The History and Evolution of the Customer Voice [infographic]

The History and Evolution of the Customer Voice [infographic]

Customer feedback is one of the most important topics in the digital marketplace. But it's not new - we've been reviewing since the dawn of time.

So how did we get to this point where customer reviews are so vital? Take a look with our infographic.

Infographic: Text version

The early years

  • At least 10,000,000 BC - Humans lived as hunter gatherers for millions of years. Language developed from grunting and pointing. Verbal communication was vital. Communities grew - what was best for one was best for all. The ‘customer voice’ is born.

  • Circa 30,000 BC - Humans created cave paintings. Themes included warnings of dangerous animals, stories, and even games.

  • 5,000 BC - Egyptians began developing a formalized written language with pictograms. Think how we still use pictograms today. Logos still communicate better than words in some cases.

  • 550 BC - The first postal service came into effect in Persia to gather taxes and data from the people.

Let’s start from zero...

  • 105 AD - Paper is invented by Tsai Lun on China. It means that humans can now express thoughts and feelings wherever paper is available. However, it’s rare and doesn’t fall into the hands of mere mortals for a while, mostly because many humans don’t know how to write anyway at this point.

  • 301-800 AD - The first written manuscripts appear, albeit not authored by the majority of the people. The first form of the written Bible appears in ancient Hebrew around this time

Read all about it

  • 1440 - 1455 AD - Town Criers in the UK used their voices to advertise for companies, tell people the news, and share opinions. In 1455, Johann Gutenberg invents the Printing Press, making mass printing incredibly efficient. This makes mass marketing and thought sharing possible for the first time.

  • 1730s - Magazines are the first medium circulating news and views.

  • 1830s - Posters become prevalent - so much so that London, and other cities, banned them. Thought sharing is now widespread, even though many poor folk are not the most literate.

  • 1860s - Billboards come into use, representing the first form of “outbound marketing”. Customers were talked to, not talked with.

  • 1867 - The typewriter is invented.

Modern day mediums

  • 1922 - Radio advertising begins.
  • 1941 - TV advertising begins, again talking at the customer rather than with them.
  • 1946 - Over 50% of households own a telephone. Mass spreading of opinions in a private and public space is now the norm.
  • 1970 - Telemarketing: the Devil in disguise for many.

The digital revolution

  • 1973 - The mobile phone is invented
  • 1984 - Apple launches the Macintosh, giving everyone the capability of computing at home. Digital printing begins, making printing faster than ever.
  • 1994 - The internet. Need we say more? Go on then. Invented out of a government controlled defence network named ARPANET, the www. domains we know and love today are formed.
  • 1997 - Search engines develop; forums are commonplace. Finding opinions online gets easier. creates an online view-sharing economy with it’s Q&A-based search engine. And with AOL’s pioneering internet chat system thoughts could be shared right away with pretty much anyone.
  • 1998 - 1999 - is launched, giving everyone a place for their own web space. Google and MSN launch new search engines.
  • 2003 - 2004 - Linkedin and Myspace are born; Facebook jumps onto the scene. A social online economy begins. Email marketing takes off.
  • 2005 - Google begins personalising search engine results with SEO. YouTube breaks new user-generated content ground. Twitter is launched
  • 2007 - Trustpilot is founded. 3G telecoms generate revenue over $120bn.
  • 2010s - Inbound marketing takes off. The customer is firmly in the sights of all companies. People spend more time online than in front of the TV.


Social media is used by more than half the world’s online population; company webshops are normal; mobile adaptation explodes; marketing is all about knowing your customer and their requirements.

It’s in this space that review platforms expand more than ever before. Trustpilot has over 13 million reviews at this point.

The customer holds the balance of power. It’s a force a business can’t ignore and, to succeed, must embrace.

And so we arrive at the here and now - reading this while your customers talk about you, your service, and shape your success.

So get out there and join the conversation. Online reviews are a great gateway to do this.

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