Posted on Leave a comment

A Guide to Google Customer Ratings

There is something going on with these paid-for “online review” companies. We thought you should know.

To summarize the data below, this is our essential conclusion:

Essentially the point of these paid-for services is to ensure that the company pays a service to help them avoid or remove bad reviews, hence propping up a rating that is “influenced” by the company itself.

Therefore aggregate rating scores that come from these paid-for services are not nearly as credible and believable as actual Google Customer Reviews


Rating scores should be something an online buyer can trust as being real and not just a tool of the company publicizing it.

These paid-for review services seem to be popping up everywhere. Companies that used to use the much more credible Google Review system (more on that below) are now replacing Google with these online paid-for review services and websites that promise all sorts of benefits to the company. Why do they do it? There is one reason and one reason only. To make sure they have a higher rating. But it goes much deeper than that.

First, we should comment that as a company 100% dedicated to the planet and to being ethical, we would never do such a thing. Reviews are important. We believe that all reviews should be for the benefit of the customer, to inform them. A review score should be something trustworthy, and should never be a number that we could influence or change by bribing or negotiating with customers before or after a transaction. We believe that if a company can influence a review score so easily, then that review score is simply irrelevant.

What is the point of a review if companies can influence their ratings like that?

When you see an online seller use a private review service, you will almost always notice one interesting fact. The positive review percentage is often SKY HIGH. Our competitors in the contact lens industry are a great example, but it all over the place with online companies. We have even seen a 99% rating with one online company. Really?? 99%? Seriously?

How do they get these types of rating scores? These crazy high ratings are coming almost exclusively from paid-for review services that have very different protocols than Google does. Google calls these “Partner Sites” and wow are the rules of the road completely different. In fact, one could argue that the paid-for review sites are more about public relations, remarketing and doing damage control than being a credible review service.

So what is a “Partner Site”? What service or product are they selling to the companies that use them? What benefit do they bring and why are their review ratings figures so much higher than that of an actual Google Customer Rating? Let’s dig a bit deeper…

Examples of how review sites sell themselves to companies:

One site boasts that companies can “retain and engage visitors with our Consumer Care engine“. Yet another claims to companies that their site “provides you with a full cycle content engine to bring your customers together.”

Another company tells client corporations that “if a customer ever leaves a 1 or 2 star rating, you are instantly alerted, and can open up a private message board…” On another site, they claim “We make moderation seamless and simple…” and even have a “moderation window” (whatever that is) to help the company avoid a bad review.

Wow. If that isn’t obvious, we don’t know what is. Clearly the purpose of these review sites is to HELP the company avoid bad reviews.

Let’s think logically. How stupid would a company be to buy a service that doesn’t help them? More importantly, how crazy would a review site be if they offered a paid service but offered no benefit to the company? It actually all makes perfect ‘business’ sense when you think about it.

Let’s explore the services that some or all of these “review” websites provide to online companies:

        1. Collect your customer review data and other contact information for re-marketing, outreach and/or sales promotions;

        2. Allow the company to alter or personalize the review call-out, therefore altering the possible outcome of a review by influencing the reviewer in some fashion;

        3. Allow the company to contact the reviewer AFTER THEY HAVE REVIEWED so that they can influence the buyer into changing their review or offer the reviewer some incentive to remove a bad review;

        4. Allow the company to “personalize” the review request so that it appears to be a “survey” instead of a review or in some form influence a review outcome.

        5. Allows the company to directly offer incentives for leaving a review, sometimes even BEFORE they purchase.

        6. Since the reviewer is not anonymous with these services, these services can allow a company to blacklist or ban a customer who leaves a bad review. Theoritically, it could even open up the door for the company to take legal action against a reviewer.

Like they say “When something walks like a duck and talks like a duck, it is probably a duck.” Yes, we are indeed saying it. Review rating scores that derive from such practices (where companies can remove, negotiate or blacklist) is most certainly A DUCK!

Contactsforless.ca has the highest actual Google Customer Rating of all contact lens websites in Canada

When you check out our competitors, they use the paid-for services and most have disabled the Actual Google Review system they used to use. The reasons are most likely based on what you have already read. That is why we can say we have the HIGHEST GOOGLE RATING (actual Google rating that is not based on a paid-for “partner site”) among our industry. We thought you should know that too.

You see, when your actual google rating is verifiable, unalterable and anonymous, then why pay someone to help dilute that rating? We don’t. We don’t have to. As for the others, ask them why they do it. I bet you they won’t want to talk about it. In fact, they probably don’t want us talking about it either. Yes – that makes sense doesn’t it.

Want to view our actual Google Customer Review? We have the highest rating in our industry in Canada. Period! Click here (and remember it is not diluted by any paid-for review service or “partner site” as Google calls them).

Actual Google Customer Reviews for online customers are anonymous and cannot be removed, altered or negotiated away by the company being reviewed

Well, that says it all, doesn’t it? In other words, reviews are not supposed to be marketing tools for companies to promote themselves. That is – unless the unalterable reviews are actually high, like ours are. Instead, private review sites basically allow the company to dilute any bad reviews using their private paid-for review system. What does this mean to you as a customer?

In fact, don’t just believe us. Google tells us right up front what the rating system is all about:

 

“Google doesn’t modify existing ratings. To provide consistent ratings, we calibrate ratings and filter out what we consider to be untrustworthy or otherwise questionable.”

 

…and then Google lists 30 non-Google (presumably all private and/or paid for) review sites that get mixed in with the actual Google Customer Ratings that Google itself collects. Again the conclusion is pretty simple. Google Reviews take comments ONLY from actual buyers, cannot be influenced or bribed with offers or special coupons or free stuff, and are 100% anonymous.

Why does anonymous matter? When a customer is NOT anonymous, the company can react to the review directly to the customer by either blacklisting them, offering them “goodies” to buy again and review again – this time with a higher review score. There is a reason that Google does it the way they do it – and it is not only better, it is more credible as a review system.

Can you trust these private, paid-for reviews then?

It is hard to say actually. How can you truly trust a REVIEW SCORE when you know that the company can contact the reviewers and offer them refunds, rebates or even free products to entice them to change their reviews? How can you trust a review score when you know the PURPOSE OF THE REVIEW SERVICE is to ASSIST THE COMPANY IN GETTING HIGH REVIEWS?

What is the point of a review if it is solely there to benefit the company’s image? Clearly there is something going on here…

A review is supposed to be a trusted source from which YOU THE CUSTOMER can learn, objectively, about the company you may (or may not) buy from. It is supposed to help YOU. It is not supposed to help the company show off how great they are (or are not). One article that advises users on how to best use these paid and/or private review sites states: “Offering a discount in exchange for a review nurtures customer loyalty while also providing content for other customers.”* Again, more of the same. Need we say more?

Trust our reviews: Contactsforless.ca thinks differently

Contactsforless.ca has NEVER used paid-for review services and never will. We believe that Google Customer Reviews for online sellers is the best, most accurate and most customer-safe review system. Yes, sometimes a product will be late or a mistake is made and a company get a 1, 2, 3 or 4 star review. We at Contactsforless.ca accept those reviews and do not try to “flag” or stop them. We simply do not believe that is the fair and honest thing to do.

Clearly other companies feel differently. In fact almost ALL OF THE OTHER CONTACT LENS SITES in Canada use private review sites as their customer review system. Almost all! We think we know why and now you do too.

So, it is our view that you should always buy your contact lenses based on Google Customer Reviews, not “partner sites”. Why? When you receive unalterable reviews that cannot be negotiated or bribed into being changed, you know you are getting the real information on a company. Buy smart and you will always buy happier.

To read more about the Contactsforless.ca mission, please click here.

The quote above in (*) is located here.

 

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Food Banks Across Canada

51% of Net Profits to Support Food Banks

Contactsforless.ca is launching a brand new food-charity project as we are experiencing this unsettling COVID-19 crisis. When you choose this charity you are enabling us to donate 51% or more of our net profits to an assortment of charities across Canada including critically-important food banks across our great nation. In other words, this is a time when we MUST come together for the good of the nation and the world and you are now a part of that great effort.

Help those most in need of food in times like these…

As you probably can figure out all by yourself, two things are true. One – we all need food to survive. Two – when times get really tough, the poorest and the most vulnerable (poor families, seniors, disabled, etc.) have a much harder time getting resources. That is why we are launching this “Food Banks Across Canada” project.

In Canada, we have been doing a good job of lowering the poverty rate. But the reality is that tens of thousands of Canadians still go hungry every night, and many are seniors, disabled and children. If that doesn’t break your heart, we don’t know what will.

COVID-19 has changed everything!

During the COVID-19 virus outbreak, distribution is being bottlenecked, resources are scarce, and those with more resources and income are more able to afford buying food online or have the time to go to the store whenever they need to in order to purchase groceries. Those who are “working poor” or even unemployed may not have the money, time or even ability to get to a store.

We need to do more. Period. As a result, we are doing what we can. You can help too. Just buy contact lenses with us Canada. It is pretty easy. Food banks is a great way to start. Yes – there is much to do, but if the poorest and most vulnerable can’t get access to food, there is little chance they can improve their own lives. Sometimes people just need a hand. Your hand with our hand is a great way to get that accomplished!

Work with us!

Yes. Work with us why don’t you? There is no other website in Canada like us – and certainly no other contact lens company like ours. Buy from us and you will see the difference. We are the fastest growing contact lens site in Canada. Why? Because we do everything differently.

To learn more about how food insecurity is a serious problem in Canada, click here.

To see how many non-profits we support with donations, click here.

Posted on Leave a comment

Contact Lenses and the Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Blog image of contact lenses

How Does the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Affect Contact Lens Wearers?

Important advice to all contact lens wearers who worry about contracting the Coronavirus through the use of contact lenses.

Contact lens wearers in Canada are just like any other online buyer. They worry about this crazy and unpredictable Coronavirus, otherwise known as COVID-19 (or in medical circles as SARS-CoV-2). Well, we have some very important tips, updates, and some super important video links as well. See below:

Tip #1

Wash you hands for as long as it takes to sing the Happy Birthday song!

Huh? As it turns out the “Happy Birthday” song sung one time lasts around 21-25 seconds. If you use soap, warm water and sing this song while you wash your hands, you will be making sure that your hands are fully disinfected. And who doesn’t love the “Happy Birthday” song huh?

Tip #2

Contact Lenses are safe to use but…

Generally contact lenses are safe to wear during a crazy time like this but with an important caveat. If you do the RIGHT TYPE OF CLEANING of your lenses, everything should be fine. But if not, you could really mess things up. According to the Centre for Ocular Research & Education, in Waterloo, Ontario:

 

“Contact lenses are a safe, highly effective form of vision correction used by millions of people worldwide, but ignoring good contact lens care can have a devastating effect on eye health and vision,” says CORE senior research associate Miriam Heynen, MSc, who conducted the experiment with laboratory research assistant Vivian Chan, Bsc.

 

What does this mean for you? It means that you need to refer to TIP #1 (wash your hands for over 20 seconds) and use a clean towel to dry your hands to ensure you do NOT increase chances of an ocular infection. But isn’t this true all the time, even when we don’t have this scary Coronavirus? YES YES YES!! What we mean is, it doesn’t matter what is happening in the world. Always wash your hands before putting in and taking out contact lenses. Oh – and ALWAYS WASH YOUR WEEKY OR MONTHLY LENSES PROPERLY with high quality lens care solution. To see our lens care solution products (we only carry the best stuff), click here.

It is also important to remember that daily contact lenses are quite a bit safer than weekly or monthly lenses in this regard. As the Centre for Ocular Research & Education goes on to say:

 

Clean hands plus use of daily disposables results in the lowest risk of contact lens-related complications. For wearers of reusable lenses there are additional guidelines on lens and case cleaning which can be downloaded for patient use from CORE’s Contact Lens Update educational resource.

 

If you are a user of weekly or monthly lenses, please CLICK HERE to download the PDF on proper care of those lenses.

Tip #3

Never wear your contact lenses longer than you should!

This is a no-brainer in our view, something that you should know already. But it is important to remind all customers that you should ONLY WEAR YOUR CONTACTS AS LONG AS THE PRODUCT INSTRUCTS YOU TO. That means if you wear dailies, wear them for only ONE DAY. If you wear two week lenses, do not go past 14 days, and so on. 

Why is is this so important? Because bacteria can accumulate on these lenses and can cause eye infections. What is so serious about this is if you DO NOT CLEAN your lenses properly or wear them for the amount of time recommended, you could be doing permanent damage to your eyes. You certainly don’t want that do you? 

 

For more on this, watch this video by our CEO – all about how to buy, wear and handle your contact lenses:

Tip #4

If you are sick with a cold, a flu or any other short-term illness…

This is an important tip to remember. If you ARE SICK, with anything, it is always a good idea to suspend wearing your contact lenses if at all possible. This does not have to be a big, long-term suspension. Just wear them as little as possible while you are sick and contagious (usually the first few days you become sick).

If you cannot stop wearing your contact lenses or if that is simply too inconvenient, then take EXTRA CARE when cleaning and caring for your lenses. What does this mean?  Make sure your hands and the surfaces around (where you put in and take out contact lenses) is properly sterilized. You do NOT want to insert bacteria or virus elements directly into your eye. If someone in your family is sick and you are not – again – take extra care that your hands, your contacts and the area where you handle your contacts are clean and sterile. 

Tip #5

Buy your contact lenses with us at Contactsforless.ca if you live in Canada. Why?

There are many reasons for this! But one of the big ones is that we have a company policy that no employee can work while sick, PERIOD! We send any person on our team home immediately and then disinfect the area where they work. This has been a company policy for years. While other companies may or may not take such precautions, we have always made sure our customers are safe.

Now with the Coronavirus, it is even more critical that all boxes and products that are handled are done so by folks who are healthy and who are NOT INFECTED by the Coronavirus. Luckily no one on our staff has been hit by this and we take great precautions at our facility in British Columbia, Canada to prevent ANYBODY FROM THE PUBLIC from entering our building. We do not allow anyone in who is not a courier or a shipping agent or staff member. This is smart and although this may or may not be the policy of the big, monster corporate giant websites who compete with us, it is our policy every single day and every single hour of every day.

 

MORE INFO BELOW:

View a very smart science-based video update on the Coronvirus view the video below or Click Here

To visit The Centre for Ocular Research & Education website – Click Here

 

To view two press releases related to this topic, please see:

Top Contact Lens Experts Dispel Misinformation Regarding Coronavirus / COVID-19 Protections for Contact Lens Wearers

CORE Advises Contact Lens Wearers on Safe Use Amidst COVID-19 Concerns, Reinforces Proper Hand Hygiene

Read all of our CEO Blog Reports – Click Here