Asking for Bad Reviews?

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Should business owners be required to ask unhappy or angry customers to put a review on review sites like Yelp/Google+? Old fashioned bulletin boards with notes from customers have become more of a novelty. They have been replaced with testimonials … Continue reading

SURVEY: Why DON’T People Write Reviews?

In a survey comprised of 1,160 respondents, 59.6% male and 40.4% female, it was found that what inhibited people from posting an online review was:

When sorted by age groups, the findings got more interesting. Below, you can see that people aged 55-64 reported ‘Unwanted Attention’ as a main deterrent for writing an online review, while people aged 18-24 reported ‘Hard to Write the Review Itself’ as a main deterrent.

This tumbles down logically since older people have a tendency to be more reserved.

It also makes sense because young people are seemingly always on the go, and cannot seem to be bothered by something as time-consuming as putting together a review. (After all, many of the people in this age group are likely in college and probably have ENOUGH things to write such as essays, reports, etc.)

What’s even more interesting, is that of the respondents who claimed it was ‘Hard to Write the Review Itself’, half of them had a reported income of $150,000 or more.

Could it be that this group of high-earners are busy with the very jobs that are earning them that amount of income, that they cannot be bothered to do something as tedious as composing a review?

The main takeaway for this survey is that many people cite unwanted attention and the difficulty of writing the review as two main reasons why they would not write a review online.

That being said, gently reminding your customers that they can in many cases use their initials instead of their full name on online review sites could help to alleviate these concerns.

ReviewInc automates and addresses all these concerns.  To learn more, give us a call at 1-877-9REVIEW or email us at support@reviewinc.com.  Take charge of your online reputation today!

Low-Tech Customer Feedback

 

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A sign displayed at a local Albertsons soliciting feedback.

We recently got a grin from a sign displayed at a local Albertsons asking patrons to give their feedback.  It looked very low-tech; almost like an elementary school science fair poster.  Perhaps that was intentional, but hey, it did get our attention.  However, they did get one thing right; feedback from customers is invaluable.

Both small and large business owners alike recognize the value of collecting feedback from their customers.

Without this feedback, businesses would not be able to evolve into the best versions of themselves, a version that is not only fulfilling but exceeding their clients’ expectations.

That being said, there are a multitude of ways of collecting this feedback. Be it by simply asking them in person, asking them to fill out a piece of paper with a few questions, or now having the ability to ask them to go online to leave their feedback with you.

But it’s not enough to just gather their feedback for internal use. You must now also take into consideration the prevalence of online reviews sites such as Yelp and Google+.

Review sites like this now pose another obstacle: maintaining your online reputation.

Studies show that online reviews can have a significant impact on the amount of business comes through the door.

While some of the more tried and true fashions of collecting feedback (in person, paper, etc) have proven to be successful to an extent, these methods are limited in the scope of what they can do.

Take, for example, the paper approach. You have all these slips of paper with some solid feedback from customers, but how do you track the data? Do you then have to have a person manually input these into an Excel spreadsheet and manually generate charts to make sense of the data?

How about the current survey options? If you are already online and have the capability to collect feedback online, that’s great. However, that is only covering the feedback collection process; you still have to consider monitoring your online reputation on  review sites like Yelp and Google+.

So what is the solution?

ReviewInc provides both of these capabilities. You can privately collect feedback that you can use internally. And the private feedback you collect that happens to be positive, you can then encourage those same people to share their glowing reviews of your business to review sites such as Yelp and Google+. Additionally, you can monitor your reputation across several different review sites simultaneously without having to go through the hassle of visiting each review site individually.

Interested? Give us a call at 1-877-9REVIEWS for a demo today!

Online Reviews…Over the Phone?

CallMeIshmael

As we all are relatively well aware, online reviews are rapidly on the rise. Be it Yelp, Citysearch, Amazon, Google+, you name it; online reviews are here to stay.

But is there such thing as online reviews..over the phone? Online reviews, over the phone that are…somehow, still online?

Enter Call Me Ishmael.

Call Me Ishmael is a website that gathers and publishes one- to three-minute voice-recorded book reviews from anonymous contributors recorded via telephone and selects one story to post to the site each day.

So it’s like the SparkNotes of..online book reviews. Yeah, something like that.

One of the downsides of the site, however, is that it doesn’t index the text of the reviews. So that factor could possibly cause it to be less pervasive in disrupting the online book review space.

What’s also interesting is what seems to be a shift away from reading, however. Ironic, considering this is a post about reviewing books. But what we mean by that is, the fact that even though these reviews are over the phone, being a seasoned medium, while also still being online, shows a glorious melding of two mediums that both do not involve any actual reading. (With the exception of reading the book that one is leaving the review about.)

Anyway, it just goes to show how the online review-scape is continuously evolving in new ways and even ways that accommodate components of the past.

Trouble in Paradise for Angie’s List?

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Angie’s List, the pioneer in online reviews since 1995, is facing challenging times with the recent proliferation of free review sites.

Many of the members of Angie’s list (that lists mostly home-improvement services and contractors) feel that the value proposition is quite simple; when they are going to invest upwards of $50,000 on a home renovation or related cost, they are willing to spend a few extra dollars to ensure that they are reaching a network of people who have given honest, real-life recommendations of services they have used themselves.

According to the company’s second quarter 2014 results, Angie’s list has 2.8 million paid memberships as of the end of June, which is up from the 2.2 million the year before and 820,000 in 2011.

Despite this obvious growth in user acquisition, Angie’s List appears to be teetering on the edge of extinction. Why? Just a couple weeks ago, it was reported that Angie’s list had hired a team of investment bankers to do a company evaluation in order to potentially entertain the idea of putting it up for sale. Shares increased by 20% but were still down more than 50% compared to the previous year.

According to a post by Indianapolis Business Journal, the reason is because Angie’s List has never turned a profit. Last October, a report was released that even showed a net loss of $13.5 million for the third quarter of 2013, following a loss of $18.5 million for the same period the year before.

Some of you may be wondering: why hasn’t any of this growth resulted in an increase in profits? It is likely due to the expansion into new markets; Angie’s List is now offered in 253 areas of the country, up from about 200 in 2012.

Angie’s List has also been forced to downscale the price of its memberships in order to remain competitive with other, free-to-use review sites such as Yelp, Google+, Citysearch, etc. You can now expect to pay about a little over $12 for an annual membership, which is over half of the $36 membership fee they were charging ten years ago. And it’s fairly easy to get an online coupon code that will discount that fee anywhere from 30-40% off.

It also doesn’t help that the company recently agreed to a $2.8 million settlement to curb a lawsuit alleging it had renewed subscribers’ memberships at a rate higher than it had led them to believe.

Perhaps at the center of this discussion is the legitimacy of the reviews listed on the site. In fact, much (if not most) of the revenue for Angie’s List is obtained by the very same businesses who are listed on their site, creating somewhat of a conflict of interest. How can a company remain unbiased when the companies funding its very existence are the ones who are supposed to be rated in a non-biased fashion by consumers on their site?

“Almost 70 percent of the company’s revenues come from advertising purchased by the service providers being rated, ” a 2013 Consumer Reports investigation explained.

It’s hard to believe that this funding has no bearing on how these companies appear in search results.

“We think the ability of A- and B-rated companies to buy their way to the top of the default search results skews the results… They get 12 times more profile views than companies that don’t buy ads, ” Consumer Reports criticizes.

Yelp

This is a practice that Yelp has been accused and criticized for many times over. Yelp has continued to vehemently deny this practice and maintains that, “Yelp uses automated software to recommend the most helpful and reliable reviews for the Yelp community among the millions we get. The software looks at dozens of different signals, including various measures of quality, reliability, and activity on Yelp. The process has nothing to do with whether a business advertises on Yelp or not.”

In the meantime, Angie’s List seems to have found the sweet spot as far as the amount it must lower its membership fees by in order to maintain the increase in annual subscribers year over year. The question becomes: Is this sustainable, given the fact that the legitimacy of the reviews listed on the site continues to be called into question?

And is being a paid review site going to continue to be, or become even more of, a challenge given the obvious rising growth of free-to-use review sites such as Yelp, Citysearch and the like?

What do you think? Let us know in the comments below!

Source: http://time.com/money/3452998/angies-list-sale-user-reviews/