Customer reviews foster trust in the company; people pay attention to a good King Kong advertising review, after all. While negative reviews are bad, people see silencing and manipulating those reviews away as even worse.
According to a study from the customer review site, Trustpilot, 42% customers in UK are concerned with their freedom of speech with regards to brands removing or censoring legitimate customer reviews. On top of that, the majority of their respondents (60%), stated that they’ll stop using a platform if they found out that these platforms censored reviews.
The main findings from the company’s research noted the following:
- 42% of customers are afraid that brand censorship are online reviews is a threat to free speech.
- 71% of customers are wary of online reviews being manipulated by companies.
- This, in turn, leads to people wasting money that they can’t afford (45%).
- Most of customers (90%) stated they that consult reviews before buying anything online, and that the average UK customer spends £433 annually on transactions that were based of, influenced by, or informed by an online review.
The research, dubbed The Critical role of reviews in Internet Trust, show that people are becoming increasingly reliant on customer reviews, with more and more people admitting that they read reviews before buying a product.
On the flip side, the report also notes how people are wary of companies manipulating legitimate feedback in order to improve their image. A lot of the survey’s respondents admitted to believing that companies are manipulating their image by making and posting fake reviews, while more admitted to believing companies do that by removing negative reviews.
Trustpilot Founder and CEO Peter Mühlmann, stated that their research clearly shows that customers are aware of the manipulations that go on in the era of fake news and institutional distrust. When dealing with companies, posting a King Kong advertising review or whatnot, he notes that customers want to know that their feedback is actually being heard, and is giving others the full perspective of a company; the good, the bad, and the in-between.
Mühlmann states that reviews are important to helping customers navigate the world’s economic landscape, but there transparency is now more needed than ever with regards to reviews.