Set the Standard – ISO 20488 – Online consumer reviews

Consumer reviews play an increasingly strong role in purchasing decisions, but with a plethora of platforms and opinions, whose view can you trust? A new standard just published aims to put some order into the process to restore back our faith.

Both a bane and a boon for companies, online reviews are often the first port of call for consumers and the Internet is now awash with Websites dedicated to the evaluation of everything from restaurants to lawyers. And we love them.

A Forbes study showed that 90 % of consumers read online reviews before visiting a business and those reviews impact 67 % of purchasing decisions.

Yet, for as many reliable reviews, there are just as many that are less so, with controversies around fake reviews, customers with an axe to grind, companies modifying or screening notes to weed out bad testimonies, false negative reviews written by competitors and other “dodgy dealings” that erode trust in the whole process.

A new ISO standard just published aims to change all that by detailing requirements for organizations to effectively manage consumer review sites and featuring recommendations that will help increase consumer trust and protect suppliers from exploitation. > Read more

ISO 20488:2018

ISO 20488:2018 provides requirements and recommendations for the principles and methods for review administrators to apply in their collection, moderation and publication of online consumer reviews.

ISO 20488:2018 Principles and requirements for their collection, moderation and publication is applicable to any organization that publishes consumer reviews online, including suppliers of products and services that collect reviews from their own customers, a third party contracted by the supplier, or an independent third party.

Putting the trust back into online reviews

A vast number of consumer transactions and interactions now take place via the internet, and millions of consumers each year read and write online reviews.

Smart suppliers understand that proactively encouraging user reviews, and responding quickly and positively to feedback, can help them to keep customers and win new ones.The rapid growth of consumer review sites, covering a wide range of products (e.g. clothes, electrical appliances, toys, cars) and services (e.g. restaurants, hotels, builders, plumbers, electricians, lawyers), has the potential to empower consumers and drive industry improvements, by creating a more dynamic way to exchange information.

Not only are suppliers asking for consumer reviews, consumers are talking back, and talking to each other.

Review sites can benefit consumers, making it easier to research products and services, and identify those that best suit their needs in terms of function, price, quality and value for money. They allow consumers to share information about their experiences, and to seek feedback and opinions from thousands of other users. Online reviews can also be a valuable resource for suppliers, helping them to meet the needs and expectations of their customers.

Read more
> ISO 20488:2018 https://www.iso.org/obp/ui#iso:std:iso:20488:ed-1:v1:en
> ISO 20488:2018 Online consumer reviews - Principles and requirements for their collection, moderation and publication https://www.iso.org/standard/68193.html
> Putting the trust back into online reviews https://www.iso.org/news/ref2295.html
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