Why are consumers so eager to review products/services before making a purchase?
Wherever you look, it seems that every marketing piece of advice emphasizes the importance of customer reviews. From Google star ratings to the testimonials posted on your website, just about every brand has a "review" presence of some sort.
The numbers make it easy to understand why. Research has shown that a whopping 92 percent of consumers check online reviews for local businesses. And of those, 73 percent of these people make a decision after reading six reviews or less. Clearly, online reviews are incredibly important, making it essential for business owner tracking and management. But why are consumers drawn to these reviews in the first place?
Reasons why reviews are so important
Power of word-of-mouth advertising
While companies of all sizes have shifted much of their marketing budgets to digital tactics like social media and SEO, no method seems to have reached the power of word of mouth. While a flashy ad campaign can be persuasive, it cannot be compared to a person sharing their personal experience with a product or service.
With advertising you see what the company wants you to see. With word of mouth you get an honest opinion from an 'ordinary' person. While online reviewers are usually unknown to the person reading their comments, such individuals usually fulfill the same "word of mouth" as family or friends, especially if true acquaintances have no experience with the brand.
The person who leaves the review is not paid to market the product. Instead, they provide direct feedback based on their own experiences, both good and bad. Readers use these ratings to guide their own behavior.
It can be tempting to assume that a bad review will drive customers away. But this is not always the case. In fact, research has shown that 68 percent of consumers trust reviews more when they see both good and bad ratings, while 30 percent suspect censorship or falsification when they see nothing negative at all.
With transparency comes more trust. And few things are more important for acquiring and retaining customers. We don't expect anyone to have a "5-star" experience with a particular company. While a large number of negative reviews can hurt your business, seeing one or two low reviews can actually confirm your transparency to potential buyers.
When brands respond quickly and openly to negative reviews, they can further reinforce this image of transparency. In many situations, this can lead the dissatisfied customer to adjust their review score later. At the very least, it creates an opportunity for your brand to demonstrate its commitment to customer satisfaction.
An interesting motivator behind assessments is building one's own social capital. Consumers don't just ask for reviews as a source of information. Many also have a desire to increase their own sense of social connection by sharing their opinions with others.
These actions are rated positively by the person writing the review, as they are seen as a well-informed source of information. Or that they will get personal satisfaction from helping family and friends solve a problem.
Ready for the next step?