The Truth about Reviews
Reviews. We all use them as part of our everyday decision making process whether we realize it or not. Upon seeing a string of 5 golden stars we subconsciously think this product/service must be excellent and will meet our expectations perfectly. Or you quickly scroll past the one or two stared items because they must be horrible and really, who would want something with such a poor rating? Not me!
But do you ever read beyond the stared icons to understand why the service or product was rated as such? Some reviewers are paid to leave wonderfully crafted comments, some are true statements of awe and others, well, they’re irate and want to complain because they can.
Ratings are put into place to help consumers quickly judge the quality of a product/service. They help us determine quality versus cost and pave the road to a purchasing decision.
Third party platforms offer consumers the ability to purchase discounted products given they consistently review the items they purchased for sites such as Amazon. Examples of such platforms include AMZ Review Trader, Snagshout, Giveaway Service and iLoveToRewiew just to name a few. (Note: These programs are not affiliated directly with Amazon, the sellers simply sell their items through Amazon.) Does this skew the actual rating of a product/service? Yes and no. They’re leaving a review because they are essentially receiving an item at a discounted price to do so; however, this doesn’t mean what they say will be false. It ultimately skews the number of reviews on this item giving the sense it is popular and thus desirable by potential shoppers.
Google, also has a sophisticated review system in place. Search a local business you take interest in. Do you see a string of stars next to their Google+ or map listing? Do you also see these same stars within the search listings? Many savvy marketers are making use of these ‘in search’ stars to draw attention to their company or product. Think about it, you’re scrolling through listing after listing of search engine result text and one appears with five yellow stars. Where does your eye go? To the stars of course! Brilliant marketing move? Yes! (Given you have a decent rating.)
Why Ratings are so Important for Business
Decision making is much more involved than it was a few years ago. Consumers want to make informed decisions quickly and will go online to scout before committing to a sale. They search for all notable pros and cons and lucky for them the information is easily attainable in mere seconds. So should you as a business owner be concerned about your average rating? Yes.
Many take advantage of the honorable review system. Reviewers are being sourced and paid to leave ratings for products/services they have no connection to. As a consumer, do your homework and actually read reviews to see if they are real or not. It’s not difficult to tell if someone is talking about a business they would or could not know anything about. It’s also easy to disregard “they’re great” comments because generic comments offer little insight.
As a marketer or business owner, we encourage you to be honorable and ask real customers and clients to leave reviews based on what they truly feel. Could you have bad reviews? Yes, most certainly; however, when handled appropriately through a thorough understanding of their thought process you can convert disappointment to another beloved brand follower.
Can you as a company please everyone? No, and you shouldn’t try. Stay true to what your company believes and stands for then work to attract consumers who value the same and let the golden five stars roll in!