What are customer reviews and why are they important?

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 22 June 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

One of the most influential and essential components of any business is the customer market for their particular product. Customers are the core element of product sales and a business's generated revenue, for it's their continuous purchasing of a business's products that allow it to maintain stability and growth. In light of this, a crucial factor to consider in your customer market is gaining effective customer reviews of your products. In this article, we discuss what a customer review is, why they're important and how to best gain customer reviews.

Related: What is customer satisfaction?

What is a customer review?

A customer review is a way in which a business receives feedback on one or more of its products. This process involves a customer purchasing a product and using it for its given purpose. Following this, the customer chooses to supply a business with their personal review containing their opinions on the product they used. This review can cover a wide variety of aspects surrounding the product, depending on the customer's specific preferences and experiences, including the product performance, the suitability of its price and the ease of use.

The fundamental aim of a customer review is to gain a comprehensive insight into the customer experience. Although a business may have its own predictions when testing a product, it's the customer experience that matters most, as they're the people the business needs to support its brand. Customer reviews can exist in a range of different forms, such as feedback surveys, online email reviews, telephone communication or in-store interaction. For a business, customer reviews are one of the most effective ways of developing products and improving customer experiences.

Who uses customer reviews?

Customer reviews are fundamental to any business offering a product or service. If a company sells a product, regardless of what it is, it inevitably becomes a main goal of the company to have the highest sale rates possible for this product. One important thing that can impact these sales rates is the quality of the product itself. By offering a higher value proposition for their product, a measurement of a product's appeal and its ability to meet customer needs, customers become more inclined to purchase it.

If you own a business, you can put strategies in place to gain customer reviews and find out exactly how your products are performing and how they can further the customer experience. The overall goal is for you to use customer reviews to grow your business.

Why are customer reviews important?

Customer reviews are vital to your business for several reasons. The opinions of your customers may always be the core foundation on which you evaluate, develop and adjust your products and services, including how you communicate and engage with your market. Once you ask a customer to review your services or products, you can thoroughly analyse their feedback to stimulate the direction of your product development and the drafting of your future business goals. Below are some of the main uses of customers reviews, with their impacts explained in more detail:

Opportunities for product development

One main reason customer reviews are so important is that they give you endless opportunities to develop your products. The best way to truly know the effectiveness of your product is to hear first-hand from a range of customers who can detail their experiences. The more reviews you garner, the more accurate and detailed your understanding of product performance becomes. You're then fully equipped to analyse the feedback, to see the range of different strengths and weaknesses that your product has. Where your product appears to disappoint buyers, you now can develop these areas to create greater customer satisfaction.

More engaging customer service

Customer reviews can also lead to your business adopting a more efficient approach to customer engagement. Asking for customer reviews alone already engages customers, as they now have a prime opportunity to send their opinions to your company, and can feel comfortable knowing their comments and concerns are met with the utmost attention. Additionally, you're likely to receive reviews for customer service which can suggest better ways to communicate with your market audience. Remember that customer reviews are meant to create a dialogue and that they're not as useful if you simply dismiss them.

Related: 10 ways to consistently offer good customer service

Improved business reputation

When you prompt customers to give their reviews for a product, it elevates your business reputation amongst the consumer market. By letting customers know that you want their opinions, it shows them they're important components of your company and that each individual experience, no matter how small it may be, is a key asset to your company's growth. This ensures not only that you gain a reputation for showing brilliant customer engagement, but also that your customers are more likely to spread their loyalty towards your brand to other potential customers through word of mouth.

Refined marketing strategies

Customer reviews also contribute to how your company might devise new marketing strategies. By gaining customer feedback, you can see what it is about your product that most attracts customers and develops insights into your target audience's individual needs and life situations. This allows you to focus your marketing strategies more specifically, focusing on the main product appeal highlighted by the reviews and illuminating how your product can meet unique customer needs. As a result, your marketing strategies are likely to produce higher sales for the product.

How to gain customer reviews

Customer reviews can significantly improve various aspects of your business in many ways. Therefore, you can strive to develop the most successful strategies for gaining the best customer reviews from each individual user of your products. While there are a wide variety of different steps and approaches you might take when asking for customer reviews, there are some fundamental things that you can include in your plan. Below, you can find a step-by-step guide on how to gain customer reviews:

1. Determine your goals

The first step to gaining customer reviews is to decide on the goals you want to achieve from receiving them. Ask yourself what you want to achieve as the end result of these reviews and use this as the base of your review process. You might want to improve the quality of your products, in which case you can identify the areas that customers find lacking in the performance. You might be restructuring your customer service operations and looking for ways to improve your customer engagement. You may even want to establish yourself in an entirely new market.

Related: How to write an action plan to help you achieve your goals

2. Establish your method of gaining reviews

Next, outline the method you're going to use to gain your reviews. This acts as the central part of your process and requires a range of different areas to cover, including:

  • The format of the review: Consider how you can get your customers to leave their reviews. The most common review formats are feedback forms, online surveys and in-person interviews.

  • Who you're going to ask and when: Debate whether you want all of your existing customers to give reviews or if you wish to target a specific part of your consumer base to obtain more specialised results. You may also want to only target your selected audience for reviews at certain intervals.

  • What the reviews comprise: Decide what questions you want to ask or whether you want customers to provide broader, more qualitative accounts of their experiences. You may only want your customers to describe their experiences with a single product or describe their entire relationship with your brand.

3. Execute your review scheme

Once you've sufficiently planned your process for gaining reviews, you can then execute it. Make sure that your chosen system of reviews is working properly. If you've chosen an online method, ensure that your website or web forms are accessible and complete. For in-person reviews, organise your staff so that there are people present to conduct them. If you sense an element of inefficiency in an aspect of the scheme, make changes as you see fit or consider combining your review methods.

4. Respond promptly to reviews and begin analysis

Ensure that you respond to your reviews promptly. This could be through a simple acknowledgement that the review has been considered, or for more concerning reviews, make sure you address the issues given and present evidence of this to the customer. At this point, you can now begin to analyse the customer reviews in relation to the goals you set at the start of the process.

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