2,500 Opinions on a Toaster

Last week, after two hours and three separate visits to Amazon.com, I bought a toaster. And while I am a frozen waffles champion, my morning Eggos weren’t the reason behind this lengthy process. Instead, it was because my two finalists offered more than 2,500 reviews for my consideration. That’s right — more than 2,500 people felt passionately enough about their $25 dollar toaster to write a review on Amazon.

It’s nearly 2018 — and I think most buyers understand that reading reviews is a significant part of the purchasing process, but many (aside from the more than 2,500 toaster reviewers) overlook the importance of writing them. I know — 2,500 reviews is a lot, especially on a toaster. But that number is likely just a drop in the bucket when compared to the total number of toaster buyers.

If it wasn’t already clear, the review economy is especially intriguing to me. A few short years ago there was a major gap in the purchasing process. Buyers had to trust advertisements (which tend to exaggerate a bit), sales pitches (which tend to exaggerate a bit more), or seek out opinions from their own network.

A decade later websites like Yelp and Glassdoor see more than 150 million and 48 million unique visitors per month, respectively. The idea that anybody who has eaten at a restaurant or been employed is able to write a review for an audience that large is incredible.

So why does anybody write a review? There’s the obvious answer- to provide feedback on a good (or particularly bad) experience. But what is the actual motivation?

Writing reviews is empowering. It gives consumers a voice, and sites like Yelp and Glassdoor give them a platform on which to share it. Consumers crave validation of their opinions, and sharing their perspective on a public forum frequently provides that sense of affirmation and a feeling that they have just provided help to “the crowd”.

So riddle me this: Why are people so willing to review a restaurant they ate at once (and may never visit again), but aren’t reviewing the software or service they use at work every single day?

Reviewing the software you use every day serves multiple purposes. Not only are your insights helping other B2B buyers make the most-informed decision possible, but you’re guiding the manufacturer with insights on how they can improve.

You are also providing insight to your own employer on how well a particular solution is meeting your needs. We all know the struggle of using a software that doesn’t hit the mark, not to mention the slow-downs and financial losses that come with it. Reviews are a proactive medium for you to let your employer know that the selected product or service may not be the best fit for you and your team.

And what decision maker doesn’t know the struggle of trying to select a new software tool or business service? The pitches, the demos, the high expectations — yikes. But just ten minutes of your time spent writing a review could be the difference between a fellow professional listening to pitch after pitch, or making the right decision the first time. Seems like a pretty simple way to potentially make a pretty big impact.

If my call-to-action wasn’t clear yet, go write a review. Go encourage your colleagues to write reviews. If you’re in a leadership role, empower your team to review the solutions they use and show them that you value their opinion. Allow them to use their voice to provide real feedback on the tools they use every day. Just ten minutes of your time could help a fellow professional, and if you write a review on G2 Crowd, you’re showing off your knowledge on a platform that sees more than one million visitors per month. Ten minutes of your time to potentially help more than one million people per month — what are you waiting for?