Customer Reviews: An Introductory Guide

Customer Reviews: An Introductory Guide

If you find yourself engaging with, and being influenced by customer reviews before making a purchase, you’re in good company. Studies from 2020 reveal that 79% of people trust online reviews more than personal recommendations.

It has become the norm to read several customer reviews before buying a product or service. This is even more true now due to the pandemic. Independent research has shown that interaction with reviews has jumped up 50% from pre-pandemic times

We’re shopping online a lot more, therefore we’re reading more reviews. 

As well as enhancing a businesses reputation to increase sales, reviews are also a great source of customer feedback and can tell a business a lot about what customers need. 

So, in order to make more sales and gain new customers, it’s essential that businesses understand customer reviews and the impact they have on marketing and retention strategies. 

You simply cannot afford to ignore customer reviews if you want to grow your business. 

Come along as we take you through what a customer review is, why they matter, some examples, and show you what to do with them.

Let’s go. 

  1. What Is a Customer Review?
  2. Why Are Customer Reviews So Important?
  3. Examples of Customer Reviews
  4. What To Do With Customer Reviews
  5. Conclusion

What is a Customer Review?

A customer review is an opinion that a customer leaves about a product or service that they have purchased and have experience with. Customer reviews are a type of customer feedback and should be monitored as part of your feedback collection and analysis process.   

These kinds of reviews can be found on a company's site, on third party purchasing sites, online forums, and social media. They can be positive, negative or neutral, and are often accompanied by a star rating. 

Customer reviews can tell you whether your customer likes and dislikes your products, and why, and how they feel about the customer experience in general. They can also tell you whether your competition is doing a better job, and what people are saying about them too. 

People use reviews as part of their pre-purchasing research process, so while it’s obvious that a good review should be positive, a good review should also be detailed and specific. A review that lacks detail might make customers suspect it is fake. 

Detailed reviews tell other potential buyers exactly what was so great about the product or service, which can have a big impact on their purchasing decision. 

Let’s go further into that now. 

Why Are Customer Reviews So Important?

Customer reviews can mean the difference between someone buying your product and/or service or not. 

One particular study showed that 4 out of 5 consumers changed their mind regarding a purchase after reading bad reviews. These were customers that were ready to buy, and then decided not to based on the information they found online. This speaks volumes about the power of online reviews. 

An infographic outlining four benefits of customer reviews.

Here are 3 more benefits of customer reviews:

1. Improve Your Company’s Reputation 

The more positive customer reviews you have, the more potential customers will believe in the product and/or service you are selling, and the more inclined they will be to purchase. 

Reviews, when positive and realistic, build people's trust in your company, increase your credibility, and can help you gain new customers. 

2. Understand Your Customers Better 

Reviews can tell you a lot about your customers and how they interact with your products and/or services. Most importantly, their words reveal insights regarding what they expect from your company, what they like, and what they don’t like. 

This information allows you to improve customer experience with your products and services, which will eventually lead to more sales.  

3. Improve Customer Satisfaction 

When you take on board what customers are saying in their reviews and make changes accordingly, you’ll gain their approval and trust. This in turn will lead to improved satisfaction levels. 

High levels of customer satisfaction are closely connected to increased customer loyalty. This is important because loyal customers are most likely to repurchase, and/or buy your new products, leading to lower customer churn for you. 

Best Practices to Manage Customer Reviews 

Now that you know why customer reviews are so important when it comes to growing your business, you’ll want a steady process in place for handling customer reviews. Let’s take a look at some best practices to manage your customer reviews: 

Respond to customer reviews and close the loop

Like with all customer feedback, it’s important that you respond to your customers when they leave a review. This is called closing the feedback loop and it helps to improve customer satisfaction.  

Closing the loop is especially important if the reviews are negative as you can fix a potential bad situation and salvage a customer relationship. Follow up and ensure their issue is resolved. If they were happy with the solution, you could even ask them to update their review.

Embrace negative reviews 

If you don’t have negative reviews, customers are less likely to trust your customer reviews. It’s impossible to please every customer, all the time. Also negative reviews will help fuel business growth as they contain valuable information about issues that are holding your business back.

Respond to good reviews, too

It’s also important that you respond to the good reviews too, this shows them that they matter to you and helps to foster a stronger relationship between you and your customers.

Actively ask for customer reviews

Many customer reviews often come to you indirectly. However you should also actively ask your customer for reviews. Most will be happy to do so and you will be able to gain more information that you can then use to increase your sales. 

Report fake or malicious reviews

Unfortunately fake or malicious reviews do exist. If you think your business has been the target of a fake review you can report them to the administrators of whatever site they appear on to have them removed.  

Examples of Customer Reviews

There are a number of different ways a customer can leave a review, here are our top three: 

Case Studies

A case study is a great, in-depth way to show your customers examples of positive customer experiences with your company. As well as serving as a review, they are also an excellent marketing tool as they are created and controlled by you. 

An example of a case study would be showing a customer story where they had an issue or a problem that was then solved by your product and/or service. These case studies are particularly powerful if your prospective customer can identify their own issues in the ones your existing customer solved using your product. 

Case studies are stories, and humans like stories, they elicit a strong emotional response. This kind of storytelling also helps your customer to understand your product better and see how it could fit into their lives. 

You can share case studies via social media, email, or however you see fit. You should also keep them on your website in an easy to find place.

Here is an example of a case study on Slack’s website, where they show how their product helped Gympass improve their communication as they scaled their business: 

Case study describing how Slack helped Gympass

Review Sites 

There are a number of different review sites where customers can leave their opinions in an open forum.

Trustpilot, a consumer review site, is a good example. It’s an independent platform where customers can leave a review about  pretty much any company.  

Here you can see positive reviews on TrustPilot for the car reseller Shift which show potential customers how easy it is to sell your car with Shift:

Positive reviews for Shift on Trustpilot.com

The App Store, Tripadvisor, Yelp, and Google are more examples of sites that customers frequently visit to leave and read reviews. 

These are sites that tend to get a high volume of traffic. This is important because if more people see reviews of your company, more people may be influenced to purchase from you. 

They are also trustworthy sites both from the point of view of the customer and your business. Customers tend to leave genuine reviews on these types of sites, therefore potential customers are more likely to believe the reviews and be influenced by them. 

This authenticity is also good for you as a company as you can collect these reviews and analyze them for insights. You’ll also be able to see genuine issues that need to be addressed in your customer experience journey. 

Social Media

Leaving a review on a brands’ social media is common nowadays. This review might take the form of a long paragraph or video, it can also be a short comment on a post or a video that a company publishes. 

Reviews on social media can get a lot of views. It’s also a place where news can travel fast, where customers expect to be heard, and can make a lot of noise if they’re not. 

Because of all this, it’s important that you practice social media monitoring. This lets you keep track of what your customers are saying about you – not just on your platforms but across social media in general. 

If you are keeping tabs on complaints made on social media, you can fix issues that your customer is experiencing, quickly. When you do this, you can improve your customer’s experience with your company and hopefully prevent bad reviews in the future. 

Social media also provides an easy and direct way for you to respond to your customers and steer the conversation in a direction that suits you. 

Here’s an example of product reviews on Sephora’s facebook page. One particular comment: “Bought it on a whim while waiting in line…” reveals that the stores tactic of displaying product within sight of the customers as they line up to pay, is working: 

A Sephora facebook post with comments

Interviews

When you interview your customers, you can get reviews from them which you can then use for your website. These can be displayed as testimonials or as part of a case study. By publishing these interviews (with permission, of course) you also put your customers’ experiences at the center of your brand. 

By using these interviews as marketing material you can also show potential customers what your happy customers look like, and therefore how they could look too. As with case studies, the idea is that something from these interviews will resonate with a potential customer and make them see that they need your product and services too.  

Interviews are not just marketing material however. As they are a form of feedback, interviews also give you insights regarding what your customers want. Therefore they can help you shape the kinds of products and services you offer them. 

Here’s an example of interviews with some of Skillshare’s teachers. These interviews are displayed on the teacher recruitment page as a way to entice potential new teachers:

3 interviews with different skill share teachers.

What to do With Customer Reviews

Customer reviews can be a goldmine of customer insights. These insights can tell you what it is your customers need from your products.

When you get these actionable insights, it’s then easier to make the necessary changes and improvements to enhance their overall experience with your company, and keep them returning for more.  

Reviews, however, often come to you in the form of a lot of unstructured information. This means you have to first process and analyze this data to get to the insights. If you don’t do this, all of the useful information from your customer won't be worth much. 

To help you analyze unstructured customer feedback quickly and effectively, you’ll need a powerful tool like MonkeyLearn which can analyze reams of text data in a matter of minutes. 

MonkeyLearn uses AI powered tools to quickly sort feedback and turn reviews into business improvements at scale and in real time

It allows you to consolidate and sort through thousands of different reviews from sites like Trustpilot, the app store, and more. 

Check out MonkeyLearn’s app review template

Break down reviews by topic, and further categorize by sentiment and intent. Discover feature requests, detect new bugs and issues, and learn what your users like and dislike about your app. 

Once MonkeyLearn has analyzed your reviews, the information is centralized in an easy-to-view dashboard where you can view all of your insights: 

MonkeyLearn Review Analysis Dashboard.

Find out more here and sign up for your free demo or free trial. 

Conclusion

Customer reviews can be an excellent source of customer feedback that improves your brand reputation, highlights issues that need to be fixed, and helps you to retain and gain customers. Customer reviews can also influence potential customers to buy your product or not. 

That means it’s important that you take reviews seriously and incorporate them into your customer feedback systems

But, as with all feedback, the real results come out in the analysis. If you skip this step, you’ll miss useful insights that are too difficult to process manually. That’s why making use of a tool like MonkeyLearn can be so helpful. 

To see how MonkeyLearn can help you transform customer reviews into improvements to your bottom line, sign up today. 

Inés Roldós

January 7th, 2022

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