Vendors tend to get nervous about online ratings and reviews. What if somebody says something negative? What if a whole lot of people do? Let’s see what Google has to say about this in the (highly recommended and free) Google eBook The Zero Moment of Truth:
Most reviews are good. “We’ve found that the worldwide average for product reviews is a 4.3 out of 5.0,” says Brett Hurt of Bazaarvoice. His company provides customer conversation services to corporations ranging from Wal-Mart to Johnson & Johnson. According to Brett, 80% of all reviews online are four to five stars. There’s more: “We find that there’s a new version of the 80–20 rule: 80% of reviews on the site of a given retailer are written by the top 20% of their customers by lifetime value. We call them the super shoppers.”
The math is simple enough: People like to talk most about the products they love the most.
Bad reviews aren’t all bad. “People are scared to death of messaging not being all positive,” says Dave Reibstein. “But negative comments add authenticity.” Brett Hurt puts it another way: “Fear of the negative is the thing that still really holds back adoption of the Zero Moment of Truth. We see that fear especially with businesses that are more about a person than a product. But the truth is, negative reviews increase conversion rates for all kinds of businesses, because people see them and know that they’re shopping in a truthful environment.” If you’re building an awful product, that’s one thing. But if your product is good (as it surely is) then you really shouldn’t fear the occasional negative comment.