Disclosure: I am a BzzAgent and have participated in a campaign to help spread the word about 411.ca. Although the campaign is over, I think that 411.ca has benefits for my readers. I am not affiliated with 411.ca and do not benefit in any way from increased traffic/membership of 411.ca.
There was a time when you picked up a phone book and found a retail store to buy something specific. Perhaps you drove by a restaurant and decided to stop in for a meal. But word-of-mouth has always been the best way to get the lowdown on a business. The difference now, is that the internet and social networking sites have taken word-of-mouth to a whole new level.
In 1999, the 411.ca web site was launched. I have used it for the last decade usually to find a phone number or in some cases an address. The relaunch of 411.ca has produced some great benefits for customer service oriented people.
Real reviews from real people are added instantaneously and unfiltered. To add your voice, you must create a profile with standard information, (ID, p/w, email) and can add as much personal information as you like. Then you can offer reviews for any business.
Search for a business and post a review. Your review is immediately posted and can be seen by the public. The business owner cannot remove the review. There are, however, members of the 411.ca team that check up on the reviews to ensure they are fair.
This is not the first web site to offer up business reviews. What makes it different, is that:
- It is localised – you are reviewing businesses in your community for others in your community.
- It includes all Canadian businesses with a business telephone number – there are no limits around which businesses or which type of businesses you can review and anyone who creates a profile can participate.
- You can comment on specific locations -this works especially well for large chains. Experiences differ from one location to another when dealing with larger companies.
- You can agree/disagree with another person’s review – giving a review further legitimacy
The web site builds a sense of trust from the community about the businesses. The business owners can participate by adding a business profile to attract more visitors. Over time, the businesses with the best customer service and overall experience will become apparent as more reviews are posted.
I would recommend using this site to post reviews of businesses in your community. It will also quickly become a great database of product and service ratings for you to consider when deciding where to spend your money.
Readers: Have you had a chance to use the new 411.ca? Are there other sites that are comparable? Would you post reviews here?
UPDATE: It has become obvious to me that there are enough people who have had a bad experience with 411.ca. I will leave time for 411.ca customers to continue posting and will write a follow up or remove this recommendation altogether. Thank you all for your thoughts on this! The community has spoken.