Last updated: The gig economy and customer reviews: Trust in the digital era

The gig economy and customer reviews: Trust in the digital era


Listen to article

Download audio as MP3

The gig economy is now a commonplace term; on-demand service providers like Airbnb have established new peer-to-peer market verticals through crowdsourced labor and services. These verticals, which have served to create new jobs, raise global GDP, and improve worker satisfaction, have fostered greater trust in independent work and peer interaction. From Yelp to Twitter, customers are looking to the crowd. Read more to ensure that you are leveraging the crowd in your favor.

The nature of work is changing, and with that comes a new set of expectations. From unlimited vacation policies to contingent labor platforms like Upwork, alternatives to the traditional nine-to-five workday are disrupting the marketplace. Before Uber, for example, getting a cab required advanced notice or the ability to get one off the street. Uber’s on-demand service, aided by innovation in mobile and GPS, has created a quicker, cheaper alternative to taxis.

People are willing to spend their disposable income on the convenience of the service, and the total number of taxi rides has drastically increased as a result, raising GDP and creating jobs. This opens new market verticals in places where the need for a service depends on how quickly and efficiently it can be provided.

This disruption to the traditional workplace is paralleled in crowdsourced reviews. Learning from crowdsourced reviews is cheaper and faster than relying exclusively on expensive analysts. In the same way that Uber drivers are quickly available in locations that taxis might not go, crowdsourced online reviews can be accessed at the click of a button, from anywhere, at any time.

People might read Yelp to make a restaurant decision, rather than find a food critic article, or in the enterprise world, view technology product reviews to get an understanding of what their peers think of products, rather than jump straight into industry case studies. The immediacy of access means that peer reviews are often a first impression, which can either lead buyers to learn more, or turn them off.

The gig economy has also established greater trust in peers. With an expanding on-demand workforce, people are increasingly looking to the crowd for decision-making. Peer credibility rose from 57% to 63% from 2015 to 2016, while trust in industry analysts lagged behind, rising from only 50% to 53%. Buyers are looking to their peers to understand which products and services will benefit them, as peers can provide unbiased, individualized information.

For example, as a university IT professional, hearing from a peer about the performance of a backup system in an educational setting, rather than in a corporation, can give valuable insight. When 75% of purchasing decisions are influenced by conversations with peers, and 59% of people give brand recommendations, reviews are crucial to the conversion process.

Crowdsourced reviews are an opportunity to discover what’s working for clients and what needs improvements. Good reviews can reveal which locations, campaigns and products are most successful, verify promotional compliance and eliminate blind spots. Using on-demand workers to collect this information for personal use can provide valuable insight into business operations. However, workers can also demonstrate expertise in a topic through writing in-depth reviews outside of the gig framework.

Review platforms can establish a writer’s personal reputation as an industry thought leader, yielding better credentials as well as helping the company improve their product and directing peers to the best solutions. Ultimately, for businesses, reviews are free content, and as such they increase click-through rates, web ranking, consumer awareness and more. Both within and outside of the sharing economy, crowdsourced reviews are a valuable asset.

Interacting with customers through social media and review platforms is essential to keeping up with this new marketplace; 61% of consumers read online reviews before making purchasing decisions according to e-commerce, so show that your brand cares by connecting with reviewers through social media and review platforms.

This will help your business foster continued relationships with clients, as well as create new ones. Remember that no review is a bad review; a perfect ten out of ten can actually dissuade customers as they are less likely to believe that the reviews are real. If you see a negative review, join the discussion and help solve the problems your customers have to prove that your brand cares.

As the gig economy expands, trust in crowdsourced data will only continue to grow, and businesses should take advantage of the opportunities it creates.

Share this article


Search by Topic beginning with