Checking references on professional painters is a basic responsibility of the North Virginia homeowner before they make a decision on which residential painting contractor to go with for their exterior or interior painting project. But reference checking has taken on a relatively new dimension in the past five years. It seems like there is a “connected” component to every part of life today, and online reviews are just another manifestation of that fact.
There are online review sites for everything from painters to proctologists to pastors and every other product or service provider. Trust in these sites used to be pretty much nonexistent because they were loaded with fake, often paid for reviews to promote a business.
But the times they are a-changin’, or it looks that way at least. According to Forbes in a 2016 survey, 84% of people surveyed said they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. That’s hard to believe, but there are numerous other surveys that say the same thing.
That said, what do you think?
Reviewing the Reviews – Guidelines for Evaluating Online Reviews
Reston-based professional painter All American Painting Plus, a 12-time winner of Angie’s List Super Service Award, offers up this guidance when perusing online reviews:
- In general, online reviews are a good source of information. They are popular because they are easy to post, relatively anonymous, and in no time at all, a reviewer’s opinion is posted to a potentially massive audience. The downside for a business is that it works both ways. An upset customer or even a disgruntled employee can trash a business and drive its overall rating down.easy to post, relatively anonymous, and in no time at all, a reviewer’s opinion is posted to a potentially massive audience. The downside for a business is that it works both ways. An upset customer or even a disgruntled employee can trash a business and drive its overall rating down.
- Google Maps and Yelp tend to be the most reliable of the review sites, although there are others. Because they are well-known brands, they attract the most reviewers, giving the consumer a wider range of experiences to check out.
- Years ago, Amazon became a victim of fake reviews. Amazon product reviews are extremely powerful in the decision-making process and unscrupulous vendors were paying to have favorable reviews posted. Amazon fixed their process and sued a bunch of people. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t fake reviews still out there.
- Here are a few things to look for when evaluating online reviews. How old are they? If the first review is a year old, you can pretty much discount the rating. If there are consistent reviews, good or bad, you can get a better feel for the company’s actual performance. If there are a whole slug of reviews all dated at pretty much the same time, that’s an indicator that the reviewers were incentivized to leave a favorable review. The sites themselves often pick up on this and step in.
- How much effort did the business put into the review site itself? If there are photos, hours of operation, directions, and if they respond to concerns raised by reviewers, you probably have a good customer service organization. If all of that, or part of that is missing, well, let your gut be your guide.
At All American Painting Plus, we are delighted with the reviews we get online. We service North Virginia from Arlington to Dulles and we see our high ratings as validation of our focus on highly skilled professional painting services and customer care. If you are considering painting the exterior or interior of your home, give us a call today and learn why we rate so high.