Word of mouth is recognized as a powerful force in persuasion. e-WOM in relatively new (not that new also). I now buy computers and books only after checking reviews. With that thought, I start asking questions to myself that why do I trust reviews? Do I trust negative reviews more than positive comments? In which cases reviews are more effective?
We have found that strong ties bear greater influence on the receiver’s opinions and behavior than weaker ties. That really ties to authenticity of the review. Whether customer trusts a review or not depends on the motivation and genuineness of the review. If consumer attributes the reviewer’s opinions to product related motivations then he trusts the reviews less. However, if consumer attributes reviews to self-serving or other non-product related reasons then he trusts the reviews. Understanding this attribution is important because it can affect the subsequent attitudes and behaviors of the consumer more effectively. Additionally, the trust of customer on online reviews with time depends on the following four factors:
- Satisfaction with past online purchasing outcomes (Positive impact)
- Perceived disparity with offline experiences (negative impact)
- Perceived disparity with WOM from social network (negative impact)
- Perceived disparity with WOM from online reviews (negative impact)
Research on word of mouth (WOM) effects provides plenty of evidence that a satisfied customer may tell some people about his experience with a company, but a dissatisfied one will tell everybody he meets. The same applies to e-WOM as well. Additionally, the customers see reviewer’s negative opinions as external opinion (more authentic) and therefore find negative reviews more useful than positive reviews on average. Moreover, reviews do not help equally in pre-purchase, purchase and post-purchase scenarios. Research shows that customer uses reviews more when he has to decide between 2-3 products.