How to Get Rave Reviews on Your Customer Reviews

It’s no surprise that a customer will eagerly look for a review or a recommendation prior to making a purchase.  It’s not a surprise either that the Internet has made that so easy.  Nielsen tells us that consumer recommendations are the most credible form of advertising.  78% of us trust consumer recommendations above any other form of advertising.  What I find more interesting is that only 61% of us trust consumer opinions posted online – a 17% difference.

Why the difference you ask?  Even if you didn’t ask, here is my take:

“It comes down to trust, and the most trusted source for information about a company and it’s products for consumers comes from someone like themselves. (AdAge)”

So the key to getting rave reviews on your customer reviews rests in your ability to provide customers the ability to determine how much the review writer is like themselves.  So some do’s and don’ts:


  • Have your marketing people write your reviews, or put up a “sponsored” review that reads like a marketing message.  Consumers can see through that “overly glowing” review and will not trust other positive reviews on your site, or any other messaging for that matter.
  • Remove negative reviews from your website.  Consumers understand that not all reviews will be positive.  Have no negative reviews can often raise warning flags.  Let customers see the nature and content of the negative reviews.  Give your customers credit for their ability to discern what is fair.
  • Don’t reply to negative reviews with excuses.  Instead, reply by acknowledging the customers complaint and respond with a fair solution.


  • Summarize the scoring of your reviews and let customers see the distribution of reviews.  Let them see if all reviews were 5’s and 4’s or if they were all 5’s and 1’s.  These two views of customers reviews for video game consoles tell different stories.  The one for the Wii has a much higher percentage of 5’s and 4’s and a lower percentage of 1’s than the one for the Xbox.

  • Let reviewers tell customers a little about themselves so the customer can know how much the reviewer is “like themselves.”  Your products/services can’t be all things to all people.  The review format from Sierra Trading Post does a nice job of letting a customer know more about the reviewer by asking them to describe themselves and their “gear” style.

  • Let customers vote on reviewers content, as well a flag potentially problematic reviews for things such as profanity, spam, duplication, content problems, etc.
  • Use customer reviews to improve your product/services, and let customers know it was their reviews that helped.

Remember to focus on building trust, demonstrating transparency, and being an advocacte for your customers (doing what’s best for your customers) and you’ll be well on your way to getting 5 stars for your reviews.


The Real Value in Customer Ratings and Reviews

man_pc.jpg  It’s a pleasant surprise that a report sponsored by Bazaarvoice showed that 28% of online retailers currently use customer ratings and reviews, and over 50% plan to include this feature.  Consumers find the reviews helpful (I usually do), and 79% of retailers surveyed believed the major benefit was improved conversion rates.


The report describes social commerce as “all about giving both existing and potential customers the means to interact with each other and to make better buying decisions.”   Which made me pause and wonder. If it’s about allowing customers to interact with each other, then how many online retailers allow a potential customer the ability to really interact with the one who wrote the review?  I know there are many times I would really love to ask the reviewer a question because the review didn’t cover what I wanted to know.  Since most reviews are posted soon after purchase, I’d also like to ask them if they still feel the same way after a few months of ownership. 

I looked at amazon and for that ability, but they don’t seem to have it.  Are there any online sellers that have this functionality?  That type of inteaction would be really valuable to customers.  Reviewers could opt-in to be contacted, and shut it off it gets to be too much.  There is the worry about spam and the need for confidentiality, but the technology exists.  Craigslist allows people to interact through anonymous email addresses.  Am I too late with this, too early, or did I just give away a gem?