by ITInnovation

Reputations Can Be Earned Via B2B Reviews

from the honesty-is-the-best-policy dept

While consumer reviews for all kinds of products are ubiquitous in online forums, the same is not quite true for business-to-business (B2B) reviews. And for the most part, the use of B2B reviews to evaluate products sold to other businesses hasn't become as incredibly widespread. Sure, there are a whole host of 3rd-party firms that will rank and rate products and services at the enterprise level. (eg. Gartner, Forrester, etc.) But those services aggregate multiple opinions in ways that can water down the actual experiences of customers. Some scathing reviews are averaged into the results of a survey, and other glowing endorsements are buried in the numbers on a graph. In many whitepapers, the customer case studies are usually solicited and screened, so while they are reassuring, they lack the more complete transparency of, say, feedback on an eBay seller.

Fortunately, the trend of B2B reviews is growing and being adopted by well-known firms that have figured out that verifiable customer reviews are an important marketing tool. The consumer market teaches retailers that the presence of a few negative reviews actually benefits the overall perception of an online seller. From a few studies, the reputation of a service provider that has dealt with complaints admirably is often better than a competitor that tries to hide complaints or negative reviews. Customers seem to understand that everyone makes mistakes, and that the true test of reliability is how those mistakes are handled. If there's no data on how a company deals with complaints, experienced customers recognize that as a red flag.

Obviously, though, an overwhelming flood of bad experiences is never a good thing. But if that feedback is easily gathered and addressed, then at least there can be a benefit for both customers and their suppliers. Open communication lines can help resolve and improve products more quickly. And providing a venue for customer reviews is a significant first step.

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