How to Know You're Reading Real Painter Reviews to Ensure You Get the Best Service
Today, most of us go online to get the information we’re looking for, whether it’s finding movie times, a place to eat, or a contractor to hire for property renovations. Search engines and social media platforms have undoubtedly made it easier to make these types of decisions -- in the past, we mostly had to rely on word of mouth and advertisements, both of which could be misleading. As convenient as online searches are, however, they’re not free from false information, either. And in many cases, the source of said false information isn’t the business itself, but rather fake reviews and remarks from an external actor.
At Nash Painting, we’re familiar with this unfortunate tactic, having received an onslaught of fake reviews from a local competitor just last year. While this attack certainly harmed our business (and others) in some ways, ploys such as these also harm potential customers, clouding the atmosphere so it becomes difficult to know who to trust or what to believe. While some companies falsify unreasonably harsh criticism to sabotage a rival, others may write highly positive reviews about themselves under the guise of random customers to prop up their reputation. Either way, deceit is at play, and the customer stands to suffer the most as a result; you may wind up hiring a low-quality contractor after reading phony positive reviews, or you might miss out on a great painting service because you trusted the numerous false negative remarks made about them.
As you navigate the online space for local painters, it’s important to stay alert for fake reviews. If you’re not savvy or paying attention, it can be easy to assume that everything you read is real. Fortunately, a skeptical and trained eye can make it easier to spot fake reviews, whether positive or negative. Here’s how to know you’re actually reading real painter reviews to ensure you get the best service from a trustworthy provider.
How to Ensure You're Reading Real Reviews
Put Yourself in the Reviewer’s Shoes
Whenever reading reviews online, it helps to imagine yourself in the reviewer’s situation. As a customer yourself, consider the types of questions you might ask about a particular painter and what concerns you might have before, during, and after the project. Most of the authentic reviews out there will feature reasonable and relatable remarks. For instance, let’s say someone leaves a 3-star (out of 5) review for a painting company because they noticed that some portions of their house exterior required touching up after the fact. It’s not difficult to picture yourself having a similar complaint if you were in the same situation. Upon receiving such a comment, the best painting companies will quickly and publicly respond with an apology and a commitment to amending their mistake. Witnessing this exchange will give you a broader idea of the business’ shortcomings and strengths, which is a win for everyone.
Fake reviews, on the other hand, can be difficult to relate to for a number of reasons. For one thing, they might be extremely short, lacking any sort of detail that might illuminate an actual issue. Additionally, fake reviews, positive or negative, tend to be unrealistically extreme and slanted toward one side. While it’s possible for a real customer to have an extremely bad or great experience, most real reviews retain some semblance of balance. Moreover, fake reviews can be oddly personal and irrelevant to the business’ services, going after specific employees. In the event that an employee truly does something to offend a customer, the customer will typically bring the issue to the manager’s or owner’s attention before anything else -- these private matters may be made public, but it’s not common, so such a review should raise a red flag.
Do Some Search Engine Sleuthing
As time goes on, bad actors get better at crafting convincing fake reviews. If you’re on the fence about a particular remark, put on your detective’s cap and do some virtual digging. With the proper skills and methodology, it’s usually easy to uncover a fake review by taking a closer look at who apparently wrote it. Fake reviews come from fake profiles, after all, even if a real entity (e.g., a commercial painting competitor) is behind them.
Before anything else, take a look at their user profile picture -- a lack of any photo is suspicious, but the presence of a picture doesn’t mean the person is “real” either, as the image may have been ripped from someone else or another website. If the review platform in question allows you to click on the user’s profile, doing so can reveal plenty. You might be able to see some of their other reviews. If so, see if you notice any patterns -- are all of their reviews negative or extreme? Are they going after businesses in close proximity or at random? Are there repeated phrases in their reviews for different services or products? You might even try messaging the reviewer to get more information on their comments. In most cases, fake reviewers won’t get back to you.
Pay Attention to Timing
Timestamps are another useful tool in your belt for flagging fake reviews, and, fortunately, most review sites let you know the date and time of the review’s original posting. In many cases (such as ours), fake reviews are unleashed as a smear campaign against another company; as a result, most of these reviews are clustered around a small window of time. Take a look at those 1-star (or whatever the metric may be) reviews and see when they were posted. If they all seem to fall around the same day and/or time of day, you should be skeptical of their authenticity. Of course, some times of year are simply busier for interior & exterior painting services. Spring and summer, for instance, tend to be when painters are most active, so an increase in reviews during these seasons is expected. Again, however, if an inordinate chunk of these reviews are extremely negative (or positive), be wary.
Honing and maintaining those language skills is also useful in separating real reviews from fake ones. Most (though not all) customers of painting companies in your area will be native English speakers. As such, you can expect to see fluent and fairly well-written online reviews for a particular painter, with some exceptions. Yes, you’ll run into spelling mistakes and minor grammatical errors here and there, but if the review is real, you typically won’t find anything out of the ordinary. Fake reviews, however, sometimes come from foreign entities; even if the culprit is the painting company next door, the service they hire for their fake review campaign could be located across the world. If you have a hard time deciphering a given review, then there’s a strong chance it wasn’t actually typed by someone in your community, especially if the review features some of the other red flags mentioned above, such as vague and extreme language, a fake/unverified profile, odd timing, etc.
Read Reviews from Multiple Sources
Sorting out a fake review from a real one is sometimes pretty easy and sometimes challenging. In order to get a stronger sense of a home painting business’ reputation, it helps to diversify your review-reading experience if possible. There are many places for people to leave reviews for painting services. Google and Facebook are the two most popular platforms, but there’s also HomeAdvisor, Angie’s List, Yellowpages, and many more. Each of these sites has its own terms of service and review identification process, which means a fake review that lands on one site might not get the go-ahead for another.
Some review sites might also encourage reviewers to go more in-depth, break down their experience in a formatted way, post pictures of project results, and more. Not every painting provider will necessarily be reviewed across so many websites, but it’s worth checking out at least a few different places to see what previous customers have to say. Taking this approach can also cue you into fake reviews by revealing any gaps between what people are saying on one site and what they’re saying on another -- a lack of consistency on this broader scale is abnormal and might point to some sort of manipulation.
Searching for the Genuine Article
While major platforms like Google and Facebook continue to bolster their efforts against fraudulent information, fake reviews remain a prevalent force in every industry. At Nash Painting, we’ve been able to undo much of the damage done to us by the malicious misinformation campaign thrown at us, but we want to ensure our customers across Nashville, Brentwood, and Franklin, TN, that our online presence accurately reflects our commitment to excellent service and craftsmanship -- this will take time and ongoing vigilance against fake reviews on everyone’s part.
To learn more about us, our hassle free painting services, and our values, call us at 615-829-6858 today! And click here to read some of our customer testimonials.