As a retailer, it’s frustrating to receive a one-star rating for your product. It’s even more frustrating if the customer didn’t take the time to elaborate on why they were unhappy with the product. Without details about what the customer disliked, how can you hope to use that feedback to improve?
And with those negative ratings dragging down your average rating, you may even wonder if Amazon should prohibit negative ratings without a written review.

A Digital “Happy or Not” Button

In some ways, online ratings without written reviews are the e-commerce equivalent of the “Happy or Not” stands that you’ve probably seen in airports. These stands offer buttons with a smiley face, a frowny face, and a few expressions in between to allow people to give instant feedback.

However, the caveat is that you don’t know why unhappy visitors were dissatisfied. Was it because the airport was crowded, or dirty, or lacked something they needed? Or were they simply having a bad day? Would you get more negative feedback on Monday mornings, for example?

Some analysts have criticized these stands for providing useless data that doesn’t explain why customers are unhappy. But is there another way to look at it?

Is It Better to Have Incomplete Data or No Data at All?

Even limited data, like a frowny face button or a one-star rating with no review, can be helpful if you know what to look for. It’s an excellent way of capturing feedback from customers who don’t want to take the time to provide more elaborate feedback.

Looking at overall feedback trends, such as the number of one-star reviews, gives you valuable information about where to use your resources for improvement. Negative ratings without written reviews can amplify negative reviews, letting you know that a larger number of people may share this opinion. You can also use surveys or focus groups to delve deeper into what you can improve about your product.

While negative ratings without reviews are an incomplete form of data, they’re still vastly better than no data for e-commerce analysts. Before you can improve your product, you have to identify whether customers are dissatisfied, and negative ratings do exactly that.  Do you agree?

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