Ratings and reviews have become an important part of the shopping experience. So, let’s start by understanding the difference between a rating and a review.

A rating uses a scale, such as one to five. Sometimes it’s a star or some other object. For example, a five-star rating is considered high or even perfect. A review is a testimonial based on a customer’s experience. A customer shares honest feedback, which can be good, poor or even average.

Our customer experience and CX research revealed several significant findings:

  • 68% of customers agree that reading a review stopped them from making a purchase they were ready to make in the past year.
  • 73% of customers think ratings and reviews are going to be more important to them in the future.

And when we asked how many ratings and reviews customers left in the past year for different experiences, we found:

  • After good experiences, the average customer left 5 ratings and 4.3 reviews.
  • After average experiences, customers left 3.3 ratings and 3.1 reviews.
  • After bad experiences, the average customer left 3.6 ratings and 3.3 reviews.
  • And whether the experience was good, average or bad, customers left more ratings and reviews in the past year than the year before.

So, what can we make of this information? Ratings and reviews are important, and you want your customers to leave them. It gives other (potential) customers education and confidence. Reading reviews is part of the research your potential customers do before making a final decision about whether or not to do business with your company. 

Related Article: Why Most Companies Stink at Customer Feedback

And Even Negative Ratings and Reviews Are Good! 

That’s right, even negative ratings and reviews are good — provided they are handled the right way. First, these are public. Everyone can see them. Whether it’s an actual rating or review or a comment on any social media channel, it’s imperative to manage it properly.

Learning Opportunities

Positive ratings and reviews help customers make decisions, but negative ratings and reviews, when handled well, give the customer an extra layer of confidence about the company and/or the products it sells. 

And managing negative feedback isn’t hard. Here’s a short step-by-step process:

  1. Monitor all social channels and review sites to know when your company and/or its products are being mentioned. There are software programs that can do this. Even a simple Google Alert is a good start.
  2. Respond quickly and publicly acknowledge and apologize for the problem. Share that you will be contacting the customer directly to resolve the issue. Emphasize that this is not the experience you want your customers to have.
  3. Contact the customer directly and resolve the issue.
  4. Circle back to the original rating and review and thank the customer for allowing you to resolve the issue.
  5. This step belongs to the customer. In a perfect world, the customer will comment back, completing a full circle of communication. This doesn’t always happen, but if not, at least the other customers will see that you acknowledged the issue, reached out directly to the customer and stated it was resolved.

One other thought about responding to ratings and reviews. You may want to consider responding to all reviews, not just the negative ones. A five-star rating can stand on its own. When customers share a positive review, use that as the opportunity to express appreciation and engage with them. You might be surprised at some of the conversations you have.

Ratings, reviews and social media comments are now part of the customer’s buying journey. Make it easy for them to do business with you. As they see comments from other customers, don’t let your voice be silent. This shows the customer you’re engaged, and the relationship is more than a commercial transaction. 

Related Article: Do You Need Customer Journey Orchestration?