Responding to Online Reviews Can Have Significant Benefits for Brands

Bazaarvoice-Brand-Responses-to-Reviews-Impact-Consumer-Perceptions-Oct2013Brands can spin feedback – even negative – into positive results, says Bazaarvoice in the latest edition [pdf] of its Conversation Index. 7 in 10 survey respondents indicated that a brand’s response to an online consumer review changes their perception of a brand, most commonly by making them feel that the brand really cares about customers (41%), that it has great customer service (35%), and that it is trustworthy (22%). What’s more, shoppers who read brand responses to negative reviews showed significantly higher product sentiment and intent to purchase.

There are different types of negative feedback, of course, which require different responses from brands. Even so, brand responses appear to increase sentiment in each scenario.

To test the impact of brand responses, Bazaarvoice divided its survey respondents into 2 groups: a control group (that comprised half of the sample) which saw negative reviews for a variety of products; and a test group which saw the same reviews, but also with a company response.

The results indicate that:

  • Compared to the control group, shoppers who saw a review response that contained guidance explanations for product misuse had a 186% higher purchase intent and a 157% higher product sentiment;
  • Those who saw brand responses offering to refund, upgrade, or exchange products demonstrated 92% higher purchase intent and 88% higher product sentiment; and
  • Shoppers who read responses suggesting additional steps (such as contacting customer service) had an 89% higher intent to purchase and an 89% higher product sentiment.

In a separate analysis of more than 100,000 reviews in its network, Bazaarvoice found that reviews with brand responses were considerably more likely to be voted helpful than those without responses. In the health and beauty sector, for example, reviews with responses were 15 times more likely to be voted helpful, although the gap was smaller in the consumer electronics vertical, where such reviews were twice as likely to be voted helpful.

About the Data: Bazaarvoice commissioned a survey of 1,600 nationally representative US adults aged 18 and older.