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.