HomeAdvisor Sets Higher Standards For Online Customer Reviews

February 1, 2019 4:08 pm Comments Off on HomeAdvisor Sets Higher Standards For Online Customer Reviews

The Review Solution

HomeAdvisor is part of a digital marketplace that connects homeowners with prescreened, local service professionals to complete home improvement, maintenance and remodeling projects. The service has recently taken steps to ensure that customer reviews left for contractors have greater integrity. The company has taken new measures to confirm and verify reviews submitted for contractors before they are posted to the site. According to Third Coast Interactive CEO Steven Wyer, this is a huge win for consumers and contractors alike.  

Wyer notes that HomeAdvisor recently merged with Angie’s List and the merger may have allowed the platform to update and raise the requirements for submitted reviews. During submission, users are now required to leave a phone number before their review can be submitted. HomeAdvisor states (under the telephone field) that the reviewer may be contacted to verify the review. This is big news, and something that more websites will consider in the future, says Wyer. 

Ostensibly, proactive contact from the site may result in fewer fake reviews. Reviewers must also state how they are connected with the company they wish to assess. Consumers are demanding more honesty and transparency and being required to provide an actual phone number can act as a deterrent for third parties who may be hired to write positive or negative reviews about a business.

Why verify?

Verified reviews are, quite simply, more trustworthy. Verified reviews have been through some process of screening and are far less likely to have come from an unreliable source. While each review site will have its own verification criteria, the goal is always the same – honesty. A false negative review can damage a business’s bottom line almost instantly since most consumers prefer to evaluate a business based on the first-hand experiences of other third-party customers. Customer reviews translate to a “star” rating on many online review sites. Published research suggests that the star rating of a business on a trustworthy online review site is a major contributor to buying decisions. 

On the consumer side, fabricated negative reviews make great businesses look less attractive. This can lead a buyer to connect with, for example, a subpar deck builder. It’s not until they sign a project agreement and pay money down, or perhaps end up with an inferior final project that they realize they’ve made a mistake. In this scenario, it’s possible that the lesser contractor (Company A) had a few “okay” reviews while the more qualified builder (Company B) had been slammed with false negatives. These fake reviews drove Company B’s star rating down, resulting in the consumer calling Company A instead. Had each contractor’s reviews been vetted and verified, it’s highly likely that Company B would have had a higher rating and a better chance of getting the job. The consumer always loses when fake reviews clutter up and sway ratings on products and services. 

Fighting back

While HomeAdvisor and many other customer review platforms are making efforts toward a more honest and transparent review process, it’s not enough. Businesses must be pro-active in establishing an online reputation. One powerful way to do this is by requesting as many real customer reviews as possible and doing at the time the service is provided. 

The days of asking the neighbors for “their guy” when considering a project are long gone. Consumers today are conditioned to turn to Google when they need information. Consumers now trust third-party review sites as much as a word of mouth recommendation. And many are not patient enough to read the details, but instead, rely on the star rating. While not totally logical the star rating appearing on a site such as a Google Business page, a Better Business Bureau business Profile page or a site such as Home Advisor heavily influences buying decisions.

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Steven Wyer

Chief Operating Officer at The Review Solution
Steven Wyer is the Chief Operating Officer of Third Coast Interactive, Inc. and the author of Violated Online. As COO of Third Coast Interactive, Steven Wyer oversees platform development, sales, marketing and internal operations. These responsibilities include global expansion into targeted vertical markets that can best leverage the power of The Review SolutionTM, a service that offers consumers a convenient way to post online reviews for local, regional and national businesses.