Monday, November 11, 2013

Speak the Language of Helpful Reviews

Researchers from Maastricht University and Louvain School of Management indicate that online comments which criticize your store or the items you carry have greater elasticity than do online comments of praise. That is, as the number of negative comments gets larger, the chances a reader will give you business decreases sharply. The slope of the increase does not go up so sharply as the amount of praise climbs.
     Also, the effects are greater when the comments use the typical linguistic style of the readers.
     Then there’s the research sponsored by Boston-based brand consultants Cone. Those studies detected a growing increase in the power of negative reviews. About 85% of respondents said they’d changed their minds about making a purchase based solely on negative information they found on the internet. This compared with about 65% saying this in the prior year’s survey.
     The Cone researchers attributed the increase in the influence of negative information to more widespread internet access. I’ll go beyond this to suggest that what we’re seeing is not so much that the shopper can access ratings as that shoppers figure their friends and family can access the ratings. Consumers are concerned that if they select a product with negative reviews online, others will think less of them. “If the people I admire discover I’m using this, I’ll fall out of favor.”
     The Maastricht/Louvain findings suggest that when the linguistic style is one’s own, the reader gets even more concerned about this social risk.
     What to do?
  • As a retailer, acknowledge negative reviews. Researchers at European University Viadrina find that when a salesperson does this, the shopper becomes more likely to trust everything the salesperson says. Keep the words and logic simple. If there’s too much complexity, shoppers won’t hook the talk of negative information to the salesperson’s credibility. 
  • Offer a liberal money-back guarantee known about and trusted by the shopper. Research findings from University of California-Berkeley and Hebrew University of Jerusalem indicate that if your store does this, negative reviews become much less important during the selling process. 
  • Once the customer makes a selection, talk about positives. But if the shopper seems to be backing off from the purchase, ease the stress, while not letting the customer leave altogether, by saying, “I suggest I help you find some of the other items you’re shopping for here today, and then we can come back to considering this decision.” 
Click below for more: 
Negate the Social Risk of Negative Reviews 
Encourage Reviewers to Identify Themselves

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