Home Security Ratings: Some Context for Consumers
Understanding the various reviews and rating systems that evaluate home security providers may seem like learning a new language composed of letters, numbers and stars – and don’t forget about context. In any language, context means a lot.
Today we take a closer look at the world of business reviews to see how well they deliver on objectivity, accuracy and overall usefulness. Whether the subject involves home security or any other product or service, not even the scrutinizers should be above a little scrutiny every now and then.
Forums can be problematic
Many conversations that would’ve taken place verbally 20 years ago now take place in a virtual setting, including those that involve brands. Quite a few websites aim to package that kind of information in formats that appeal to consumers.
Unfortunately, these sites face some inherent problems that can affect any kind of mass media forum. Because the sites reserve the right (and rightfully so) to act as moderators, some information never finds its way into the dialogue. Is a gatekeeper completely neutral in every instance, or capable of biases and honest mistakes like any other human being?
Review sites also have to face the pitfalls of scale. A small number of reviews, or even a single review, can skew the entire picture, especially if the message veers toward either extreme of positive or negative. Then there’s the tendency for less assertive speakers to get lost in background noise. Imagine a town hall meeting, or even a session of Congress. Who tends to draw more attention – the mild-mannered voices of reason or the people flinging verbal grenades?
In the business of judging businesses
Don’t assume that every source of business reviews operates strictly as a public service. Although some of these organizations are nonprofits, others are actually businesses themselves.
That’s not to say that companies actually pay to get good ratings and reviews. In some cases, however, companies that advertise on for-profit review sites may receive more exposure on their lists of rated providers.
Let the browser beware
Do you trust the accuracy of everything you see on the Internet 100 percent? It’s not unheard of for companies to receive brutally negative “customer reviews” that turn out to have been written by embittered ex-employees or even competitors. By the same token, some insiders have written glowing reviews about their own companies without disclosing the connection.
Although many sites don’t publish consumer reviews without first verifying their authenticity, not everyone follows the same kind of standards.
Translating and understanding
Generally speaking, consumers can look at reviews and ratings as a useful tool to become better informed about products and services. Just remember that when it comes to evaluating home security providers and other companies through the language of business reviews, make sure that nothing gets lost in translation.