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Customer Reviews

The Importance of Customer Reviews Throughout the Customer Journey

The customer journey is a series of key stages. It starts with the emergence of a need and ends with loyalty (or not) to a brand. Throughout this journey, one factor impacts each of these stages: customer reviews. 

Whether stars, scores out of 5, or comments, customer reviews are key elements of reassurance, credibility and conversion. This article will look at how to deploy them at each stage of the customer journey. Ready to find out more? 


1. Customer Reviews and the Awareness Stage

Every customer journey starts with the emergence of a need. To buy a new couch from a store, find the best restaurant, order office supplies, etc. Whatever their need, the first step for any prospective customer is research 

Most people’s first instinct is to search the Internet. Which is why at this stage, Google is the customer’s best friend: they can type requests or key words, like “cheap velvet couch”, “Italian restaurant in Marseille”, or “fast delivery printer”. They don’t always have a specific brand, restaurant or shop in mind. But whatever their query, the search engine always suggests lots of different options 

This is where customer reviews come into play. Customer reviews are Rich Content in the Google search results (SERP), and help direct users’ search for information. They provide valuable information for the rest of the customer journey: positive or negative reviews, comments, number of stars, etc. All these criteria are key to forming an opinion. 

And users don’t take this phase lightly: according to BrightLocal, 93% of consumers spend, on average, more than a minute reading online reviews.


2. Customer Reviews and the Consideration Phase

As the customer’s search for information progresses, the second stage is consideration, or comparison. The consumer considers different stores, products or restaurants, and assess the various offerings before making a final decision. 

Once again, customer reviews are key. Prospective buyers need to feel reassured and confident before they build a customer relationship. Which is why they turn to their peers to compare different experiences. During this stage, they read, analyze and compare different types of reviews: brand, product or location reviews, depending on the kind of experience they’re looking for. 

According to BrightLocal, several criteria come into play when comparing customer reviews, in the following order: the score (84%), then the authenticity and reliability of the review (81%), the recency of the review (80%), the content itself (79%) and finally, the company’s response (78%). 

Companies should optimize each of these points to increase their chances of being chosen during the comparison stage. By collecting, managing and publishing reviews via a trusted third-party like Verified Reviews, companies can benefit from the Verified Reviews certification page. 

This page includes all the important criteria for users: ratings, comments, review dates, proof of reliability, company responses, etc. During this phase, a certification page gives you a competitive edge to stand out from the rest and reassure prospective customers.


3. Customer Reviews and the Decision Phase  

There is no doubt that customer reviews influence purchasing decisions. We recommend leveraging this feedback in different ways. As the customer journey becomes more and more omnichannel, so should the deployment of your reviews! 

For example, customer reviews are effective when they are part of a digital communication strategy, and deployed on a website’s homepage, product pages, social media, in a newsletter, etc. 


But reviews also belong on offline channels, to reach customers making an in-store purchase: flyers, POS, posters, etc. Anything goes if it improves satisfaction and encourages customers to buy! 


But reviews also belong on offline channels, to reach customers making an in-store purchase: flyers, POS, posters, etc. Anything goes if it improves satisfaction and encourages customers to buy! 


 4. Customer Review and the Loyalty Phase

The customer journey doesn’t end with a purchase: the customer then consumes or uses the product or experiences the service in real time. This experience is the moment of truth that can lead to satisfaction or, on the contrary, regret. 

Once again, customer reviews are particularly useful at this stage. With a solution like Verified Reviews, you can prompt consumers for feedback after their experience, and collect and analyze their satisfaction. The aim here is to build loyalty. 

With personalized satisfaction surveys, companies can collect their customers’ reasons for delight or friction points, in a precise and transparent manner. During this phase, customer reviews can also be used to identify high-value buyers, i.e., the most satisfied, engaged and profitable customers. And what better way to segment your customers than with feedback.  

Based on this segmentation and the most positive reviews, you can then implement loyalty action plans. Firstly, don’t hesitate to respond publicly to all the reviews you get, whether positive or negative. This will show your customers that you care about them and their opinions. This can encourage customers who are satisfied with their experience or your personalized response to buy again or give you a second chance. 


Finally, we recommend deploying specific loyalty building actions for customers identified as satisfied, engaged and profitable: a gift to collect in-store, an online offer, a VIP invitation to an event, etc. The analysis of satisfied consumer reviews and verbatims can even help you identify their preferences and habits! So, deploy this approach and aim for 5 stars.  

Reviews play an important role throughout the customer journey. Their content is a goldmine to build customer loyalty and acquire new customers. 

Would you like to find out how to deploy customer reviews at every stage of your digital, physical or omnichannel customer journey? Wait no more: 

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