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Online Reviewers Lean Toward Good, Mixed Feedback over Negative

Bad reviews intended to warn other customers of poor service, products

Reviews now play an integral role in the path to purchase among consumers inclined to do research on the internet. In fact, a January 2014 survey of US adult internet users conducted by YouGov found that 79% of them checked online reviews at least some of the time before making a purchase. Only 7% of respondents said they never checked a review, underscoring how important they’ve become during the research phase of shopping.

Reviews present a potential benefit for those selling goods and services, but also a possible deterrent if retailers or products are saddled with bad reviews. Interestingly, respondents seemed more inclined to leave either good or mixed reviews than they were to unload a bad review on the web. Nearly six out of 10 of those polled said they had left a mixed review, while 54% had left a good review. In comparison, only 21% had left a bad review.

Among those who had left a bad review, the main motivation was to warn off other consumers about a poor product or experience. Nearly nine in 10 cited this reason as the impetus for a negative review.

While 23% said they left a bad review to alleviate their anger about the problem they experienced, 21% had left the review in the hopes that the company would attempt to redress a problem. Those selling goods and services should take close note of this last group, as it presents an opportunity for customer relations management to take over when a problem has been identified.

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