Investing in home security is a way to make your home a bit safer while providing you and your family some extra peace of mind. If you are planning to do so, you will undoubtedly be looking at some reviews. Just know this one thing: home security reviews are not as straightforward as they might seem and there is often more to them than meets the eye.
Consumers have to be careful when they read the reviews for different products and services. Before you buy something, here’s what you need to pay attention to, regarding home security products.
Anything Can Go on a Website
For example, Vivint, a home security company, publishes excerpts rather than full versions of their customer reviews. Yet each excerpt is accompanied by a link that takes visitors to Trustpilot, an independent company that works with clients to build trust among consumers. This suggests that Vivint reviews are legitimate. But that may not always be the case with every security company.
The fact is that anything can be put on the website. A company’s web developer can literally make up reviews out of thin air. With a little creativity and the ability to make things look like they were written by average folks on the street, a company can convince you that customers love their products even though the posted reviews are not legit.
Some Reviews Are Just Descriptions
Next up, learn to tell the difference between genuine reviews and product descriptions. Why? Because it is not unusual for companies to hire professional writers to create product reviews. However, writers who have never used the product in question cannot honestly review quality, performance, etc. They have to write something, so what do they do? They describe the product and its features.
This sort of thing certainly is helpful. After all, it’s tough to buy something as expensive as a home security system without fully understanding all of its features and functions. But a product description doesn’t tell you anything about quality. It doesn’t tell you anything about the company’s service. Where monitored home security is concerned, product descriptions do not help you understand the reliability of a company’s monitoring service.
Paid Reviews Are Biased
Hand-in-hand with the previous point is the reality that paid reviews are biased. Think about it. Imagine you own a company. You hire a team of writers to create product reviews for you. Are you going to pay them to write negative reviews? Obviously not. You expect their work to show your products in a positive light.
A paid reviewer is going to have nothing but good things to say about the latest home security system. If they do happen to stray from the positive, it will only be far enough to be neutral. Your chances of finding anything negative in a paid review is slim to none.
Technology Reviews Mean Very Little
You might place a lot of value on reviews from well-known tech websites. Understand that such reviews mean very little in terms of practical application. They are reviews conducted by professional reviewers who tend to look at things in isolation.
It is wonderful that a reviewer had no trouble setting up the latest and greatest wireless security system in the office. They might have even taken the product home. But they do this sort of thing for a living. They could have installed the entire system in under an hour just because technology is their thing. It could take you the better part of two days to do it.
In addition, professional tech writers tend to use a lot of terms that do not really mean anything important. Be very careful not to be swayed by high-tech speech. Hard performance data is much more important than jargon.
Dealers Are an Entity unto Themselves
When you start reading consumer reviews, bear in mind that authorized home security dealers are an entity unto themselves. In other words, most of your major home security and automation companies contract with local dealers to handle installation and maintenance. This matters when it comes to negative reviews.
More than one consumer has had a terrible experience with a local dealer. Not understanding that the dealers work independently from the security companies they represent, consumers are quick to blame the security companies for lousy service.
It is true that security companies should be aware of what their dealers are doing. But at the same time, they cannot babysit. Local dealers are independently-owned businesses with a certain measure of freedom to do what they do. Poor service from a dealer does not always translate into a bad experience with the associated security company.
There Are No Guarantees
Finally, understand that there are no guarantees when it comes to home security reviews. Professional reviewers are being paid to write positive things about products and services. Consumer reviews are limited by individual experiences. It is impossible to draw hard and fast conclusions based on reviews alone.
A good way to understand this is to compare home security reviews to investing. You would read the prospectus before investing in a mutual fund, right? In that perspective would be some sort of statement declaring that the fund’s past performance isn’t a guarantee of future performance. The warning is in there to remind you not to invest without understanding the risk.
A similar principle exists in home security and automation. Neither good nor bad reviews constitute a guarantee of what you might experience should you choose that company. In the end, reviews constitute just one ingredient in a much bigger recipe.
Now that you know the ins and outs of home security reviews, you are ready to start shopping around. Pay attention to what you learn from reviews. Then weigh that information against your own research into home security products and services. The more holistic your approach, the more likely you are to have a positive experience.