A reader: I am planning a trip to New York City this fall. I don’t travel often or far. One of my friends tells me that I need to make sure that I check customer reviews on hotels, airlines and other travel services before I book my trip. How can I be sure that the reviews can be trusted?
Action Line: Great question! Make sure you have a hot dog and carriage ride in Central Park if you can fit it in to your schedule. According to Wikipedia, a customer review is “a review of a product or service made by a customer who has purchased the product or service.” Customer reviews are a form of customer feedback. Customer reviews can come from comment boxes in the place of business, surveys, customer service help lines, emails, online reviews and many others. Customer reviews generally allow customers to post positive, negative and neutral reviews. Customers go to customer reviews to help them make wise buying decisions. They want to get the most for their money.
Although there are many businesses, in all sizes, that provide customer reviews, not all are to be trusted. You see that is the key. You need to make sure that the reviews can be trusted. Here’s how:
▪ Be skeptical.
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▪ Check the reliability of the business with Better Business Bureau at bbb.org/ccie before you do business with anyone. It’s free and doesn’t take much time.
▪ Some review sites use the customer reviews to rate products; some rate prices, as well as customer service.
▪ Compare reviews from more than one source.
▪ Find out how the reviewer is rating these items. Some use star ratings, some use letter grades, while others simply list the submitted customer review for you to read and draw your own conclusion.
▪ Remember that customer reviews most likely do not represent the experiences of all purchasers.
▪ Some reviews could be fake.
▪ Some negative reviews could be posted by competitors.
▪ Find out if the reviewer verified the submitted review. Does the site make sure the review comes from an actual customer? Or can anyone post anything?
Here are some tips on how to post a good review:
▪ Tell about only your own experience.
▪ Make sure your review is accurate.
▪ Don’t exaggerate and be sure you are factual.
▪ You should always be ready to stand behind your review.
▪ Check on the review to see if there are any updates from the company. Many sites allow a response.
▪ You can always edit and respond to additional comments.
Action Line is written by Blair Looney, president and CEO for the Better Business Bureau serving Central California. Send your consumer concerns, questions and problems to Action Line at the Better Business Bureau, 4201 W. Shaw Ave., Suite 107, Fresno, CA 93722 or firstname.lastname@example.org.