In the Nov/Dec 2018 issue of SMM Sales & Marketing Management, “Review us, but don’t be too nice,” expresses the real analysis when customers want to leave their opinion about a brand or customer experience. Customer reviews are accepted to be the most effective and persuasive marketing tools. It’s one of the most important sources of information when it comes to investing money into a product you may encounter mixed feelings about. In result, though buyers are interested in what analyst(s) have to say about a product, they ultimately make a decision when they hear the opinions of previous/interested buyers. It lets them better connect their ideas on a more relatable note and receive a trusted insight about what it’s like using a product.

Positive customer reviews are great. In fact, it can boost a brand’s reputation and provide them with higher sales rates. However, a review with a little too much favorable recognition can be just as harmful as one that’s completely dissenting. Social psychologist Zarkary L Tormala and marketing professor Danielle Kupor conducted a survey with results claiming that moderately positive customer reviews are more compelling than extremely positive ones. The tactic behind this is, when customer reviews default to the highest rating, the reviewer deviates it from that.

Let’s take a five-star scale for instance. Since people rate products on a five-star scale more than any other rating or review scale, consumers will perceive it to be the default. They will find reviews more helpful on non-five-star scales rather than the traditional five-star scale. Following up from another study, researchers found that five-star ratings are only effective where a long, detailed review is left with their rating. The key takeaways were:

  • When consumers perceive that a review platform’s default rating is extremely positive, publicizing at least some moderately rather than extremely positive reviews could increase sales.
  • If a review system has a five-star default, firms that receive moderately positive reviews on that platform should highlight hat the default is extremely positive. Doing so could increase the perception of a moderately positive review’s accuracy, and as a result heighten sales.

Why are customer reviews so important anyway? They provide insights about products by other previous/interested buyers who are likely to be more trusted than a critic’s reviews.

  • Customer reviews aren’t intrusive. When it comes to B2B buyers, they much likely prefer doing online research instead of communicating with a sales representative to get their questions answered. These online reviews represent what the company offers and what it’s like to be a client.
  • They are cost effective. Offering clients the opportunity to leave reviews about their experience uses less monetary resources.
  • Reviews build trust. Receiving personal recommendations and reviews from previous buyers increase the likelihood about how someone feels about a product.
  • Demonstrates B2B marketers understand current trends. Companies are expected to share customer reviews to reveal what it’s like doing business with them. Reliable customer reviews are a strong trait for a company’s reputation and expressing their values to B2B buyers.
  • Increase SEO keyword usage. Frequently used product keywords on websites ensures better SEO rankings.

Customer reviews provide a constructive and truthful amount of detail about brands and products. They can almost completely persuade a buyer into investing into something or not and can set the brand’s reputation and identity. One negative review won’t be the best feeling to read, however, ensuring to find detailed, yet honest feedback is the best way to represent a brand or product.