When consumers see a brand's response to a negative online review, their overall opinion and intent to purchase more than double, compared to when they see a negative review without a response from the brand, according to the latest Conversation Index study from Bazaarvoice, which examined the role of social technologies in building better relationships between businesses and consumers.
Based on an analysis of data from more than 100,000 pieces of user-generated content (UGC) in the Bazaarvoice network, and a survey of 1,600 US adults, the index notes that consumers tend to feel much more favourably toward brands that respond to negative customer reviews than when the brand doesn't respond at all.
In addition, when brands responded to a review in which the product owner misused or demonstrated a significant misconception about the product, shoppers who saw the brand response were 186% more likely to purchase than those who did not see the response. Similarly, when a brand's response offered to refund, upgrade, or exchange a disgruntled customer's product for a different model, shoppers were 92% more likely to purchase than shoppers who saw no response.
Shoppers also see responsive brands as being caring and trustworthy, and consequently they tend to show greater sentiment toward those products. Seeing a brand response to a review made consumers think the brand "really cares about the customer" (41%), "has great customer service" (35%), is "a trustworthy brand" (22%), or provides "products that are high quality" (14%).
Average sentiment also improved 157% after seeing a review with a brand response that corrected product misuse and offered corrective instructions, and 88% when a brand response offered to refund or upgrade the reviewer's product.
"We all accept that businesses need to be more engaging and some go so far as to say that businesses need to be more 'human'," concluded Lisa Pearson, chief marketing officer at Bazaarvoice. "Responsiveness is one of the most important dimensions of a more human commercial relationship. With the acceleration of market changes from social media, new technologies and increased competition, companies who want lasting relationships with consumers must participate in experiences that foster trust, dialogue, and collaboration at each stage of their journey."