The Antidote to Negative Online Reviews

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Don’t worry too much about negative online reviews—just offer customers a positive experience.
According to John Fuller of Decision Sciences, quoted in the April issue of Fast Company magazine, survey data shows that anything an Internet shopper reads about a site can quickly be trumped by personal experience.
I haven’t seen the actual study but based on the way people make value judgments, I would agree with the premise. Personal experiences out weighs the opinions of others.
But I have two quibbles. The Fast Company piece suggests the vendor use a promotional strategy to get the customer to their web site. If by a promotional strategy they mean a discount or incentive, them I think they are doomed to fail. Why? Well, attracting customers to a deal is not the same as attracting them to an emotionally compelling experience. Deals trigger a mindset that is about transactional value not experiential value.
The other quibble concerns the retroactive tone to the strategy. One of the benefits of emotionally compelling customer experiences is a form of indemnification. Simply put, customer who have had positive experience with a company increasingly forgive snafus. The proactive strategy should be to foster experiences customer emotionally engaging. Why engaged customers are more profitable and more loyal.

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