BIRMINGHAM — In Water Technology’s May article, “Riding the changing wave of marketing,” Steve Marsh, a contributing author, writes about how social review sites are changing how companies run their businesses.

In the article, Marsh warns that “a tidal wave of change is coming” because of the rise in the use of the Internet for purchases. He explains that this change will impact how companies gain new customers as well as how businesses are run overall.

“Social review sites form this approaching tsunami,” notes Marsh in the article. “They threaten established water treatment companies and provide opportunities for startups to rocket to the top-ranking positions. The first companies that adapt to this change will ride a wave of success that can establish their dominance in the industry for years to come.

Marsh also offers in the article how social review sites can provide customers and prospects with many benefits, including:

  • Speed: It takes only seconds to retrieve names and relevant information on local service companies. A similar search engine produces many distracting results which confuse and slow the process.
  • Narrower search: Many review sites make choosing easier by creating a prioritized list. By looking at the top listings, 90 percent of the options are instantly eliminated.
  • Easily compared: Several top companies can be viewed with just a few clicks. Since the same format is used, comparisons are easily made.
  • Reliability: As the number of company reviews increases, so does the reliability of the ranking. Once a company acquires 30 reviews, the consumer description becomes pretty clear. As the reviews reach into the hundreds, the ranking becomes hard to debate.
  • Accountability: Customers feel confident that a highly rated company will pay attention if a problem should arise. They know if they receive poor service, they can give a bad review in return.

He also addresses where the growing numbers in users of social review sites are coming from:

  • SEO efforts already have taken a major hit by being knocked off of Google’s first page by review sites. As this trend grows, it will draw more consumers toward review sites.
  • People are shifting from popular search engines to review sites because of the convenience, reliability and speed mentioned previously.
  • Personal referrals are being replaced by the more comprehensive nature of review sites.
  • The most surprising source of new users is the large number of customers who are willing to “jump ship.” Many consumers have tolerated their current service company for fear of trying a different one. Social review provides the confidence many people need to make a change.

You can find the May feature on social review sites here.