Online Product Reviews: Why Both Consumers and Businesses Need Them

(by Sky Doherty, winner of the 2019 Lodlois Scholarship)

“Wikipedia is the best thing ever. Anyone in the world can write anything they want about any subject, so you know you are getting the best possible information.”- Michael Scott (SearchQuotes, 2019). The Office TV show is one of the most comical mockumentaries that has been trending in the US for years. The show is based off of a group of office workers and their absurd work life. Many valuable lessons can be learned from their unique boss and ultimate ringleader, Michael Scott. Michael Scott may not have directly addressed the significance of online product reviews, however, he gives valuable advice that can be applied to product reviews and the impact they can have on running a successful business, as well as consumer satisfaction.

“Adapt, react, re-adapt, act.”- Michael Scott’s second rule of business (Officetally, 2005). This quote is extremely meaningful. In today’s society many businesses thrive off of consumer reviews.  How the public reacts to a business and its products is definitely crucial and significant. Through Adapting, reacting, re-adapting and acting, businesses are able to not only meet the expressed needs of their consumers, but ultimately thrive in the vocational world.

ADAPT. Businesses have the opportunity to adapt and grow from online product reviews. Not only do future customers compare product reviews associated to businesses, but businesses can equally learn about their products, and clearly indicate which ones are making a positive or negative impact on the market. Dissatisfied customers typically tell 9-15 other people about their experience; some tell 20 or more (White House Office of Consumer Affairs/Thomas, 2018). Through product reviews customers are able to be honest about their satisfaction, it is an excellent way for individuals to use their voice and feel a connection with a company. What businesses do with this feedback and how they adapt to the needs expressed by their customers, is equally crucial. Adaption is essential for market success.

REACT.  Not all product reviews will be positive, and it is extremely important for businesses to have an open mind and not get easily offended when reading their reviews. Terrible reviews give companies the power and opportunity to use their brand voice and publicly display, to their customer, that they sincerely care. Businesses are more likely to get better reviews in the future if they are quick to react and respond to their clientele, offer to make wrong issues right and set future customer’s worries at ease. Customer’s want to feel valued, and it is crucially important that assurance and understanding is offered to them. Opportunity to make an impact follows quick reactions.

RE-ADAPT. Sometimes, despite numerous efforts and adaptation, some businesses fail to please their customers, although this is infrequent it is vitally important that businesses understand how their customers interact with their brand and do their best to resolve any issues, especially those expressed through online reviews. Sometimes one solution that worked for past complaints won’t necessarily work for more current issues, therefore, businesses must readapt. According to Lee Resources, “When customers are unhappy there is a 91% chance they won’t do business with a company again” (Thomas, 2018).  Businesses need to do their best to adapt, and in other cases readapt, to the needs of their clientele. Readapting can be achieved through creating new products, resolving current issues in a different way and understanding that the needs of every customer will vary.

ACT. Consumers need product reviews because it gives them reassurance and clarity about their purchases. Customers are more likely to buy from companies that are well-known for quality products and exceptional services. Consumers don’t normally waste their time, or money on items provided by a business with terrible reviews. David Hume once stated, “All that belongs to human understanding in this deep ignorance and obscurity, is to be skeptical, or at least cautious” (BrainyQuotes, 2019). It is human nature to be skeptical, humans strive for constant reassurance. Online product reviews are impactful because they provide consumers with the reassurance that they crave. Businesses need to make sure that they act off of the information that they gather from data provided through product reviews. Positive feedback ensures a higher rate of consumer and business satisfaction. Businesses need to make sure that their actions positively reflect their ethics and the type of company that they want to be recognized as. Actions truly speak louder than words.

In conclusion, online product reviews are essential for businesses as well as consumers. Without this type of feedback most businesses would not be able to relate to their customers and would have a hard time knowing what a vast majority of them are interested in. Taking Michael Scott’s second rule of business, “Adapt, react, re-adapt, act” and applying it to various aspects of online product reviews can result in more efficient participation from both ends of the spectrum. Customers want to feel valued, and businesses should want to connect with their customers, and provide them with the best products and services possible. Both consumers and businesses need each other to survive. Without product reviews the business world would be seasoned with chaos and mistrust. Through online product reviews, connections and relationships between customers and businesses can be formed.

Online product reviews act as a showcase for businesses, satisfied customers will definitely express their love for products offered by a business that they have enjoyed working with. Businesses have the opportunity to address negative product reviews as well, the way that they react to these types of reviews can have a drastic impact on current and future consumer’s perspectives. A business with pure intentions, understanding amidst adversity and an overall concern for their customers will thrive on both the public and economic platforms. It is also important for employees of businesses to love what they do and who they are working for, so that they can share their excitement with their customers. Consumers want to feel reassured and with reassurance comes customer loyalty, which is flared with positive online product reviews from satisfied customers who feel appreciated by a business who genuinely cares.

“Make friends first, make sales second, make love third, in no particular order.”-Michael Scott (TVFanatic, 2010).