They Will Love Your Review: By John Young

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They Will Love Your Review: By John Young
I have been looking at buying a piece of equipment for the office. The piece of gear I need isn’t available locally or even regionally. It is only an online purchase which makes one a bit hesitant when shopping for something you can see, touch and feel before making the purchase.
So, what will I turn to when researching this type of purchase? Online reviews!
Online reviews have become one of the greatest tools in sales across the board. Small business offering products or services now rely on their online reviews to help keep the traffic and sales flowing with their business. Your product might be reviewed on a retail site (like Amazon) or your site if it is set up to handle customer reviews. Services can be reviewed on many different platforms including one of the most popular right now is on Yelp.
These reviews are valuable to other shoppers of these products and services because they are written by those who have purchased the item/service and can tell you a bit about their experience with the transaction.
But, how do we as an end user write a quality review and help others make an informed decision about a future purchase?
The Better Business Bureau put together a short list of tips for writing a review that I thought was strong enough to include here.
• Never write anything while upset. This may seem like obvious advice, but take some time—at least 24 hours—before sitting down to draft that sternly-worded review. A good review conveys objective facts about experiences; venting anger, frustration, and sarcasm can make you feel better but will cloud reviews with emotions/opinions that probably won’t be very helpful to readers.
• Be realistic. It’s unlikely that the meal you just had was the “WORST THING EVER IN THE HISTORY OF THE UNIVERSE;” if your experience was less than perfect, explain why. Choose descriptions that describe and avoid subjective terms like “best/worst” and hyperbole.
• Talk about the entire experience. If the staff was unfriendly, include that in your review; but also add that the facilities were clean and the service was prompt. A lie of omission is still a lie. Again, readers of your review are seeking accurate descriptions of what to expect, and this is where you can shine.
• Leave out names. It’s tempting to blast the employee that was rude or the server that brought the wrong order, but that information does little to help readers. Focus on what happened rather than on who was involved.
• Highlight your credentials. Why should someone take your review more seriously than the one right after yours? Take a sentence or two to explain who you are and why you are an authority on this industry. On the other hand, stating that you are new to this type of transaction will help others avoid similar mistakes or misunderstandings.
• Address the other side of the story. Place yourself on the other side of the issue and consider the possible reasons for your experience—good or bad. Showing a little bit of understanding can go a long way in validating your review as honest and authentic.
• Check your spelling. It’s silly that this point makes the list, but a quick scan of any review site makes it obvious that many people do not take the time to edit properly. Obvious spelling and grammar mistakes distract readers from the review’s message. I personally skip to the next review at the first spelling mistake; I figure that if the person doesn’t care enough to make a professional effort, then the review probably isn’t that important.
That is a great start, but there are a few more I would add to this list:
• Don’t make the review sound too much like a cheerleader. Being factual and positive in a review is a great thing, but don’t overdo it and sound like you are either working for the company as a marketing person or you are being paid to be so over the top with the review. Most things aren’t 100% so be factual, accurate and fair in covering the good and the maybe not so good.
• Keep the opinion out of the review. If you have a good or bad experience, you need to state what happened as accurately and factual as you can. A review with a, ‘I just don’t like them because blue shirts are ugly’ will crush your credibility on your review and only make you look silly.
• Use pictures or video when possible. We live in that visual world, and your review is given a bit higher reliability factor if you have a photo or video showing the good or bad points you highlight in your review.
• Don’t suggest other products by name. This makes it look like you were working for company B when you reviewed company A.
A quality review that follows these tips can be very helpful to other shoppers who are in the market for those products or services. Be sure that the time you put into writing the review isn’t wasted by writing a review that will be disregarded by other shoppers.
John Young is the founder of Small Town Business Do It Yourself (DIY). You can send questions on social media and website design to John at [email protected]