disregard it, focus on reading reviews that explain why they gave their score. Don’t be put off by a few negative reviews, even the very best restaurants and most luxury brands are unable to please everyone, but do take note of what they are saying especially if several people have had issues with the same thing. 

Search for answers to your questions in reviews 

If you’re worried about the quality of an item, are trying to find the best beauty salon in London or have heard that the customer service of a restaurant is not up to scratch, then use the available reviews to find answers to your specific question. Quite a few review sites now let you search their reviews by keywords, helping you to narrow down the number of reviews that you need to read to find answers to the questions that you have. 

So there you have it – a few simple tips to help you get the most out of online reviews. Do you pay attention to reviews?

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