Ecommerce Product Reviews: How To Manage The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Face your fear with Conversion Marketing Experts

Do you run an Ecommerce business and fear dealing with customer product reviews, especially the negative or unfair product reviews? If so, this post is about recent research highlighted in a Harvard Business Review article. Because this is about managing and growing your business.

If you make or sell any product or service, chances are you have paying customers. How you get these customers and how you keep them happy is part marketing art and science, especially if you embrace data-driven marketing, online or off. As you’re about to see, managing expectations is the key.

There’s a fine line in telling any story to attract and convert customers. It’s quite another to deliver the goods and keep customers happy. Do this repeatedly well like Nordstrom and you more easily earn customer loyalty, repeat business, better prices and margins and more.

By keeping a solid reputation online and off you do your best listen, respond and serve your customers for as long as it makes business sense for you. Nobody will have a perfect reputation and if you hide or negate customer reviews that are negative, you and others will know. It is never a good idea to not listen or sweep customer service and product reviews under a rug.

Here’s are two interesting points about managing customer expectations revealed by the authors of When Positive Product Reviews Backfire for Retailers in the Harvard Business Review.

“We find that online customer reviews available at the time of purchase do affect customers’ likelihood to buy a product. If reviews are overly positive, this leads to a substantially higher purchase probability: a one-point increase in review valence results in an increased purchase probability of approximately 10% (9.14% for electronics; 14.60% for furniture).

However, because these overly positive reviews inflate customer expectations about the product (that’s why they buy it), customers can experience greater disappointment upon receiving the item if it doesn’t live up to its rave reviews. This then leads more people to send the product back.”

See it? Expectations are the key to keeping customers happy after they buy your product or service. Managing these expectations throughout the customer life cycle, from the time you generate initial interest through the time of purchase and delivery or fulfillment, the burden is on you. Do this well, reap the rewards. Perform poorly, you may find yourself out of business.

Dealing With the Negative Product Review

Have you ever had a really upset customer post an unfair customer product review? I have and it made me furious for days! Why? First, I sell a service. Second, because what the guy wrote online wasn’t the whole truth! Imagine that. But there was his post for everyone online to see and it was a huge issue for my ego. It may have affected my pipeline, but it mostly mad me feel badly.

What did I do next? I fretted a lot. I thought about what to do for a few days. Then I fell on my sword without making a big deal of it.

Why? Because if I didn’t let go of the resentment against the guy who made the unfair post, I was letting him win. I decided that was stupid. But here I am writing about it again to illustrate the point that there will be times when you just have to deal with an unpleasant review, well.

This is about your reputation. Reputation affects revenue, employee retention and more. So more than managing reviews after the fact, put far more consideration in how you manage expectations from the beginning of your Buyer-Seller dance.

If your best prospects read a bunch of negative reviews, what happens to your pipeline? If it takes a hit, it’s up to you to manage it. How you do this is up to you and your team because there are many variables. Just be cautious not to make things worse when you have an online product review that is negative.

Take these simple steps to stay on top of your reputation, customer product reviews and bolster your repeat and referral business when you get it right.

  1. Listen carefully to what customer say by watching your product reviews.
  2. Respond quickly, online and directly with your customer.
  3. Focus on fairness. Do your best to make it right.
  4. Don’t let your ego get the best of you.
  5. Be grateful, transparent and honest in all your affairs.

This is a short list of many approaches to better managing your customer expectations from the beginning of your customer journey. Watch, listen, respond and be the best servant you can be for your customers, as long as it’s fun, profitable and good for the team.

We always appreciate your comments and questions on the Conversion Marketing Experts blog.

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