Etiquette expert WIlliam Hanson’s tips for leaving a fair online review

Nearly half of Brits NEVER purchase anything online without checking reviews first, according to research.

The research, of 2,000 adults, found people will read at least seven reviews before deciding whether to book a hotel, six reviews for a tradesperson and only four reviews for hairdressers or barbers.

Quality of service (54 per cent), reliability (47 per cent) and value for money (46 per cent) are some of the key elements they look for within a review before deciding.

The most popular services reviewed around the nation include hotels (respondents leave a review, on average, 27 per cent of the time), restaurants (25 per cent) and trade businesses (24 per cent), with insurers (17 per cent) coming in last.

Despite their importance, 17 per cent of people admit to never leaving an online review after experiencing a product or service.

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High angle vintage toned image of a young man typing on the laptop keyboard in his apartment, sitting by the wooden desk while working, writing a novel or just browsing the web.

Many people don’t bother leaving reviews (stock image) (

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A further one fifth (22 per cent) do not think about the potential impact their review – whether positive or negative – can have on a business.

Checkatrade has teamed up with the UK’s leading etiquette expert, William Hanson, to create ‘Reviews in Review’ – a guide to help educate the nation on online review etiquette.

Hanson said: “There is an etiquette for everything in life, and online testimonials and reviews are no exception.

“They enable us to check if that hotel bedroom really is a quiet as the hotel’s marketing says it is, or if the plumber we’re about to hire will turn up on time or keep us waiting.

“Information and knowledge is power, but users of these sites must use the review function properly and courteously if it is to be effective.”

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Of those who post online reviews, people will write on average 47 a year – equating to a staggering 2.1 billion online reviews annually.

People from London are the most diligent (leaving 79 reviews on average per year) and respondents from the South West lag behind, leaving only 27 reviews a year on average.

When asked why they haven’t left an online review, 23 per cent claimed lack of motivation, followed by not being a priority (23 per cent) and forgetting (20 per cent) being the main reasons why.

Despite this, 90 per cent admit to relying on reading reviews to help them make a purchasing decision, according to the OnePoll figures.

The research also found people will read at least seven reviews before deciding whether to book a hotel, six reviews for a tradesperson and only four reviews for hairdressers/barbers.

Mike Fairman, CEO of Checkatrade, said: “Customer reviews are the very essence of Checkatrade.

“In fact, we have over five million customer reviews and have a team dedicated to doing spot checks to ensure they are real.

“With 90 per cent of people relying on reviews to help them make an informed decision, we hope this guide will arm them with the elements that make up an insightful review so that they continue to share their experiences in a way that is useful to others.”

WIlliam Hanson’s tips for leaving a fair online review

1. Share Anecdotes – Bring a bit of colour to your review to really paint a picture – rather than keeping it to a simple ‘this service was good, I’d recommend them’, share an anecdote to illustrate why.

2. Pace Yourself – Don’t write a review straight away while you’re in the moment – your feelings may change once you’ve had time to think about it.

But make sure you leave the review within one week so you still remember all the details that will make it a helpful review for others.

3. The Fairness Test – Before leaving a review, always ask yourself ‘is this fair?’ and ‘were my expectations realistic?’ Your handyman is not a babysitter, and neither are they a concierge – so don’t expect them to sign for your packages or offer day care while you’re out.

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