I love Amazon.com. I was on Amazon the other day searching for new ski goggles and as I searched I decided to filter out items that were less than 4-stars. After a few moments I found a pair of goggles that had a 4.5 star rating and even better than that, they had been reviewed by 36 customers.
As I scrolled through the reviews I noticed something interesting: they hadn't received a new customer review in over 6 months! I don't know why, but it bothered me that the newest review was from February.
That experience made me question how other consumers, like myself, felt about customer-generated reviews. Do others lose trust in reviews after a certain period of time or does it even matter? I decided to run a national survey through Google and ask people if they lost trust in reviews. Here's what I asked:
When is a customer-generated review (of a product or service) the most trustworthy to you?
- When it's 1-day-old
- When it's 1-week-old
- When it's 1-month-old
- When it's 1-yeaer-old
- Age of reviews doesn't matter
The survey received over 1,000 unique responses from people across the United States. Here's the break down of the results:
One out of two people say their trust in reviews is affected by time. Conversely almost half our respondents indicated age of reviews didn't matter to them.
Almost one of out five people say reviews are most trustworthy when they are one-month old. This indicates, that for almost 20% of Internet users, reviews become more trustworthy after they've proved themselves with time.
Surprisingly the fewest amount of people said they trust reviews when the reviews are one-day old. A mere 10% of our respondents trust reviews more when they are new.
It's important to note that over 37% of our survey respondents said reviews are at their peak level of trust when they are within one-month old. Thus indicating that companies must maintain a certain level of freshness with their customer-generated reviews for over 37% of Internet users to fully trust them.
It's not enough, in today's market, to collect customer-generated reviews for a day and then sit on them for years to come. Consumers expect more and deserve more from brands and companies. It's important to set up mechanisms for collecting reviews to help keep the review pool fresh (no one wants to swim in stagnate water).
Here are a few tips to help collect reviews more regularly
Make it simple to leave a review. Customers shouldn't have to put in work to leave a review by navigating through pages of your website or filling out gobs of information. Make the process of leaving reviews as painless and simple as possible.
Ask. Often time's companies overlook the most basic ways of collecting reviews. Audit your website to see how many times you ask people to leave a review of your product or service. After you've audited your site, implement meaningful calls-to-actions (CTAs).
Give people a reason to leave a review. Create context for people by showing them how their reviews will impact others OR why you're asking them to leave reviews. For example: Thank you for leaving a review. You're review will help 42,043 people (amount of visitors to that product or service page) trying to make a decision to purchase this product this month.
NEVER buy reviews. It may be tempting to hop on Fiverr.com and purchase a few reviews but that is the worst thing you can possibly do. Customer-generated reviews help paint accurate pictures of products and services. Trying to game the system will ALWAYS come around to bite you in the butt. Be a company that consumers can trust and that consumers can praise.
Collecting reviews doesn't have to be a complicated task. In fact, often times the most successful campaigns are the simplest campaigns.
Reviews are powerful tools to help increase trust and conversion for products and services. Reviews have shelf lives for 1 out of 2 consumers. In order to succeed companies must continually garner fresh, relevant reviews from real customers. Audit your review strategy and implement simple mechanisms that will allow your product or service to continually receive fresh reviews. Good luck.