What is Google Review?
Google Review is a user-led, star-based review system where customers, clients, and employees can come together and give a 1-5 rating (in ascendance) for goods and services received by any company listed on Google. They are also invited to give feedback in the form of a (hopefully) short comment.
What is it Really?
It is a supremely flawed online meritocracy that is led by how many employees and indebted clients you can get to give high reviews.
Is There a Better Option?
Trustpilot and TripAdvisor come to mind. Possibly Yelp but that has the same issues at times. Depending on the service you require, one of the first two could cover it.
How do we Spot the Fakes?
You look for large amounts of high star rating with either no review or a very brief one. Same with the other end.
Is it Just the Companies at Fault?
No. far from it. There is a slue of nasty consumer bitterness out there People giving one star ratings because a taxi firm was too busy or they were refused free stuff as compensation for an alleged slight. Generally a good rule of thumb is of a review has the phrase "I said...." and/or "they said..." and then a dreary one-sided recollection of some minor retail-skirmish, it is not likely to be too reliable.
Also some people have trouble relating the ranking to the review. I have read endless reviews that are complimentary with only a minor quibble, and yet they give them one or two stars. So the aggregation of star reviews can be misleading. This, it has to be said though, applies to ALL review sites, especially TripAdvisor.
How Can We Use it to Our Own Benefit?
You can remember that there are little tricks to see the real story.
For example, when it is a company where the clients may still need the company after terrible service (the two examples that come to mind are estate agents and employment agencies) clients may be afraid to leave bad reviews for fear of being struck off or evicted. So look for any bad reviews and see how many upvotes they have.
If they have fifty positives with one or zero upvotes and a handful of negative reviews with six or seven upvotes, you know then that the positives are coerced or employee led, and the negatives are most likely well-deserved.
The real highlight though is the owner responding. Do NOT be fooled by management-speak soaked hyperbole about emailing and them looking at it from some obsequious sounding trouser-stain offering to investigate for you! Not a bit of it. Watch the tone change remarkably when you get the email back!
Unless of course it is the landlady of The Golden Farm Pub in Cirencester who does not believe in holding back/having repeat custom: Observe:
It is obviously the customers fault her husband was tired and she works three jobs!
Apparently, she is not psychic.
Remember this: If you write a scathing comment and then decide to not be a total Karen, you have to DELETE the comment totally. Just by deleting the text and leaving the star-rating, Google will still retain and publish your knee-jerk rage, possibly without you even knowing it. This shows how Big Brother is not only watching you but recording and publicising you as well.
Before you post it, ask yourself, are you really wanting to increase the info Google has to pester your inbox with, and to possibly upset someone business for some small reason. every business has email, contact them directly, they will thank you for it. If they are stupid enough to be belligerent, well then consider it, but try to be the good guy first?
There is a bank somewhere, a vault of words, where every deleted drunk/high tweet, post, comment, or message is retained, attached to you and will one day, come back to you.
Just look at the absurd case of the cricketer Ollie Robinson recently sanctioned and banned for tweets he posted ten years ago. In case you did not see that, I said: 10 YEARS AGO.
This guy was 17. Want to know what I did when I was seventeen? It was a lot more fruity than writing some words.
Bear it in mind peeps.