Technical Data & Info Overload - Who to trust?
My sister Farah and I recently moved to a new flat in East London. The area is super fun, the flat is light and airy, we couldn't really be luckier. There is just one small thing: its on an extremely busy and loud street. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It's enough to turn a low-on-caffeine, high-on-beauty-sleep kinda girl like me into a fledgling insomniac.
Ok, we thought, to every problem there is a solution. In this case, some sort of window reinforcement. A simple google search told us that it was 'secondary glazing' that we needed. Apparently other forms of window reinforcement, like triple glazing, are better for things like heat insulation. (And you thought I only ever taught you about gut health. Pah!)
Then started the research into finding a good & trustworthy company. Again we turned to our trusty friend Google, and tried to find a business local to us. We had to call a few companies a few times (incidentally, this baffled me - don't they want more business?) before two of them sent over salesmen who measured some things up, tapped on their calculators, and gave us different quotes. But this is where it started to get a bit too technical. The two chaps boasted different kinds of glass, various millimetres of thickness; 4mm, 6.4mm ... 'it's practically the same', 'it's not at all' they said as I went back and forth with them; then for the physical gap in between the original window and these new window panes. 'I will make the gap as large as I can, to maximise the efficacy' said one. 'Once you get a gap of 10cm, there's no point in making the gap larger' said the other. All this not to mention the chat about tools and how one guy's were apparently much more hardy and special than the average tools used these days. Golly. I had heard that one before.
All of this information made it next to impossible for us to make an informed decision. We can't all be experts in windows. How on earth were we supposed to know which company to trust?
We live by Brick Lane... did I mention that it can be loud?
In the end we actually went with the slightly dearer quote, I'm sad to say it was probably because he was the more aggressive sales man and got back to us quicker. What with the lack of sleep we were just in a rush to get the job done. He sent someone round last week and there is a difference, but much to our frustration our neighbour got secondary glazing on the same day, with an entirely different company, and his is noticeably better! Cue a serious case of window envy.
The whole thing just made me think about how as a consumer we're expected to know about and research all of our buying options. Sure you can talk to friends about these things, but no matter how popular you are, you've only a limited number of contacts. When looking for something specialised like this, turning to your friends and family isn't always an option.
My mind wandered back to one of its favourite topics - our business! How do we expect our customers to know what we mean when we say;
Our strains are well-researched, in double-blind, placebo-controlled in-vivo studies, AND tested in-vitro to survive simulated gastric acidity of the stomach at ph4, and to bind to the epithelial cells in the gut wall lining, an essential factor in allowing them to proliferate in the gut!
Does anyone even know what that means? Does the average consumer know exactly what constitutes a probiotic microorganism, let alone what a probiotic 'species' or 'strain' is? Never mind the fact that our species & strains are high quality! When I point people to the research pages on our website, do people really have the time, inclination and scientific understanding to read the trials and absorb all of the key information? Even people who have been in the industry for years and years talk to me about probiotic 'strains' when actually they are referring to a 'species'. This happens on a daily basis.
So why should you trust our gorgeous sales team when we say our probiotics are great because of this and that? Are you just supposed to take our word for it that the strains we use are of high quality? Admittedly we probably look more trustworthy than the (with hindsight *sigh) shifty looking fellow Farah and I chose for our windows job. But still. It's extremely important that you trust the vitamins, supplements, and foods that you put into your body. We're not talking about an accessory for the house anymore.
My point is that one of the best ways to know a product is trustworthy, is to see what others have said about it. And because your circle of friends and family haven't necessarily tried probiotic supplements before, you need to turn elsewhere for genuine feedback. This is why we've recently placed a lot of importance on collecting reviews on the probiotics. We are now collecting reviews via an external website called 'Trustpilot'. Trustpilot gets reviews from customers that we have proven to have bought from our website (so no nonsense - its simply not possible to fake these!). And so far, so great. We've collected an impressive amount of 5 star reviews on our brand, service and products. Please take a look at them here, and let us know what you think.
View on Trustpilot: http://www.trustpilot.co.uk/review/www.optibacprobiotics.co.uk
Below is a scientific (I use the term loosely this time) graph demonstrating the importance of reviews:
One thing's for sure. Next time I spend serious money on a product or service, I'll be looking for plenty of trustworthy and praiseful reviews & feedback on the company beforehand.