Why customer opinions are key to success

There’s nothing better than positive feedback – it’s that word of mouth assurance that the investment we’ve made in the customer’s experience has been worthwhile.

So when we get negative reviews, it can feel so personally wounding.

But don’t let it bring you down. To truly understand the shopping psychology, it’s essential to look at all reviews so we can react accordingly.

Here’s the story of Cal

Cal Ustomer, to be precise (or C. Ustomer on official forms).

Cal has just found your site. Your homepage is impressive and easy to navigate. But something is still uncertain. Cal asks:

“What do people think of these guys?”

It’s that snapshot of your company that Cal wants. Whether it’s in Google Seller Ratings, product ratings on your site, or in your seller reviews, Cal wants to see what other customers think.

That all-important score is what fuels the success of online review platforms, from Trustpilot, to Metacritic, or to Amazon’s product ratings. Consumers want to know right away how a company measures up before deciding to proceed any further.

“So many reviews are positive, which is great.
But why are there so many positive reviews?”

Cal is, like many of us, a little cynical (cynic Cal is the office nickname, in fact).

It’s not something you would think is a problem, but eConsultancy reports that “68% of consumers trust reviews more when they see both good and bad scores, while 30% suspect censorship or faked reviews when they don’t see anything negative at all”.

Consumers expect to see a mix of reviews – companies are run by humans after all – and not having any negative feedback could actually work against a company’s credibility.

“Where are the weaknesses?”

Cal begins to read reviews, looking for your strengths and weaknesses, wanting to know if there are any recurring issues with your company or its product/services.

Seems that customer feedback is pretty good after all, but often the story is not told in how you deal with positive feedback, but how you neutralise negative feedback.

“Is the company doing anything about the weaknesses?”

Cal wants reassurance that if something does go wrong, you deal with the situation quickly, efficiently and transparently. According to the Trust Economy Report, a negative review dealt with correctly can actually boost confidence in a company, not harm it.

Fifteen percent of online shoppers surveyed said that they are more likely to do business with a company which responded to a negative review and dealt with it successfully.

Cal sees that negativity has been quickly spotted, which gives a sense of trust and security.

“Can I drill down further before making my final purchasing decision?”

Because of the lurid headlines surrounding fake reviews and companies trying to game the system, shoppers have become increasingly suspicious, even if they are growing more dependent on reviews. Cal is one of these shoppers.

The solution is to ensure your online review platform allows the shopper to check the posting history of all reviewers, to see how many times they have posted in the past. If you create a track record for the reviewer, which especially confirms if they are a a confirmed purchaser, then new customers can see that your reviews are genuine.

Cal reads a lot of reviews, realises you’re the best, and makes the purchase. Job done.

How can you make sure all customers feel the same?

Simple. Here’s how:

  • Feature the overall rating of your business.
  • Face up to negative reviews – shoppers are suspicious of companies that draw no criticism.
  • Deal with criticism quickly and openly – this can offer reassurance.
  • Allow shoppers to see the full picture of your reviews, your reviewers, and your reactions.
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