Customer product reviews: the good, the bad, and the ugly

TakeAway: Brands are opening up more dialogues between company and consumer.

Social networking sites, blogs, and online forums have all given consumers an outlet to review anything and everything.

Companies are learning that it is best if these conversations take place on sites where they can use positive and negative feedback to improve their product offerings. Consumers are also seem to appreciate openness and honesty from companies, and hearing both the good and bad helps build that trust.

So maybe bad news isn’t all that bad, as long as there’s some good to balance it out.

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Excerpted from MarketingWeek, “Even negative views improve brand image” by Joe Fernandez, September 10, 2009

Brands that open up an honest dialogue with consumers by using online channels to encourage positive and negative feedback are best placed to build trust and ultimately improve sales figures.

Procter & Gamble announced last month that it would start using consumer reviews on its brand sites for the first time. The FMCG company now lets people post their views on its Head & Shoulders and Ariel websites about how the products perform.

Customer endorsements are important tools for any marketer. They can help brands distinguish themselves from competitors, boosting sales and keeping the tills ringing.

Customers, in turn, use other people’s advice and reassurance to help them make purchase decisions. In the past decade, the emergence of online feedback on etail sites, blogs and forums has provided consumers with more resources than ever to base their decision-making on.

The days of spontaneity and blind purchases are long gone. Retailers and etailers are seeing the benefits of talking to customers, and being open has both positives and negatives as part of the overall brand experience.

Producing a dialogue with customers rather than the usual corporate diatribe means that the customer feels valued. Customer loyalty starts with a problem and a voice in the wilderness. If you listen and respond positively, you not only save the sale, you win the customer for life and many of their friends forever too.

Edit by JMZ

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