I was looking at some research into customer reviews on econsultancy earlier today and I was not surprised by the results.
88% of people consulted reviews
52% said friend recommendations were important
48% said consumer reviews were important
But the one statistic that really stood out was 67% of people with concerns about trustworthiness of the reviews, believing positive ones were paid for and negative ones suppressed.
I think that a healthy question needs to be raised when look at reviews from customers and it is the responsibility of the publisher to check the source ... Trip Adviser don't do this and it has caused a lot of issues for businesses especially when your competitor has decided to attack your business.
We get reviews from all of our customers at Momentum Coach Hire (MCH) and try to respond as quickly as possible to service issues. it is not always perfect but we are trying our best to improve our levels of customer service.
We request reviews from all of the customers using CoachCompare.Com and we make sure that all reviews come from customers who have actually booked the trip. We do edit the reviews and we don't always publish the comment whilst including the score - this is to make sure the coach hire companies are not being unfairly treated.
Recently whilst working out how to deal with the Marketing warfare strategy our competitor was implementing against us we had to talk with Review Centre. They have put checks in place to stop fraudulent reviews from both sides and even though we still found a few issues they did resolve the problems well.
Reviews are good and so is a healthy distrust because every customer must make their own mind up based on the complete experience they have with an organisation.