Online reviews have changed the game for restaurants, hotels, retail and other businesses. Not only are customer making decisions based on the reviews of others, but bad reviews can have stinging effects. Everyone’s a Critic discusses this review-driven world and shows how businesses can use reviews.
I learned some interesting facts from this book that have changed the way I view reviews:
- Obviously positive reviews correlate with revenue for businesses, but some negative reviews can actually be beneficial as well. It turns out customers don’t trust it when there are only positive reviews. Specific negative comments especially make customers trust the reviewer and thus the review more. As long as the negative issues are relatively small (and interestingly enough: the spelling and grammar of these negative comments is correct!), negative comments can actually boost sales.
- In addition to the above: positive reviews have less impact if the spelling and grammar are poor. The author cites an experience from an online retailer who corrected the grammar and spelling in positive reviews and saw sales increase.
- For books specifically, negative reviews seem to have less impact – supporting the notion that ‘any press is good press’. This held true for relatively unknown authors at least, not for established authors where negative reviews did have a negative impact on sales.
- Having 50 or more reviews for a product cab translate into 4.6 sales increase.
- 63% of consumers are more likely to purchase from a site that has customer reviews.
That’s just the top of the iceberg of the interesting facts in this book. The stories the author shares are even more fascinating. The story of the New York locksmith for instance who studied bad reviews from competitors and then started his own business, grabbing the number one spot within months with almost only four and five star reviews. The story of the business that printed one star reviews and framed them, much to the amusement of the customers. Or the restaurant who printed quotes from bad reviews on the staff’s t-shirts. It worked.
Everyone’s a Critic shows that reviews work – if you make them work for you. Numerous examples are told from business that changed their service based on reviews and did much better as a result.
Of course, there are also the examples of hotels being ‘blackmailed’ by Yelp reviewers into extra service, free meals, etc. That’s the downside of the review-driven world the author discusses as well.
I recommend this book to anyone whose work or product is subject to reviews. It will help you understand the motives of reviewers better and show you how you can use reviews, even bad ones. to your advantage.
What is your experience with online reviews? What positive and negative sides do you see?
[You’ve just read ChurchMag’s Saturday Morning Review.]