Bad Reviews: You Get Them, But Do You GET Them?
As the retail industry continues to evolve and become more competitive, consumers wield more power than ever before. Retailers are only now beginning to understand the power of consumer voices and the impact they make when voiced through the right channels. To find out why customers leave bad reviews, Trustpilot, an independent reviews platform, surveyed more than 1,000 European and North American consumers, including what they expect from retail brands today.
For online retailers, collecting genuine customer feedback on products and services isn't so much an option as it is a necessity these days. Nearly half of all adults say they check reviews before making a purchase. And brick-and-mortar retailers still need a quality online presence to draw traffic to their stores and earn credibility.
Yet despite what we know about reviews — they drive traffic, offer social proof, improve retention and loyalty, and increase customer engagement — many brands still shy away from them for fear of the dreaded “retribution review.”
If you fear vengeful customers writing negatively about your product, service or brand, you may want to first understand why they would be inclined to do so in the first place. But even the most stellar retailers get negative feedback now and again, and almost nobody writes those reviews to seek revenge or stick it to you, at least according to new research.
Research: Why Leave a Review?
The vast majority of consumers write positive reviews not to promote your brand or for self-satisfaction, but to help others make better purchase decisions. This resonated with 65 percent of women and 59 percent of men. And negative reviews, too, were written for a similar reason; 53 percent of women and 51 percent of men stated they wrote them simply to warn the online community of their experience.
Let that sink in for a moment. The fundamental drive for leaving feedback is to help others. Furthermore, most consumers want to share something positive. North American reviewers were almost twice as likely to thank a specific staff member for their efforts.
Expectations Are Incredibly Reasonable
You can rectify almost any negative review simply by responding. No, not a refund. Nope, no gift card necessary. The bar has been set very low, and that’s great news for retailers. More than 48 percent of reviewers don’t even expect a company to respond to their review (though they’d like it if they got one). And almost nobody said they expected a freebie in response to their review.
How Should Retailers Respond to Negative Feedback?
Eighty-eight percent of reviewers surveyed are in agreement: Fix the problem and let me know that you’ve done so. Sixty-one percent expected the brand to do this publicly, be it on a review platform, message board, forum or other communications channel.
In some cases a reply from a retailer simply isn’t sufficient to resolve the issue. Put yourself in the shoes of the customer. What would you want? Overall, 85 percent of reviewers believed a replacement of a faulty or defective product would be in order following a negative review. Nearly two in three wanted companies to go even further by instituting policy changes storewide to help resolve their concerns.
What’s the Payoff?
Loyalty. Retention. Revenue. A better performing brand with much more positive consumer sentiment. When customers feel their reviews have been responded to appropriately, more than half admitted to shopping with the same retailer again. Put another way, you can bring back more than 50 percent of unhappy customers for a second shopping experience if you have a sound feedback and engagement strategy. Translation? Dollars in your pocket.
For 25 percent of consumers, how well companies respond to criticism can even help transition detractors to overall promoters of that brand. For retailers with tight margins, this is gold. The return on investment provided simply by responding and engaging online should be enough to convince any retailer, regardless of how fearful they are of negative feedback.
If you have the luxury of being a behemoth retailer with little concern for a dollar here, a customer there, then maybe you’re still not sold on the value of online reviews. Any marketer or data analyst worth their salt is probably ready to claw their own eyes out right about now.
Each and every customer review is a data stream chock full of thousands of data points that can be aggregated, mined and used to gather more intelligence on customer demographics, future products, services, and business choke points.
Whether you afford your customers a platform to express their opinions and feedback matters not. The digital age is here. Smart retailers are willing to listen.
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