Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Great reviews - and (great) responses - make for more great reviews

All our working lives we are faced with two key questions:

1. Do reviews really matter that much?

and...

2. Does responding to those reviews make that much of a difference?

Well, thanks to Cornell and Harvard universities, we now have hard evidence to back up what we have been saying all along: a resounding 'Yes!'

Here's a synopsis of over 200 pages of detailed academic work...

Do reviews matter?

Reviews matter in many ways:
  • Positive reviews drive business and enable the business to charge more
  • Negative reviews drive business away and impact on prices and rates
  • A single negative review can result in a fall in revenue of up to 20%
  • The ratings (Google, Booking.com etc.) and rankings (TripAdvisor) are an amalgam of the individual review scores and these, in turn, increasingly dictate charges

 

Does responding to reviews make a difference?

This was one of the most interesting findings of the Harvard study: reviewers are influenced by what they see before they write their own review, and on top of that finding...
  • Reviewers who receive responses are more likely to use the business again
  • Reviewers who write a positive review and don't receive a response are less likely to use the business again
  • Reviewers who write a negative review and don't receive a response are more likely to post that review elsewhere - increasing the damage it causes
  • Reviewers who see that the business responds to reviews are less likely to post negative reviews (and certainly less likely to exaggerate their complaints)
  • Reviewers who see that the business responds are more likely to post a positive review
  • Reviewers who see that the business has overwhelmingly great (5*) reviews are more likely to post a 5* review themselves
  • Reviewers who see that the business has mainly negative reviews are less likely to score the business at 5* (or equivalent) even if entirely happy with the service they received

It's all common sense really, but it's nice to have it backed up by academic research!

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