We all know referral business is still the best type of advertising any brand can receive.
There isn’t a better endorsement than one received from a family member or friend. After all you know, love, and trust these folks. You know their standards, likes and dislikes and they know yours as well.
But when someone close to us can’t personally validate something, we may have our eye on to buy, we now commonly use other shopper’s opinions and reviews to decide whether we are comfortable buying something for the very first time. We look to Google, Yelp, Yahoo, and social media.
Needless to say, these opinions and ratings can really give you a good glimpse of the quality or service, but be careful, because you don’t know much about the folks reviewing them. So, they may be unbiased and totally factual, have an axe to grind, or worse, work for the company itself or a competitor.
But what I have started to notice which may skew the ratings of a device or service is the quickness that the brands themselves deliver their requests to be rated. This happens a lot but probably nowhere more than on Amazon, Lowes, and Home Depot!
I purchased 4 bar stools, 26” high. When they arrived in the box there were two 26” stools and two 24” stools. I wrote to the company and asked them to ship two more 26” stools and I would return the two 24” stools to them. First, they disputed that the mistake occurred, so I had to send them pictures. Then they disputed they were from the same box, yet they only shipped my one box. After we settled that nonsense, they explained that they couldn’t just ship two because they only ship four in a box. So, I asked them to ship four new 26” stools and I would return the original stools to them. They said they really couldn’t do that, but they would only charge me 50% for the first box. I explained I didn’t need eight stools and didn’t want to overpay because of their error. Eventually after two weeks of negotiating back and forth they gave me a 75% discount off the first set, and I paid for the second set completely. When they asked me for a review, I was honest and explained their mistake and their solution. I wasn’t overly mean but honest. The next day I received an email from them asking why I rated them so negatively.
Last week, I purchased new Duracell High Life Batteries. Two days after I purchased them Home Depot was already requesting that I rate them. They worked in my mouse two days ago, but will they be worth the extra money? Ask me in 5 years!
Just yesterday I received two pool floats. Before they arrived, I was already being asked to rate the company, the service, the delivery time, and the quality of the floats themselves. I hadn’t even received them yet!
My point is this. As we continue to move to a post COVID society where we are buying more items online than ever before, we are relying on each other for references more than ever before. We must remain diligent, do our homework, and critique companies based on facts and truth and only after we are certain of their quality and service levels. We are beginning to believe reviews and influencers like gospel, even when they may be false. Remember many influencers are paid spokes people and now we’re moving to VR Influencers.
Reviews and Influencers can be very helpful, but they can also be very misleading. They can make or break a company, but they also break your bank if you guess wrong. For me, I think I’ll still go see the picture quality on my next TV and take the car I intend to buy for a test ride!