Home Forums When and Why do consumers leave reviews? Comparing Biz Owners & Consumer POV

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    Mike Blumenthal

    I have continued with my research asking business owners: When and Why Do Consumers Leave Reviews? I have finally assembled a large, significant sample size and have a high degree of confidence in the results.

    This chart on a high level compares what consumers said was their reason/motivation in leaving reviews with equivalent business owner responses as to when and why. The answers for both groups were categorized the same.

    The obvious point of comparison and contrast is the frequency of how many consumers leave reviews for good and exceptionally good experiences vs how many are thought to leave reviews for bad experiences only. Clearly business owners think that consumers leave reviews only when things went well much less than consumers think that and business owners again thought that Bad only reviewers were much more frequent than consumers thought.

    There are two very interesting things that came out of the business survey to better understand this difference.

    In reference to those that only write reviews in bad situations the number as well as the comments were in stark contrast between the two groups:

    Business owners often had trouble conceiving that consumers might leave reviews when they were satisfied:
    I would wager that the majority of reviews are left because of a negative experience.

    After they typically have a bad experiance. Most happy customers dont leave reviews.

    While a number of business owners recognized bad service as the culprit as often as not they would indicate that it was an emotional state of the consumer that was somehow detached from their service. To some extent it was interesting to see business owners detaching the emotions of their customers from any proximal cause like bad service or lack of caring. Here are some typical examples of business owners thinking:
    When they’re unsatisfied
    When upset
    If they don’t get their way.
    Passion or disgust

    Consumers, almost universally indicated that it was either bad service or unprofessional behavior as their reason for leaving a review.

    The business owners would occasionally ascribe even more insidious reasons:
    More oftem than not, they leave “revenge reviews” when they didnt get what they wanted

    But even when business owners recognized that excellent or bad service might trigger a review they seemed to think that the odds were stacked against them. Saying things like:
    When very angry or very impressed. Sadly, complaints seem to be more common.

    This was not an uncommon response that the good had to be over the top while even the bad was just relative:
    Usually for outstanding, above and beyond service or even the slightest of bad service. Typically reviewed while there or right after while emotions are still high.
    Typically, customers leave reviews for local businesses only when they have an extremely good experience, or when they have a relatively bad one.

    Consumers on the other hand were much more likely to note the need for extremes in both directions with comments like:
    When the service/product is awesome or horrible

    Consumers were much more likely to say “good or bad” was the reason without any reference to the extremes of either with a number of comments like:
    For satisfactory or unsatisfactory products or work.

    Consumers noted that they were more likely than businesses supposed to “help the business” or to “inform the business” and they also noted that they were less like than business supposed to leave a review just because they were asked.

    Business owners as a group, often struggle and reviews brings out the worst in them. To some extent their responses though masks the underlying mistrust and transference that occurs on the part of business owners and prevents them from objectively understanding their responsibility in the matter and their need to improve.

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