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The Right Way to Use Ratings and Reviews

How to properly leave ratings and reviews.

I work on many websites, and have a few of my own, that offer the ability for customers to leave a rating and/or a review. Over the years, I’ve witnessed a degradation of using the review process properly.

When a website offers the ability to leave reviews, that’s an indication that they are proud of their product and service. Why offer the ability to leave reviews if you are not committed to making folks happy and living up to your sales pitch?

Why Leave Reviews?

A consumer report from Trustpilot, noted that the top three reasons customers write reviews are:

  1. Help others make a better buying decision.
  2. Share an experience.
  3. Reward a company for good performance.

93% percent of consumers note that online reviews impact their purchasing decisions. For that reason, this is why reviews are not to be offered lightly.

Reviews should only be provided with consideration of the impact they may create. The review process needs to be taken seriously and used with prudence. Here are a few tips to guide you.

How and When to Leave Reviews

  • Always contact the vendor/website first if you have an issue or problem with their product or service. You should always give them the opportunity to make things right before leaving a negative review.
  • If after making an attempt for resolution you still are not satisfied, when leaving a negative review stick to the facts about why you are not happy. Don’t make assumptions or be overly emotional. Profanity is never necessary to make your point.
  • Reviews are not the place for customer service requests or questions. Those should be placed directly with the vendor/website not through the review system.
  • Never leave a review if you messed up. If you didn’t provide correct information, did not read the policies or the product description to know what you are receiving — that’s on you.
  • When you are satisfied, receive good service and want to let others know about your great experience. Positive reviews help vendors build their business.
  • Use proper grammar, case and sentence structure. How you type your review will lend to its credibility.

This article is not about defending poorly run businesses or those that are deceptive and deserve bad reviews.
In my experience, those are the exception not the rule.

Reviews & Consequences

Sadly, there are always those who try to game the system. They’ll dis vendors just to get items for free or refunded — even when not justified.

They know negative reviews can severely impact revenues, visibility and trust factors and that most vendors will do anything to avoid that. Regardless if the vendor is truly at fault and will lose money by refunding.

Vendors that care about their service and trust factors, in some cases, have no choice but to cater to these type of individuals. Cost of doing business.

Then there are situations where things are out of a vendor’s control. Weather issues for example that cause a delay in shipment arrivals. Once a vendor hands a package off to USPS, UPS, FedEx, DHL, etc. it is out of the vendor’s control what happens next.

Why would you leave a negative review for a business about something out of their control? There are those who do.

At the same time leaving glowing reviews is something most don’t think to do without a reminder or encouragement. Usually it is the poor experience where folks jump to let the world know what they went through.

Regardless, the consequences of both types of reviews is immeasurable.

There are two sides…

Having been on both sides of the situation, I’ll wrap this up for you:

  • Take the time to leave positive reviews when deserved. This helps the good guys to build their business and be around for the long haul.
  • Only leave negative reviews after giving the vendor the opportunity to make things right and then only if it is clearly deserved. Many times honest mistakes or oversights can be remedied to your satisfaction.

Only leave reviews when they are justifiably deserved. The process helps businesses that deserve to succeed and those that are not up to the challenge to improve if they want to survive.

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