Customer reviews have become so ubiquitous that we no longer notice how dependent we’ve become upon them, but for many businesses and product categories, they’re a make-or-break proposition.

A 2020 survey by BrightLocal found that 87% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses, and nearly half say they won’t engage with a business whose rating is less than four-star. In industries like hospitality, consumer electronics, and local services, a string of negative reviews can be devastating.

Every company has disappointed customers. In fact, the occasional complaint actually enhances the credibility of a review site. “If everything you see is five stars and looks like it’s written by a marketing department, common sense is going to tell you something feels off,” said Jennifer Griffin, vice president of content integrity and insights for consumer-generated content services provider Bazaarvoice, in an interview with CIO.com.

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