Selecting a VoIP provider and/or service can be tricky. With a ton of literature at users’ disposal it can be hard to discern the validity of sources. So, to combat PR pieces and company endorsed/sponsored write-ups, users often turn to reviews, user written or otherwise. Though these reviews often offer more assertive and critical assessments, they should not be considered an absolute authority. Now, many websites are able to manipulate reviews to create a more favorable representation; therefore, creating an inaccurate presentation of services/products. Though reviews are useful, it is important that users have access to a range of opinions, negative and positive, as well as thoroughly investigate a provider/service/product when selecting one.
As mentioned above, companies are able to manipulate reviews. For example, online shopping mogul, Amazon.com, has been revealed to be omitting negative reviews that criticized certain aspects of service (shipping, fulfillment, packaging, etc.). This can happen with VoIP provider reviews as well. Providers do not want an abundance (if any) of negative postings about their service as they try and attract new subscribers. Users should arm themselves with thorough knowledge of the VoIP product/system. In doing this, VoIP reviews should be balanced with factual information regarding the product—i.e. company portfolio, profile, features, pricing plans, operability, etc. Once this is done, users will be in a better position to weigh out ability with operability, functionality, and workability–typically detailed in reviews. Aside from standard reviews, user reviews are great supplemental tools in that they offer a hands-on experience from an actual end user; however, they also are by no means absolute. These reviews typically offer insight from isolated instances/usages, and therefore they cannot speak solely on behalf of the product/service/provider.
While providers look to retain a sparkling PR image, negative reviews may be diluted as well as omitted. Many reviews may be the byproduct of corporate sponsorship. In this case, the faults of a product or system are not critiqued. Instead, positive features are highlighted. In doing this, providers turn the attention of users towards what works—not what needs work. This dilutes any actual criticisms that may exist within or outside that review. Some reviews don’t offer insight either; instead, they run down the specs of the service/product/provider without offering any real opinion. This type of rehash holds little to no value. Essentially, it serves to overpower any negative criticism that may be floating around.
Though it’s easy to attach negativity to faceless organizations, especially when you hear things like this, some companies put forth a genuine effort to provide accurate information. For example, many VoIP providers offer extensive support that stretches guides, FAQs, and other platforms. Along with this, many also have online communities that encourage customer interaction, user reviews, and feedback. In doing this, these providers welcome feedback, thoughts, and comments in order to help them grow moving forward.
Reviews are a very useful tool; however, their best use is as supplemental information. With companies diluting and omitting negative reviews, it is up to user to round their knowledge with a number of different sources. The VoIP industry has been experiencing growth in popularity. As this continues, there will undoubtedly be a flood of information released. It is important that users utilize this information in addition to reviews in selecting a provider/product/service.