While this is a notable finding, it also perhaps highlights that Australia is behind the global curve when it comes to using online reviews and testimonials as part of their buying process. As long ago as 2013, Zendesk research indicated that up to 90% of people factor in positive online reviews when deciding whether to buy a product, with 86% admitting reading a negative review would influence their decision making process. This was backed up in this 2016 article from Get Administrate, which looks at the importance of utilising customer views from the perspective of a business.
We want to turn this around now and look at it from a customer’s perspective. What is the importance of review and testimonial websites, and why should you include them in your decision making process?
Honesty and Integrity
Every website that sells a service or a product has a testimonials page on it. While these can be useful, the one downside they bring is that they’re predictable. Remember, when you visit a business’ website you are in effect looking at a digital brochure that is trying to tempt you to buy, so the testimonials will always be the best ones they’ve received.
All transparent businesses today are also, however, signed up with at least one online review website, be this Trust Pilot, Product Reviews, Verified Reviews, Ekomi, or another provider. When a customer makes a purchase, these websites then email them and ask them to provide a review of the product and service they received. As a customer, you then give a rating and you leave some written feedback if you wish. This data is then aggregated and the company gets an on-going, overall review score.
Most businesses will have a link or widget on their website highlighting their reviews. You can view NOW FINANCE’s Trust Pilot reviews from our homepage or here, while we are also listed on Product Reviews.
Looking at these gives a deeper level of honesty and integrity about the business you’re potentially about to deal with, and enables you to have greater confidence in your decision.
You Can View How They Deal with Negative Feedback
Even if you’re a loyal customer who has been shopping at a specific place or been dealing with a specific brand for many years, the chances are that you might have had a problem at some point during this relationship. When you did have a problem with them, it is likely the response you received that kept you as a loyal customer.
All of the popular online review sites have a “right to reply” on the part of the business in question, so you as a customer can take a look at not just when people have had a problem, but what the outcome was. The key thing you’re looking for here is a direct and positive reply from a business to a piece of negative feedback, with a commitment to getting in touch to discuss further or an explanation behind why the issue occurred. If you see this, then you can usually count this as a positive. On the other hand, if the business replies without courtesy and offering a resolution – or doesn’t reply at all – this is usually a sign you should look elsewhere.
Witty and waspish replies from a business might get a nice buzz on social media, but it says nothing for a business you might be spending a significant amount of money with over the next few years.
You’ll Learn Things the Business Doesn’t Tell You
Anyone who works in any service orientated business will have been trained and told about ‘going the extra mile’ for their customers. However, what we don’t often know as customers is exactly what this means.
We can learn this from what other customers have posted online about a business, as when they explain why they gave a particular rating they will often be specific and give some details about their transaction. Use these details when comparing between two or more companies for a specific product. If one business has feedback that lists some specific features of their service, and another doesn’t, it’s unlikely this is just because the first one happened to have customers that enjoyed writing lengthy review pieces!
Should I Use a Business That Doesn’t Have Independent Reviews Online?
Ultimately, this is a decision for you as a consumer. However, before you deal with a business that doesn’t seem to have a presence on review websites, you should really question why this is. It may also be worth looking at social media and seeing what is being said about the business on these platforms – oddly enough our survey revealed exactly the same number of people use social media as use review sites when doing their research – and use this to aid your decision making.
Your safest choice as a consumer is always the business with a track record of providing great service, and an independent record of this somewhere online that isn’t their own website.
Check Out Our Reviews
Our Net Promoter Score also highlights how we are viewed by our customers against other personal loan providers.
If you’re impressed with what you see from NOW FINANCE, you can get your interest rate before applying with no impact on your credit score and no obligation to apply if you want to look for a better rate elsewhere. Should you have any further questions about NOW FINANCE’s personal service, or how our personal loans can help you, check out the rest of our blog or get in touch with a personal loan specialist on 1300 275 669.
Disclaimer: This article contains general comments and recommendations only. This article has been prepared without taking account of your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before taking any action you should consider the appropriateness of the comments made in the article, having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs. If this article relates to the acquisition, or possible acquisition, of a particular credit product you should obtain and consider the relevant disclosure documents before applying for the product.