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Exemplifi and Chatmeter studies on online reviews

Research Points to the Importance of Online Reviews

Data from Emplifi and Chatmeter Show Consumers Reliant on Reviews for Purchasing Decisions

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Two reputation management companies recently released data pointing to the importance of online reviews as part of the brand-customer experience.

Reputation management and brand intelligence provider Chatmeter conducted a survey in January 2023 that included responses from more than 1,300 consumers. All respondents have used a review to help in the decision-making process and 94.5% have posted a review in the last 12 months.The results show that reviews are crucial to the purchasing decision with over 89% of respondents using online reviews to evaluate quality. Over 67% see reviews as an important part of deciding what to buy and want specific details such as pricing, features, options, and quality.

According to the Chatmeter data, consumers like to see new, fresh reviews. More than 56% feel that reviews need to be posted within the past month to be trusted as relevant. In terms of trust, restaurant reviews are the most trusted (69%) while only 34% of respondents trust financial review sites.

Consumers are open to new technology as well as using new channels. Thirty-nine percent of respondents like the idea of using technology like ChatGPT for review information, and more than 30% like the idea of brand reviews through a metaverse experience.  Almost 13% of respondents use gaming platforms like Roblox, or games like Fortnite, for reviews, and more than 20% use chat tools. 

Similar to all other parts of the feedback ecosystem, the importance of closing the loop is paramount. People need to know that they have been heard and that issues will be addressed. When asked how brands can build better relationships with customers through online reviews, 58% of respondents say that companies should acknowledge comments and fix problems quickly. Similarly, consumers said they would also work to close the loop with 76% saying they would go back and update a negative review if a company satisfied their complaint. 

“Consumers see online reviews as a two-way dialogue. This study reinforces that reviews are a golden opportunity for brands to strengthen their customer relationships,” says Cynthia Sener, President, Go-to-Market, Chatmeter. “Consumers want to engage and want to do so across a multitude of platforms. It’s critical for marketers to arm themselves with technology that can optimize both solicited and unsolicited customer feedback.”

In other research, unified CX platform provider Emplifi found that customers put more credence in feedback from actual customers rather than influencers. Emplifi, in collaboration with Harris Interactive, polled 2,000 US and UK consumers and 87% report that feedback from actual customers has a sway on what they buy, compared to just 50% who said the same about influencers. Customers also like to see product pictures and videos posted by actual customers. Similar to the Chatmeter data, Emplifi found that when researching products online, customer reviews/ratings are the most influential factor in purchasing decisions – outranking price, return policy, and shipping costs.

Emplifi Chief of Strategy Kyle Wong says, “There’s no better way to demonstrate brand authenticity than by putting organic customer experiences front and center.”

Review management is an integral part of the customer insights and feedback technology ecosystem. Review data helps gather voice of the customer data that companies might not be able to collect via other channels. Customers expect it as a feedback option and have expectations around response time. How smoothly this process goes has implications for overall CX, not just for the one person leaving a review but for all those considering a product or service purchase. Companies will need to not just be purchasing and launching review management solutions, but must ensure that:

  • It’s easy to leave a review
  • Reviews on the platform are recent
  • There are multiple options and channels for consumers to use
  • Solid workflows are in place to address comments and issues in a timely manner

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