We read online reviews at many points throughout the buying cycle. Whether it’s a review by an analyst, a critic, or a peer; we read reviews for reassurance that we making the right decision. While we use reviews to feel better about our decisions, we should not use reviews to make our decisions.
This is especially true for serious business purchases like software. For more serious purchases, the quality of the review becomes much more important. And let’s face it; there are a lot of opinions out there. So how do you know whether or not to take an online review seriously?
When you read reviews, you should always consider the source. I mean “source” in two ways: the author of the review and the host of the review. We often focus first on the content of a review, but the context of where the review is hosted and the author can dramatically change how much we should trust the content.
For business reviews in general, these five questions will help you evaluate the quality of the review:
- Does the reviewer state their name and company?
- Has the reviewer actually used the product or service?
- How well written or thoughtful is the review?
- Where is the review hosted?
- Why would that website host reviews?
For business software purchases it’s important to also consider:
- Did the reviewer use the software for the same purpose?
- Is the company that reviewed the software similar to yours? Factors such as company size or industry-specific needs can greatly affect your experience with a software solution.
- Does it seem like the reviewer was someone who was actually using the software or just observing its implementation?
- How recent was the review?
Even if you’ve found several reviews you consider trustworthy, don’t lose sight of the big picture. It’s not about how popular the product is on a given online reviews forum, it’s about whether or not this product is a good fit for you.
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