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Evaluating “Reviews”​ vs “Remarks”​ When Buying Online/Instore

“Great Experience” / “Worst experience”

“Will visit again” / “Will never go to this place ever”

“Horrible. Don’t try this” / “Wonderful. Must buy”

Does that ring a bell? Do you see such comments (reviews) being posted by customers when they evaluate an experience at a hotel or a shop or any public place through Google Reviews, Facebook reviews and a whole lot of online review platforms. They do two things:

Rate a business on their performance (a feedback for improvement)

Become a guideline for other prospective customers to evaluate a business (influencing their buying decision)

That’s really neat. As a business, I really need both. A feedback for improving my business performance and then making my buyers, my influencers to help grow my business. Super.

Let’s look at these comments to see how they help me on those two counts.

e.g. “Great Experience” – at first am happy that this customer is very happy at my store/website. Brings a smile to my face.

Reality then sets in – great experience about what? – our customer service, pricing of product, quality of product or just the fact that the customer got what he wanted?

This statement is actually not telling me anything about it. It//s just a generic statement made by the customer in the heat of the moment – either happy or unhappy.

Such comments are REMARKS.

As a business, I would not take credit for so-called “happy” remarks nor would I take dis-credit for the “unhappy” ones because they never told me where the success/problem is?

It only makes me feel good/bad but not improve. As a business, my key goal is the keep repeating success, and prevent/improve failures.

Now, lets take a look at a different set of comments.

“This was a satisfying buying experience. I had plenty of options to choose from and found the right match for the right price. What’s more? The store gave me an added 5% loyalty discount and 3 coupons for future use. Highly recommend this store”

“This was a nightmare. I had to stay in a queue for over 15 min to checkout. At the counter, the cashier was very rude when I didn’t have change to offer. He then wasted another 10 min trying to get change from the other counter. People behind me were extremely unhappy too. Will think again about entering this store”

This is FEEDBACK at its best.

In the first case, the customer has appreciated a lot of things I can keep working on – having a good inventory of choices, right pricing, marketing policies that have recall value, etc. This is great feedback for my business to keep innovating and bettering this success.

In the second case, the customer is most unhappy with my customer service. This tells that long queues at the checkout counter (which is success in itself) need to be managed better (by having more counters or creating cash/credit based windows. My team needs training on handling irate customers diplomatically without losing temper or values and most importantly improve on our cash vending apparatus/model for faster transactions.

These are REVIEWS. And as a business, I value them the most. They teach me where I am doing well, where I am going wrong. They help me improve, they help me grow my business.

As a CUSTOMER, the next time you want to write a review online?

  • Express yourself about the exact areas you liked or disliked. Emotions are fine but do they add value?
  • Avoid emotional outbursts. They mean nothing to most people other than have a giggle about when they see it.
  • Try to be constructive in your criticism or praise. Remember you are an influencer for prospective buyers. Show them the right path.
  • Avoid being vindictive (it was your experience, someone else will have a different story)

Note: Its understood that being online (especially on mobile phones) – time will be scarce and you’d want to write a review as fast as possible. But if you prepare for a minute before writing the review, it will help you gather your thoughts, tone down emotions and word yourself better. After all, in this global marketplace, we are all in give-take relationships. The idea is to help each other improve.

As a BUSINESS, the next time you review your customer comments online?

  1. Sort into REMARKS and REVIEWS (as explained above)
  2. REVIEWS need to be understood carefully. Note down pluses and minuses being highlighted
  3. REMARKS will carry less weight but should not be ignored. Take it as a message from the market to pull up your socks or keep going.
  4. Respond constructively to reviews (especially the negative ones). Don’t refute charges made by customers bluntly, try to explain your case. People who read reviews are smart to understand who’s genuine?
  5. Make sure you and your team practice on the positives/negatives listed to improve business.

As they say, a CUSTOMER’S best feedback is their decision to revisit your business. Listen and Act.

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