Online reviews are important to both businesses and to consumers who rely on them to make well-informed decisions on future purchases.
Research for an Inc. magazine article indicates a staggering 84% of consumers trust online reviews as much as they trust their friends’ reviews.
Moreover, 92% of consumers read and rely on online reviews, with most of them trusting the reviews coming from others who have first-hand experience with a product or service.
Consumers tend to read several reviews to weigh the pros and cons of the product or service. Often, one person’s experience with a product or service can appear to be biased as it depends on whether the product or service met that person’s expectations.
As a result, an evaluation from just one person may not portray the entire picture as it pertains to an overall level of satisfaction. What one person views as satisfactory might be unsatisfactory to someone else.
That’s why shoppers tend to consult the views of multiple different sources to make a well-informed purchase decision, and these reviews are most easily found online.
Impact of Unfavorable Reviews
Negative product and service reviews can seriously affect a potential consumer’s decision to buy. Consumers tend to pay as much attention to negative reviews as they do to the positive ones. When a consumer reads a negative review, they tend to question the product or service.
Negative reviews prompt consumers to explore the product or service further in search of more information before deciding to buy or cause them to seek other options.
Even though bad reviews are undesirable, many businesses view them as an opportunity to take steps to improve. Such consumer feedback helps businesses correct or fine-tune flaws.
Impact of Favorable Reviews
Reading positive reviews causes potential consumers to expect the same type of positive results as others experience.
Positive reviews allow the businesses to key in on what is important to consumers to continue to promote their products and services.
Businesses should not only rely on those consumers who take the time out to write out reviews, but they should take the initiative to reach out to consumers to determine their level of satisfaction, usually through customer-satisfaction surveys. Those offer insights into how the consumer feels.
Importance of Monitoring Reviews
It is vital for businesses to monitor any online review, good or bad. Monitoring a customer review page (such as at the website of the dealership I’m associated with, Zeck Chevrolet in Oklahoma) gives the business the opportunity to see firsthand what consumers are saying.
When an unfavorable review is submitted, it is to the business’s advantage to reach out to the customer and proactively try to resolve the issue.
For review readers, it helps to see what steps the business will take to rectify the situation. Negative reviews that are unmonitored can negatively influence a consumer’s decision to buy.
But consumers who see a business working to address satisfaction concerns may be more willing to try the product or service, knowing that should they not be completely satisfied, the business will try to remedy the situation.
Mark Daniels (above) is the Outreach Specialist for Zeck Chevrolet.