Inspired Marketing Insights – Indiana Jones & The Search for the Perfect Review
Companies are always in pursuit of the perfect review. The general attitude seems to be that the more great reviews you have, the better you are. The truth may not be that simple.
Consumers are savvier every day, consuming information about your company from multiple sources – social media, review websites, competitors, and your own site. This complicates your ability to manage messaging and the ability to get people to see why you’re better than your competitor. We’ve got a two-punch combination that may help you get through all the noise.
A recent study published (subscription required) by University of Chicago Press Journal of Consumer Research discusses, in great detail, the impact of a dispreferred marker on purchasing decisions.
We’ll warn you in advance that a Google search of the term won’t yield a definition. But since we brought it up, the least we can do is clarify what we mean.
A dispreferred marker is a qualifying phrase delivered before a negative comment.
Here’s an example for a pair of HD Vision Ultra Sunglasses on Amazon.com.
The study found that people value honest feedback and even seek out comments that reflect negatively on the product or service in an effort to find the “real story” about their potential purchase. They value the “I liked it but” or “I’ll be honest” type feedback more than strictly negative feedback.
An even more compelling observation from the study was that the presence of dispreferred markers in reviews actually increased the perceived likability of a brand and a willingness to pay more for the product being reviewed.
A separate study, published in 2008 by the Journal of Consumer Psychology, explored the impact of two sided positions (stating pros & cons) in advertising. In short, consumers exposed to two sided positions were significantly more likely to buy a product or service (by almost 21%) over positive only positions.
These two concepts, when blended together, create exciting new ways to use customer feedback in marketing.
There are challenges to companies who wish to use this approach for their own marketing.
- You don’t control customer reviews – You may be able to influence these but, in most cases, this is deemed unethical and may even violate terms of service for many platforms (Yelp prohibits companies from asking customers to provide good reviews).
- The “I’ll be honest” may not be nice enough. Even though dispreferred markers help soften the blow, the reviews you receive may not be nice enough to warrant being featured.
- Reviews are too weak or not specific – You may have a nice “I’ll be honest” review but it may not be meaty enough to pique a consumer’s interest.
What does this mean for Inspire clients?
Yelp may not like it when you solicit reviews, but the reality is that you must.
The good news is that there are ways to do this that provides your customer an opportunity to share their experience with your firm AND give you the balanced feedback you need to increase your credibility.
For customers with ongoing marketing engagements, we will often include an automated feedback system for their clients. We carefully construct a survey using the Net Promoter scoring system with follow-up questions after each scoring event to capture real feedback from customers regarding their experience. During this process, we even encourage satisfied customers to provide feedback about what could be done better.
There is a two-fold purpose to this approach. The first is to get valuable information for our clients to help them improve their workflows and systems. The second is the ability to get balanced testimonials from customers. These balanced testimonials can be used in marketing or sales literature.
Some of the best two-position feedback is when a service recovery opportunity is highlighted. Example: “I was initially frustrated with XYZ Service Company. I was promised the technician would arrive by 10 and he didn’t show up until 2. The great news is that when they did show up, they took care of the problem quickly and the owner waived the service fee since they were late.”
This kind of two-position testimonial goes a long way to building credibility with new customers because it is a mix of positive and negative experience plus it ends on a strong positive note. Your customers know you’ll make mistakes. They just want to know you will take care of them.
With this kind of feedback, there are opportunities to highlight them on testimonial pages on your own website, on social media, and in advertising. We would recommend blending them with a handful of positive only examples – which will craft an image of overall positivity.