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A customer review is a review of a product or service made by a customer who has purchased and used, or had experience with, the product or service. Customer reviews are a form of customer feedback on electronic commerce and online shopping sites. There are also dedicated review sites, some of which use customer reviews as well as or instead of professional reviews. The reviews may themselves be graded for usefulness or accuracy by other users.
The reliability of customer reviews has been questioned. Abuses akin to ballot stuffing of favourable reviews by the seller, or negative reviews by competitors, need to be policed by the review host site. Since few sites restrict users to reviewing only items purchased from that site, it is difficult to prove a customer has actually used the product they are reviewing. Many service industry businesses have expressed the wish that customers let the business know in the moment if some aspect is unsatisfactory, so they can have the opportunity to fix it on the spot or provide compensation, rather than customers leaving unnecessarily disappointed and writing negative reviews.
Traditional review methods
Before the advent of the internet, methods by which customers could review products and services included customer comment boxes and customer service helplines. These methods are still in existence today although internet review sites have grown significantly in recent years.
Important facts about customers reviews
- 82% of consumers read online reviews before visiting a business.
- 76% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
- Only 53% of people would consider using a business with less than 4 stars.
- 72% of customers will take action only after reading a positive online review.
One of the first review sites was Epinions, established in 1999.
Major review sites include:
- Better Business Bureau
- Angie's List
- CNet (technology)
- Epicurious (recipes)
- Judy's Book
- TestFreaks (product reviews)
- Qype (focuses on local businesses)
- TripAdvisor (hotels, restaurants and visitor attractions)
- Barnes & Noble
- PowerReviews (brands, retailers)
- Trustpilot (retailers)
- PowerReviews (brands, retailers)
- Resellerratings (retailers)
- ZocDoc (doctors)
- Bazaarvoice (retailers)
Humorous customer reviews are common on some major shopping sites, such as Amazon. These are often ironically or sarcastically laudatory reviews of products deemed kitsch or mundane. Another example is methylated spirits described in the style of a wine review. A product may become an internet meme attracting large numbers of spoof reviews, which may boost its sales. Famous examples include Tuscan Whole Milk and the Three Wolf Moon T-shirt.
Examples of spoof reviews
- A Million Random Digits with 100,000 Normal Deviates (book)
- f.lux (display color adjustment software based on the time of day)
- Twitter Wit: Brilliance in 140 Characters or Less (book)
- Osama Bin Laden's Hideout Compound (humorous reviews of Osama bin Laden's hideout compound written by Google Maps users after his killing on 1 May 2011)
- Uranium Ore
- "BIC Cristal For Her Ball Pen"
British spoofers have targeted several build to order novelty products made by Media Storehouse from two million licensed photo library images, including a canvas print of minor celebrity Paul Ross, and a jigsaw puzzle of Nick Humby, a former finance director of Manchester United.
- Doward, Jamie (26 June 2011). "Online customer reviews – they're not all they're cracked up to be". The Guardian. London.
- Why ranting on Yelp is the wrong way to complain about awful service
- "Local Consumer Review Survey | Annual Online Reviews Trends". BrightLocal. 11 December 2019. Retrieved 10 July 2020.
- Doward, Jamie; Emma Craig (5 May 2012). "Amazon spoof reviews bring art of satire to website". The Observer. London. Retrieved 5 May 2012.
- Steve Johnson (29 June 2009), How Gut-Busting Customer Reviews Can Help Take A Product To the Top of the Sales Charts, Young Money, archived from the original on 13 December 2009, retrieved 8 May 2010
- "f.lux - Comments". Retrieved 1 February 2013.
I need this app for my refrigerator. [...] I put a red light in my fridge and went down for some string cheese at 3 a.m. and ended up with a hot dog because it looked the same in red light. Thanks a lot.
- Douglas, Nick. "Twitter Wit: Brilliance in 140 Characters or Less". Amazon.com. Retrieved 3 May 2011.
- "Osama Bin Laden's Hideout Compound". Google Maps. Retrieved 3 May 2011.
- "Uranium Ore". Amazon.com. Retrieved 19 September 2012.
- "BIC Cristal For Her Ball Pen". Amazon.com. Retrieved 9 January 2012.