Computer screen showing 'online reviews' with five star rating.

Quantitative vs qualitative reviews, why is it important to know the difference?

Reviews have become a necessity rather than an option. Indeed, today over 90% of shoppers rely on reviews to get an insight into the company they are interested in purchasing from. They will look at the number of reviews a business has acquired, the overall star rating and the content within. Reading customer feedback has become a pivotal part of the buying process, so much so that consumers trust these reviews as much as personal recommendations.

However, not all reviews are the same. The two main types are quantitative and qualitative. Knowing the difference between the two and understanding which one is more beneficial will help you get one step closer to achieving your business goals. Both of these types can be really useful to your company, but it’s important to learn what you can gain from each one and which type, in particular, will help you solidify your online reputation, grow and improve your business and gain new customers.

Quantitative Reviews 

Quantitative reviews refer to the most basic customer feedback. This will include a star rating and a few words (maximum a sentence) that explains their purchasing experience. This could be something like ‘love my new shoes’, ‘great product’, ‘clear, fun and easy to use’ or ‘fast shipping and well packaged’. As you may imagine, the main goal for quantitative reviews is not the detail within the feedback but the number of reviews you get.

Even if numbers are not the most crucial factor, they are important. Having a high number of reviews shows potential customers that many shoppers have purchased from you, making your products or services popular and well-received.

Also, it helps average your score. Let’s say you only have five reviews: three of them are 5 stars, one of them is a 4 star and the other one is a 1 star from an unhappy customer. Your overall rating would be 4, which is not bad but not great.

In fact, based on an article published by Northwestern, shoppers are most influenced by customer reviews that have an average rating of 4.2 to 4.5 stars out of 5.  

However, what happens when you have over a hundred reviews? It balances out. Maybe whilst collecting reviews, you have received some negative feedback, but since most of them (over 90%) are positive, you will have a high score nonetheless.

For instance, Shaving Time has collected 119 reviews. They have received four 1 star reviews and 1 two-star review, but the rest are positive. Indeed, five of them are 4 stars, and the rest (109 reviews) are 5 stars. This leaves them with an overall scoring of 4.8, which is a really impressive star rating.

Shaving Time profile page showing their star rating breakdown.

Also, the more regularly you receive reviews, the better. Consumers will only read the most recent reviews, as these will be the ones that will give them a better understanding of the company. Shoppers are aware that businesses can improve or sometimes, worsen, their offering with time, so they want to make sure to learn more about them before they make a purchase. Therefore, having constant fresh content is of vital importance when wanting to increase the number of sales.

What Are the Disadvantages of Quantitative Reviews? 

Even if you’re happy with a customer writing a quantitative review and awarding you a 4 or 5-star rating, it will not be useful to a potential customer.

As we’ve seen, quantitative reviews come with a few benefits, but it also has its drawbacks. One of the main flaws of this type of feedback is that consumers and businesses don’t get much out of it. What we mean by this is that it’s not very helpful. Indeed, neither party can get a real understanding of the experience the past customer had when purchasing something from that company. Thus, making it mostly purposeless.

Qualitative Reviews

As you may imagine, qualitative reviews are quite different from quantitative feedback.

We consider a review to be qualitative when the feedback is detailed and more than just a few sentences. This can just be solely text-based, or can also include media such as images, videos and even voice recordings.

From a potential customer’s perspective, the goal of reviews is to help them get an insight into the company they are interested in. The star rating does partly help achieve that. However, it’s the content that makes the feedback valuable.

Through the content of the review, as well as the media attached to it, a shopper can really get an idea of the experience a past customer had, and through that, make an informed purchasing decision. Was the product or service high quality? Was the customer service helpful? How fast was the delivery? Is it a bargain? There are many questions potential customers want to get an answer to before buying something, and they rely on reviews to help them answer these questions. However, if reviews are just a few words, that won’t be helpful to the shopper.

From a business perspective, quantitative reviews and positive star ratings help improve their online reputation, but so does their customer’s voice. By getting detailed reviews, a company can get a real idea of past customer satisfaction and see what they are excelling at. It could be that their customer service has been highly regarded or that a specific product they offer has been loved by their shoppers.

Use Qualitative Reviews to Improve Your Business

Another benefit of qualitative reviews is that it helps get an insight into what needs improvement. For instance, let’s say a few customers have said that your packaging is not the best, or maybe they have been complaining about the slow delivery. Sometimes you can directly improve your offering (e.g. getting higher quality packaging), but other times it can be more difficult. In the case of deliveries, it’s not your fault the delivery was slow, especially when using 3rd party couriers. However, one thing you may do is add a note on your website or email purchase confirmation informing your customers about this potential issue. By adding this information, customers will be aware of this process and won’t write a negative comment in the future.

Qualitative reviews are crucial for your business’s success. Not only because it helps build social proof, but also because if you listen and act upon this feedback, you’ll be able to exceed your customer’s expectations in the future.

Reviews: Text, Images, Videos and Voice Recordings

In truth, the more detailed the review is, the better. Content is one of the most crucial factors when it comes to the quality of a review. From it, you can understand the type of experience a customer had, from beginning to end, and whether you satisfied their needs.

Take for instance this review:

Example of a qualitative customer review.

This is such a great review. It’s very detailed and constantly praises the company and the product purchased. The customer talks about the fast shipping, the quality of the razor and how versatile it is. The reviewer does pose an issue in the review: “it can be a little difficult to shave with wet slippery hands”. However, they later explain that the company does sell a silicone grip in case that is a problem. Seeing a solution to that issue, the reviewer still gave the company a 5-star rating.

As we’ve seen, content is crucial within a review, but so is the media attached to it. Think about it, today whether we are reading a blog post, scrolling through social media or visiting a website, there will always be images or videos that support the content online. This is because, in this day and age, we almost prefer to watch something rather than read it. It’s entertaining, effective and engaging.

The same goes for reviews. People now prefer to have a visual aid to fully understand the content of the feedback. Whether the past customer has added a video of them unboxing a package, an image of their dish at a restaurant or a voice recording showing what type of music there was at a festival they attended. These additions really help paint a picture of what customers have experienced when purchasing a product or service

Case Studies: Jellyfielder Studios & Turquoise Blue Tattoo 

Let’s have a look at some qualitative reviews from a few of our verified customers

Jellyfielder Studios

Jellyfielder Studios offers video production and animation services. At the end of 2021, Jellyfielder Studios subscribed to our top Orbit plan and became a Psydro Verified Business.

This company has collected 8 reviews so far and it’s impressive to see that they are all 5-star reviews, which shows how satisfied all their customers have been with their service. Also, all their feedback is verified, meaning that curious shoppers can trust this content as it was written by past customers.

Looking at both reviews (from the image below), we can see that the quality of the content is very detailed, personal and informative. What’s more, they both attached the videos and graphics Jellyfielder Studios produced for them. This way, a potential customer can really get an idea of what to expect if they decide to rely on their service.

These are two exceptional qualitative reviews that Jellyfielder Studios has collected. If you would like to read their other reviews, please visit their page on Psydro.

Psydro profile page of Jellyfielder Studios showing two multimedia reviews

Turquoise Blue Tattoo

As the name suggests, Turquoise Blue Tattoo is a tattoo studio that opened in 2020 and offers tattoo artwork and laser removals. They have steadily built their positive reputation, and this can also be seen through their page on Psydro. The company has been able to gain over 90 reviews so far, with all of them being 5 stars (only 1 is a three-star rating), getting the highest overall score.

Both these 5-star reviews (as seen below) are verified and explain how professional the team at Turquoise Blue Tattoo is and how comfortable and at ease these customers felt.

One very important aspect these two reviews also highlight is trust. The feedback suggests how much they trust the team and how satisfied they’ve been with their service. Trust is vital for any business; the same goes for tattoo studios. Customers have to rely on the experience and skills of the tattoo artist to get the tattoo to look how they want it. Turquoise Blue Tattoo has definitely achieved this!

Psydro profile page of Turquoise Blue Tattoo showing two qualitative reviews

Also, the second reviewer has attached media to the feedback to further underline their message. It shows two images and a video of all the tattoos the artist (Jenny) has produced for this customer. The reviewer even states: “one of my friends booked in with Jenny as soon as he saw one of my designs!”.

Due to the fantastic work Jenny did, a customer’s friend decided to use their service too. Social proof and user-generated content are crucial when it comes to gaining new customers. Indeed, no marketing strategy beats the power of a customer’s voice.

Are There Any Drawbacks to Qualitative Reviews?

Unfortunately, it’s not enough to have a couple of detailed reviews on your page. In fact, it’s also about numbers. Potential customers want to read the most recent feedback and will check on average between 4 to 10 of them (and sometimes more) before deciding.

Which One Is Better: Quantitative or Qualitative Feedback?

Every customer is different. Maybe they are not comfortable writing long reviews and expressing their purchasing experience. Other times, it could be the opposite.

As we’ve seen, both quantitative and qualitative reviews are vital. However, it’s also true that the latter is much more important than the former. There are more benefits to collecting detailed reviews than having a one sentence feedback. Yet, it’s also true that having a large number of reviews, and collecting them regularly, does affect how potential customers will see your company.

Overall, qualitative reviews will be much more valuable to your business when it comes to gaining new customers and making more sales, but remember to keep collecting them!


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