Hiring moving companies based on reviews – yes or no?
People in the U.S. change their homes and offices quite frequently. In fact, more than 27 million American citizens change their place of residence every given year. As you might expect, the moving industry is quite large. Most people choose to go with one of the top-rated moving companies, but some choose to select local movers based on their reputation. Hiring moving companies based on reviews is usually a good way to find a reputable mover, but it does have some drawbacks. In this article, we are going to show you what a good customer review looks like, how to recognize a fake review, as well as answer the question of whether you should hire movers based on their reviews.
The anatomy of a customer review
The first thing that we need to analyze is the customer review itself. What is it, and why do almost 90% of customers read online reviews before making a choice (according to BrightLocal local customer review survey). Basically, a customer review is nothing more than a piece of information for a prospective customer. It represents actual experiences that another customer had with the company. As you might imagine, it is in every company’s best interest that their business is rated highly. But are 5-star reviews all that is important?
The “five-star” customer review indicates that the reviewing customer was “perfectly” satisfied. This particular review usually has several components to it, provided it was an honest review. First, 5-star reviews are usually very detailed and specific. They may also mention specific employees by name, as well as exceptional customer service. In other words, these reviews are critical when you want to research and compare moving companies. That being said, you need to be wary of 5-star customer reviews, as they are quite often solicited by the moving company in question.
Think about it for a second. Every moving company wants its business to be rated highly. But the fact of the matter is that customers are much more likely to leave a negative review when they are dissatisfied than a positive one when they are happy with the service. When a company does everything right, most of us take it for granted. Yes, some people do make the effort to write a glowing customer review but they are in the minority. More commonly, 5-star reviews are, in one form or another, fake reviews.
For a savvy customer, the ability to spot a fake review can be much more useful than any number of 5-star reviews. The problem is that they are really hard to spot when hiring moving companies based on reviews.
How to recognize a fake review
Fake reviews are an inevitability in today’s world. It absolutely stands to reason, as online reviews are a very powerful tool for a company to rise from obscurity. For this reason, many moving companies are enticed to create fake reviews both on their own website and on several other review sites. While some fake reviews can be rather easy to spot, some are written so well that it is absolutely impossible to distinguish them from “the real deal”.
While it may not be the best thing to do, one option is to ignore the “perfect” ratings altogether. Yes, you might be depriving yourself of some useful information, but you will also eliminate most of the fake reviews at the same time. When a company solicits a “paid review”, they do not want it to be a 4, or 3-star one. They want a perfect review. Therefore, if you simply ignore all these 5-star reviews, you will be filtering out most of the fake ones. Additionally, you will want to make sure that you:
- Do not dwell on the negatives
- Read the reviews in full
- Take note of the most recent reviews
- Be mindful of “review patterns”
The main reason why you want to spend a bit more time on making sure what you are reading is true is the fact that by doing so you will avoid most of the common moving scams as well. For example, if you see that there is an overwhelming number of 5-star reviews in a short timespan, that usually indicates that the moving company is paying for those reviews. What you want to be looking at are that inconspicuous two-star, three-star, and four-star reviews. Check how many of them there are and what they say about the company.
Do not dwell on the negatives
Do not overly fret about the negative reviews, however. As mentioned previously, most people leave a review when they are dissatisfied with the service. Some people may simply give a five-star review and say nothing. Others will be extremely wordy about their negative experiences. There are no hard-set rules. But as you read, you will notice similarities between the reviews. And these similarities will tell you everything that you need to know. Hiring moving companies based on reviews can be a lengthy, tedious process, after all. But that is the only way that you can be certain that you are hiring the best moving assistance possible.
Read the reviews in full when hiring moving companies based on reviews
Many people will simply go with a moving company that has the highest overall score. And that is perfectly logical. After all, why should one bother to read all the reviews when they can simply look at the aggregate score? This would be true if we were to discount fake reviews. The very fact that many people judge a moving company by their overall score is what prompts so many fake reviews. This is precisely why you need to take your time and read the reviews in full. Think of it as an additional step when planning your long distance moving process. Reading the reviews takes time, which is why all moving guides recommend starting your search for movers as soon as possible. The more time you have, the easier it will be to find an ideal mover.
Take note of the most recent reviews
Many online review sites have an algorithm for sorting reviews. This means that “more helpful” customer reviews show up first. And those reviews have a high tendency to be professionally written. What you might want to do is the following: Instead of looking at the top reviews, look at the most recent reviews. The most recent reviews are more likely to reflect the moving company’s current state than reviews from a decade ago, no matter how helpful they were.
Furthermore, try to see if there are numerous reviews that are “similar”. While all reviews look to be made by different people, fake reviews are usually made by one person. This leads us to the next step.
Be mindful of review patterns
Let’s say that a moving company gets an honest negative review, followed by a large influx of positive reviews. If it happens once, it can be attributed to chance. But if it happens several times, it is a pattern. And this is just one of the patterns that you might want to be aware of. More commonly, the company will only have positive reviews, with a smattering of “I was dissatisfied but they fixed it!“. Spotting a review pattern is not always easy but you will want to make the effort anyway. The presence of such patterns can show you whether the moving company is honest or not.
Most top-rated moving companies will not utilize an overwhelming number of fake reviews. They will use just enough to make them seem great but not dishonest.
Hiring moving companies based on reviews – should you do it?
The answer to this question is not as simple as yes or no. It is a bit more nuanced. In an ideal world, where every customer review is truthful, the answer would be “yes, absolutely”. But with fake reviews being thrown in the mix, the answer is not as obvious. Still, customer reviews are usually the only information you have about the moving company in question. You should take heed of customer reviews but only after you know how to filter the true reviews from fake reviews. If you can make that distinction, then, yes, you should hire moving companies based on reviews. That being said, here’s a small bonus tip that can help you navigate between fake and honest customer reviews:
Know your specific needs
The best way to approach customer reviews is from a specific standpoint. For example, let’s say that you are looking to hire a moving company to help you with packing, transportation, and planning. You want to focus on reading the reviews that mention those specific characteristics. By knowing what is it exactly you need, hiring moving companies based on reviews becomes much easier.
All that being said, you still want to take a look at all the top moving companies in the country. There’s a good reason why they maintain their place as years go by. You can find more about all the top-rated movers, as well as numerous moving tips, simply by exploring the rest of the Consumer Opinion Guide.