How bad reviews can work in your favor, according to science

Every yr, companies pour numerous hours and thousands and thousands of bucks into customer support and neighborhood control paintings—together with responding to and rectifying low star-ratings and unfavourable on-line evaluations. But a up to date paper revealed within the Journal of Marketing says unhealthy evaluations would possibly no longer translate into bad-for-business. According to the peer-reviewed learn about, relying on how a reader perceives the writer of a deficient evaluate, crucial dings may even result in an uptick in purchases.

“Marketers have generally assumed that when people say positive things, purchase interest increases, and when people say negative things, purchase interest decreases,” says the learn about co-author Dr. Lisa Cavanaugh, an affiliate professor at University of British Columbia Sauder School of Business. “But when negative comments come from a socially distant source, a negative review actually increases purchase intentions—and that is a game changer.”

Remember in an episode of Netflix’s Ugly Delicious, when comic Ali Wong talks to chef David Chang about how she needs Yelp evaluations integrated indications about eating place reviewer demographics? That’s the gist of it.

After undertaking 16 experiments the use of what researchers name “identity-relevant brands”—comparable to Apple, Tim Hortons, and the NFL—findings display that the additional the “social proximity” of the reviewer, the much more likely a unfavourable evaluation would building up the reader’s pastime in making a purchase order. The learn about’s authors give an explanation for that studying unfavourable evaluations of those manufacturers “can pose a threat to a customer’s identity, prompting the customer to strengthen their relationship with the identity-relevant brand”—particularly if the reviewer is demographically and geographically disparate.

“When consumers personally identify with a brand, they see facets of themselves in that brand,” Dr. Cavanaugh mentioned. “When a reviewer leaves a disparaging comment about an identity-relevant brand, consumers feel compelled to protect the brand, and by extension themselves, by scrutinizing the source of the negative review.”

But this defensive, protecting reflex would possibly not kick in in all cases—in step with the learn about, an uptick in client pastime in line with unhealthy evaluations turns out to just happen for manufacturers and companies that buyers really feel are intrinsically connected to their very own identities. So, sorry review-bots, this isn’t going to paintings on a generic dropship rest room brush on Amazon.

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