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The Dark Arts of Bad Customer Review, and how it can Kill Sales

Written by: Vivek Jaiswal | Co-founder, Customer Guru

Why should businesses be worried about customer reviews? And what should they do about it?

“Customer Review, especially Bad Customer Review…leaves traces.” -Albus Dumbledore*

Yesterday, I was planning to buy this book on Amazon:

Launch! by Scott Duffy

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And before I clicked on ‘Add to cart’, I did what I believe most customers do – scrolled down to read the reviews. Here’s a snapshot of the reviews that were rated the most helpful:

Launch! Customer Review

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There were a ton of good reviews too, but none of them were rated as helpful as the ones above. More than that, the two-liner, generic, positive reviews looked dwarfed against the elaborate negative reviews that sound like authentic customer experience narrative. The result was, I didn’t buy that book!

Be it TripAdvisor guest reviews for Hotels, or product reviews on online stores like Amazon or Flipkart,  or restaurant reviews on Zomato or Yelp, customers today have easy access to such reviews through their mobile phones, and it directly influences their buying decision. Therefore it is imperative that businesses understand the impact of customer reviews on sales and take control of it before it is too late. Here are a few things businesses should start doing to manage customer reviews better:

1. Focus on improving the overall customer experience, not on getting better reviews

In a recent analysis performed by Dubai based social-analytics company – Tagmemics, Ritz-Carlton was rated the best hotel in the Middle East based on TripAdvisor reviews. I don’t think Ritz-Carlton is winning that race by focussing on getting better reviews, they are just too busy delivering great customer experience! I see so many businesses running after getting better customer feedback by pleading, begging, or, at times, bribing their customers.

Focus on delivering great customer experience and reviews will improve automatically.

2. Learn from the feedback instead of apologising and forgetting

As useful customer reviews are to people making a buying decision, they are equally valuable for businesses to learn from and improve the service level. On TripAdvisor, you would come across numerous customers complaining about a certain aspect of a particular hotel, and someone from management responding “Sorry for the inconvenience. Please do visit again and we will ensure a better service.” but nothing is done and more customers continue to complain about the same thing! Customer engagement is good, but corrective action is far better.

Take action on feedback and customers will be delighted.

3. Invest in technology

Businesses cannot dig their head in the ground and believe that no one will find out about their level of customer experience, therefore, it will not affect their sales! Customers are tech-savvy these days, they will share their experiences irrespective of whether your business has a facebook page or not. It is important that businesses realise this and start investing in a technology solution that helps them keep track of customer feedback and increase accountability within management. Start measuring customer experience and its correlation with the bottom line.

What gets measured, gets improved.

Today, customers have the magical power of either creating sales spring or revenue drought. Take action before it’s too late.

When was the last time you changed your buying decision based on customer reviews? Would love to hear your comments and feedback.


*an adaptation from Harry Potter by JK Rowling

Do you want to
improve your
Customer Experience?

Get FREE web class to uncover the secrets that Startups to Fortune 500 companies are using right now!


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