What Type of Reviews are the Most Valuable?

By | February 10, 2014
Consumer reviews - Do they have to be 5 star?

sjsharktank, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Flickr

Genuine consumer reviews can be a valuable resource for potential buyers. These reviews provide information and experience about a product or service, and can be also a great tool for businesses. Companies, for example, can analyse reviews to find ways to improve their customers’ experiences or improve the actual product or service.

For Consumers, a Valuable Review is…

Experience surprisingly shows that end users or potential customers are more interested in seeing reviews that point to some sort of problem, rather than 100 percent or 5 star reviews that contain only praise.

End users often claim that they can learn much more about the product and service through not-entirely positive 5 star reviews and still be interested in purchasing the item or service. Why? The answer is quite simple; it is because they now know what to expect. That said, every end user has individual purchasing behaviours so this statement cannot apply to everyone.

Of course, we all know that several online reviews are fake. These reviews often provide either a completely negative experience or ooze with over-the-top, unrealistic excitement. However, many genuine reviews, even 5 star ones, point out some areas for improvement. And, reviews of only 2 or 3 stars, while still negative, usually provide something positive about the business. To learn more about how to spot a fake review, see our recent post.

For Businesses: What is a Valuable Consumer Review?

Imperfect consumer reviews are not all bad

Consumer reviews do not have to be perfect to be valuable (Photo: shaire productions, CC BY 2.0, via Flickr)

For passionate businesses, the client suggestions for improvements that are found within their reviews can provide a real company turning point. In fact, that is probably the most surprising way that genuine reviews can be of value to a company.

To see a businesses starts with a low 65 percent rating score and, with passion, improve its service to 90 percent or higher is quite simply amazing. Yes, we have been in online marketing since 2007 and have seen it happen.

Also to note, the high score or positive review can refer to areas besides customer service; it can refer to the product, a particular employee’s behaviour or other facet of the company.

Most passionate businesses owners are eager to see 5 stars or 100 percent rating scores as they are under the assumption that this type of result is only the way to achieve success. In a certain way, yes it is.

But, not even genuine reviews that are 100 percent positive can bring as much value as a business owner or management might assume they do. While many businesses clamour to reach the 90 percent or higher review range, this track can be a slow one to climb for small and medium companies. Indeed, they may never even reach these high percentages. Instead, the important goal is to learn from any mixed reactions of customers to the products, services, or other business areas – and that information is readily available within client reviews.