Research shows that it is generally the people with strong opinions who leave product reviews and the majority without strong opinions tend not to leave so many reviews.
So that leaves most people with no voice, by their own choice.
Bigger companies, usually have more customers, which can mean a higher likelihood of more reviews, which can mean more potential customers reading the reviews which can lead to more sales.
This can be a virtuous circle for big brands.
Research by Sinan Aral for MIT suggests that some reviews can be systematically biased.
“Social proof”, a psychological and social phenomenon where people assume the actions of others in an attempt to reflect correct behaviour in a given situation may be the basis for this.
Improving the Quality of Consumer Reviews
Reviews are shown to have a significant effect on consumer decision-making and it is important for people responsible for getting reviews (Marketing agencies and businesses) to do what they can to ensure the quality of their customers’ reviews.
- Request feedback. The higher the percentage of customers that leave reviews, the better for the accuracy or the reviews overall. This can also reduce review bias and balance review sentiment. Requests can be through feedback surveys or simple questions post purchase.
- Remind customers that their opinion helps others. When asking for feedback, social reinforcement goes a long way and can also lead to a better balance of reviews.
- Provide incentives. These can be money rewards, but freebies, discounts, access to special offers etc. can also work.
- Leave an appropriate length of time after purchase before asking for the review. E.g. PC World wait 28 days after purchase before asking for reviews.
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