What Do Customers Look for in Reviews & Testimonials?

Reviews and testimonials are among the top resources for buyers. Buyers consider customer reviews and testimonials to be an incredibly valuable informational source to inform their purchase decisions because people naturally trust their peers more than they trust businesses. Consequently, this type of social proof is essential for every business, particularly businesses with online stores. 

Though your business may offer a variety of useful content, customers will still rely on personal experiences to learn more about your brand and products. And a review is just that: an honest reflection of a customer’s experience with your products and brand.

But not all customer reviews are created equal. What aspects of customer reviews and testimonials are the most important to potential buyers?

Authenticated Reviews

Buyers look for reviews because they don’t want to just take your business’s word for it—they also want to hear from a real person. 

As a result, having authentic reviews from validated users is the single most important factor for buyers. Today’s buyers can be wary of customer reviews simply because of the amount of review fraud out there. Buyers’ main fears when it comes to customer reviews are reading false reviews from people who have never actually used the product or reading reviews from people who have been paid or incentivized for positive feedback. 

For this reason, user verification ensures the legitimacy of the written feedback and that buyers can trust the opinions in the reviews. Customer reviews have the most impact and potential to convert when the reviews are visibly authentic. 

In-Depth Reviews

The next thing buyers look for in reviews is the level of insight they offer. Buyers want descriptive and comparative reviews that will inform their purchase decision. Buyers are usually unconvinced by general, vague reviews that give no reason as to why they liked the product or why they didn’t like the product. 

As a result, the more detail in a review, the more likely a buyer will trust and benefit from the review. In-depth reviews legitimize the reviewer’s opinion and potential buyers then have greater confidence in trusting their opinion. Consequently, short, vague quotes and one-line testimonials are not social proof enough to convince potential buyers. 

Balanced Reviews

Buyers want to see the good and the bad. In fact, buyers actually consider mixed reviews more helpful and trustworthy than 100% positive reviews. Particularly, potential buyers are looking for reviews to be balanced by “pros and cons.” Not only are these types of reviews more helpful to buyers in their purchase decision, but a mix of good-and-bad impressions actually further validates the positive reviews. In addition, reviews that are simply too glowing immediately set off warning bells for the buyer, who may suspect the reviews are fraudulent or paid-for. 

Businesses, be not afraid. The presence of negative feedback in reviews must seem like the last thing you want to be featured on your site, but the presence of these reviews does not necessarily prevent buyers from making a purchase. On the contrary, it actually validates the positive feedback and also helps buyers know what to expect post-purchase. 

Does Your Business Have a Customer Review Strategy?

How well do you understand the buyer’s journey? Is your business’s website optimized with the resources buyers need to convert? During the buyer’s journey, people consistently consult reviews and testimonials to see if they trust the product, service, and seller.

Customer reviews have a powerful impact on your brand and your success—we’ll help you put a review strategy in place that increases the participation of your current customers and secures new ones. 

Contact Sun Sign Designs today for a free strategy session! 

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