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The Ultimate Guide to Customer Ratings and Reviews

In the age of digital commerce and online interactions, customer reviews and star ratings have become pivotal in shaping businesses’ reputations and success. They serve not only as a compass for potential customers but also as a valuable feedback loop for companies aiming to improve their products, services, and customer experiences.

This comprehensive guide delves into the nuances of customer ratings and reviews, and the strategic importance of managing them effectively.

Customer Ratings and Reviews Defined

What Are Customer Ratings?

Customer ratings are numerical or star-based evaluations provided by customers, reflecting their satisfaction level with a product or service. These ratings offer a quick snapshot of the overall customer sentiment.

A picture showing how a star rating question looks like.

What Are Customer Reviews?

In contrast, customer reviews are detailed written feedback or verbatims from customers about their experiences. Reviews often accompany ratings, providing context and specific insights into what customers liked or disliked.

What’s a User Rating?

User ratings specifically reflect the users’ experiences and satisfaction levels. As a subset of customer ratings, user ratings offer a direct insight into the functionality, usability, and overall quality of a product or service from the perspective of actual users.

Review vs Rating: What’s the difference?

The main difference between rating and review lies in the depth of information. 

A rating gives a quick, quantitative measure of satisfaction, while a review offers qualitative, detailed feedback

Both elements are crucial in influencing potential customers’ perceptions and buying decisions.

Why Are Customer Ratings & Reviews Important?

Together, customer rating and reviews create a great source of information, enabling businesses to understand consumer needs, preferences, and pain points. The feedback can be either open loop, where ratings and reviews are collected and acknowledged, or closed loop, where actionable steps are taken to address the feedback.

The picture shows how the closed-loop feedback system by Staffino works in practice.

Customer reviews can make or break a business. Positive customer reviews and high star ratings enhance a business’s credibility, attracting more customers by instilling trust in the quality of the products or services offered. In contrast, negative customer reviews can discourage many from using a brand’s products and services.

How to Close the Feedback Loop?

As mentioned above, collecting customer ratings and reviews is only a part of the process if you want to see real improvements in your customer experience. The feedback loop meaning refers to the process of collecting, analysing, and acting on customer feedback. A closed loop feedback system is particularly valuable as it demonstrates a company’s commitment to listening to its customers and continuously improving.

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Here’s a simplified, yet effective three-step guide to closing the loop:

Step 1: Collect and Analyze Customer Reviews and Ratings

Start by collecting feedback across all customer touchpoints. This includes CX surveys, social media, customer service interactions, online reviews, and star ratings such as those from Google. A tool like Staffino can streamline this process by aggregating feedback from various sources for easier analysis. Staffino can also help by using AI and machine learning to highlight trends and sentiments in customer reviews, making it easier to understand customer needs and expectations.

A screen showing a CSAT survey question about the pharmacist approach during the customer visit.

Step 2: Act on the Feedback

Respond promptly and personally to reviews that identify specific customer issues. 

A direct response from the company can turn a negative experience into a positive one by showing the customer that their feedback is valued. This is the “closed loop” in action on an individual level, ensuring that no customer feedback falls through the cracks.

Develop a plan to make systemic improvements for broader issues that affect many customers. This might involve product updates, changes in service protocols, or employee training programs. It’s crucial that these changes are not only made but also communicated back to the customers to demonstrate that their feedback has led to real improvements.

The picture shows a negative customer feedback and a manager's prompt response to this feedback.

Step 3: Follow Up and Measure the Impact

After addressing the feedback, reach out to the customers who raised the concerns, informing them about the steps taken to resolve the issue. This not only validates their effort in providing feedback but also reinforces their value to your business.

Finally, measure the impact of the changes made as a result of customer reviews and ratings. This could involve tracking customer satisfaction scores (CSAT), repeat business rates, or other relevant customer experience management metrics. Sharing these successes with customers and employees alike can foster a culture of continuous improvement and customer-centricity.

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The Role of Negative Customer Reviews & How to Handle Them

Negative reviews, while often feared, provide an opportunity for businesses to showcase their customer service by addressing complaints and resolving issues, thus closing the feedback loop. Negative feedback is inevitable, but the way a business responds can turn a dissatisfied customer into a loyal advocate. Here’s how to close the loop effectively:

1. Acknowledge and Apologise

Start by acknowledging the customer’s issue and offering an apology. This shows that you take their complaint seriously and are committed to making things right.

2. Provide a Thoughtful Response

Craft a personalised email or response letter to a complaint that addresses the specific concerns raised by the customer. Avoid generic responses, as they can make customers feel undervalued.

Chalk drawing that shows a few sent envelopes

Feel free to choose from our library of responding to complaints examples

3. Offer a Solution

Whenever possible, offer a solution or compensation for the customer’s trouble in response to complaint letter. This could be a refund, a discount on future purchases, or a promise to fix the issue promptly.

4. Take Action and Follow Up

After sending your reply to a complaint letter or an online complaint, take immediate action to resolve the issue. Following up with the customer to ensure their satisfaction is crucial in closing the loop.

5. Learn and Improve

Use the feedback to improve your products or services. This proactive approach demonstrates a commitment to excellence and customer satisfaction.

“Remember, every review—positive or negative—is an opportunity to demonstrate your commitment to customer satisfaction and excellence.”


Ján Gabauer

Expert CX Consultant

Improve Your Customer Reviews & Ratings Today!

Are you struggling with negative customer reviews and low star ratings? Or perhaps you’re looking to start collecting them more efficiently? 

Staffino’s customer surveys offer the tools you need to collect open customer reviews and ratings related to key CX metrics. With Staffino, businesses worldwide easily manage the feedback loop, from collecting and analysing customer feedback to closing the loop through targeted actions. Reach out to us and let’s build strong customer relationships together!

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