Half of Brits won't make an online purchase without checking the reviews first

NEARLY half of Brits NEVER purchase anything online without checking reviews first, according to research.

The research of 2,000 adults found people will read at least seven reviews before deciding whether to book a hotel, six reviews for a tradesperson and only four reviews for hairdressers or barbers.

Quality of service (54%), reliability (47%) and value for money (46%) are some of the key elements they look for within a review before deciding.

The most popular services reviewed around the nation include hotels (respondents leave a review, on average, 27% of the time), restaurants (25%) and trade businesses (24%) with insurers (17%) coming in last.

Despite their importance, 17% of people admit to never leaving an online review after experiencing a product or service.

A further one fifth (22%) do not think about the potential impact their review – whether positive or negative – can have on a business.

As a result, Checkatrade has teamed up with the UK’s leading etiquette expert, William Hanson to create ‘Reviews in Review’ – a guide to help educate the nation on online review etiquette.

Hanson said: “There is an etiquette for everything in life, and online testimonials and reviews are no exception.

“They enable us to check if that hotel bedroom really is a quiet as the hotel’s marketing says it is, or if the plumber we’re about to hire will turn up on time or keep us waiting.”

“Information and knowledge is power, but users of these sites must use the review function properly and courteously if it is to be effective.”

Of those who post online reviews, people will write on average 47 a year – equating to a staggering 2.1 billion online reviews annually.

People from London are the most diligent (leaving 79 reviews on average per year) and respondents from the South West lag behind, leaving only 27 reviews a year on average.

When asked why they haven’t left an online review, 23% claimed lack of motivation, followed by not being a priority (23%) and forgetting (20%) being the main reasons why.

Despite this, 90% admit to relying on reading reviews to help them make a purchasing decision, according to the OnePoll figures.

The research also found people will read at least seven reviews before deciding whether to book a hotel, six reviews for a tradesperson and only four reviews for hairdressers/barbers.

Mike Fairman, CEO of Checkatrade, said: “Customer reviews are the very essence of Checkatrade.

"In fact, we have over five million customer reviews and have a team dedicated to doing spot checks to ensure they are real.

‘’With 90% of people relying on reviews to help them make an informed decision, we hope this guide will arm them with the elements that make up an insightful review so that they continue to share their experiences in a way that is useful to others.”

William Hanson's tips for leaving a fair online review:

  1. Share Anecdotes – Bring a bit of colour to your review to really paint a picture – rather than keeping it to a simple ‘this service was good, I’d recommend them’, share an anecdote to illustrate why
  2. Pace Yourself – Don’t write a review straight away while you’re in the moment – your feelings may change once you’ve had time to think about it.
    But make sure you leave the review within one week so you still remember all the details that will make it a helpful review for others.
  3. The Fairness Test –   Before leaving a review, always ask yourself 'is this fair?' and 'were my expectations realistic?'

Your handyman is not a babysitter, and neither are they a concierge – so don’t expect them to sign for your packages or offer day care while you’re out.

But arguably not everybody is clued up on how to write the best review as one TripAdvisor review "written by a dog" has blasted a restaurant because the pet couldn't get its own table.

In some cases businesses have bit back at comments left online like one tattoo parlour that left a scathing response to a cheeky customer who threatened to leave a bad review.

There are now fines for fake reviews left online in reforms introduced and designed to protect the public from being ripped off.

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