Are on line reviews, like Yelp, of service providers the same as on-line reviews of products? Are they reliable? Not in the least. First let’s look at how to read product reviews. The prevailing wisdom is start from the bottom as the top 5 at least are often fake reviews from people who have received free products or been company hired. Look for poor English and if they are glowing but non-detailed. The verified buyer thing doesn’t really mean much.
For service providers the onion had an article recently that summarizes the issues. Regarding doctors “Oh my on line reviews are down I have to give out more Adderall!” says the DR. The only people who generally write reviews of service providers are those that have had issues. In my experience it is people you have said no to their agenda. Like in the article no you can’t have klonopin or Adderall. A friend and fellow service provider gives this example. He has an eight year old. “If I gave my eight year old candy, chocolate, and a steady diet of junk food I would be the best parent in the world according to him; But am I?” The fact that it made it to a political parody web site must mean it is a universal Doctor experience.
Using myself as an example regarding on line reviews, my on-line reviews really suck; 1 out of 5 possible stars, the worst! In all but 1 of about 16 on line reviews over about a 3-year period. If you would go just by these you would run for the hills before seeing me but let’s look at the bigger statistical picture. In this period of 3 years I have seen about 9,000 people. 16 bad reviews are a .18% bad review rating. That’s a tad under for every thousand patients 2 go out of their way to complain on line which is consistent with another statistic. 1-2% of the American population has a completely miserable personality with a diagnosed severe personality disorder. They are not only unhappy no matter what you do but the mere fact that you saw them pisses them off. In a psychiatric practice the concentration due to selection (people send their unresponsive to treatment patients to psychiatrists) is higher. In a psychiatric practice severe personality disorders are found in about 20%. So, 16 awful reviews, .18% is statistically normal background noise for the general population. It is about nothing for a psychiatric practice. In fact anything less than this would indicate the reviews are fake, manufactured.
Doctors with all glowing reviews, 100% are often of large practices that hire companies that generate good reviews. This is an expensive service so usually found in larger practices but anyone can do this. Again, if there are no negative reviews for any service provider the reviews are fake. It is improbable if not impossible to satisfy every customer.
So how to evaluate useless reviews, look to what the person disagreed like their diagnosis or was said no to. Look for ranting and raving, defensiveness, self-righteousness, childish or exaggerated bizarre statements.
Overall subjective opinions about people just aren’t very useful. A product has a specific purpose and either does it or does not. Service especially medical service is a lot more ambiguous despite what insurance companies or pharmaceutical sell as expectations.