Today, 92% of consumers read online reviews, both customer and expert, before making a purchase decision.
Another study even showed that potential customers will trust an online review as much as a recommendation from a family member or a friend.
But between expert and customer reviews, which are more important?
If you were to ask an average internet user, the answer would be customer reviews. This conclusion was arrived at after a study showed that people do not value expert reviews as much as reviews from regular users.
At the end of the day, people value the opinion of those who are likely to have similar experiences and perceptions about the products they are buying. This does not typically happen with expert reviews. However, a normal user tends to have an opinion that will better represent what the user will feel about a product or service after paying for it.
Besides, some of these so called expert reviews are essentially endorsements of certain products and brands based on some consideration or business affiliation. It is fairly well understood that some experts get some payback for reviewing certain products.
That means they might feel inclined to make their reviews more favorable to products from companies that are willing to do them a favor or so to get a good review. Other “experts” review products they are also selling themselves.
Nothing of the sort happens with most regular customers. These just buy the product or pay for a service and express their honest opinion about it without any brand affiliations that might bias their opinions.
But that does not mean that expert reviews do not have a place in this world. A lot of customers will trust unbiased expert reviews, especially when they are interested to learn more about something and how it works.
There was a time when expert reviews were a lot more popular; and they still are. But customer reviews are slowly growing in significance. That is why today research is confirming that customers hold customer reviews in higher regard than expert reviews.
But there are also researchers indicating that there are scenarios where an expert review might hold more sway than a customer review. For instance, in the case of expensive products.
However, when the products were less expensive, or better understood by their customers, customer reviews were considered just as good, if not better.
But at the end of the day, the credibility of the review is what matters the most to the customer.
Can the review be trusted or not? That is the most important question.
Expert reviews have become increasingly biased, and customer reviews tend to offer fair information to customers who want an honest opinion before making a purchase. But in the case of pricier products, expert reviews are still very important to customers.