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5 stars – The Truth About Customer Reviews

5 stars – The Truth About Customer Reviews

10 May 2019
Author: Jasmine Waters

As the act of shopping changes, maintaining brand transparency remains essential to keeping consumers onside. One way of achieving this is inviting customer feedback, keeping the dialogue open, accessible and honest. But with negative feedback also available at our fingertips, how useful is having reviews, and how can brands make the best of them? 

Why focus on customer reviews?

There is no question about it – brand trust can help to build confidence and credibility that can also perfectly solve problems, that in theory, seems like a maddening idea. Allowing your work and company to be open to any sort of feedback can feel counter-intuitive, when it fact it has the potential to be a crucial element of the engagement process. Currently in the UK alone, over £23 billion of consumer spending is now influenced by reviews, continuing to transform the way people both research and buy into brands. Companies such as Farfetch and Missguided continue to vocally be in favour of service reviews, encouraging their customers to rate the business based on the service they receive. As much as they can help customers to make better-informed decisions and help with SEO, reviews can also bring consumer trust into question. Customers can often suspect brands with only positive reviews to consist of paid promotions, with 74% of customers saying they would actively boycott a brand they didn’t trust. Being open to reviews come with pros and cons, meaning a robust strategy needs to be in place to respond to, and learn from, what responses might come back.

What if we receive a negative review?

As with any aspect of life, ‘negativity’ can be found around any corner – angry customers are more likely to leave feedback than satisfied ones. Having said this, bad reviews are not necessarily bad for business. Questions posted by unsure buyers can reassure others towards a purchase, while also giving a chance to explain a situation, leaving a customer to make their own assessments and add to the ‘trust-rating’. Deleting these sorts of comments is the number one sin, leaving consumers feeling as if their opinions and thoughts aren’t valued and in the long run can have a greater impact on brand reputation. Striking the balance between being objective and having a personal response is also essential, keeping the tone informal while providing solutions and not only apologies. Being proactive and taking ownership also ensures that the growing customer desire for brand transparency and openness is being met.

Despite some possible repercussions, being open to receiving reviews and ‘constructive criticism’ often does more good than harm, both in long and short-term scenarios. They provide potential operational improvements, ecommerce advantages as well as a boost to social conversion, alongside the building of brand trust and consumer loyalty. Handle the bad responses well, and your authenticity will only continue to grow.

Photo credit: Noobpreneur.com

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