What was the last major purchase you made—a car? A fridge? A mattress? If you’re like most consumers, you probably consulted online reviews before deciding what to buy. No surprise there: If you’re going to invest in something so expensive (the average queen mattress costs around $1,000), it makes sense to know about others’ real-world experience of the product. We tend to trust people—even people we don’t know—more than ads. In fact, research shows that 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
Why reviews matter to customers
We can’t poll our friends on every purchase we make, so user-generated online reviews are the next best thing. After all, even if a company claims to have our best interests at heart, we know that it still wants to make a profit. Fellow consumers, on the other hand, have nothing to gain from recommending products.
Customer reviews are all about authenticity, says Marty Ehrlich, Saatva’s vice president of customer experience. “Ads can educate, they can entertain, but what consumers really want to know is the experiences other people just like them have had with a company or product.”
Reviewers can share information about a product or service, but they can also tell us what it was like to interact with a company and its representatives. And just like real-life first impressions, reviews can influence our opinions very quickly. According to research by BrightLocal, consumers decide whether to trust a business after reading an average of only seven reviews. Reviews let us know whether a company is courteous and respectful when dealing with customers, or dismissive and inconsiderate. One thing is clear: Even a great product can be ruined by poor customer service—especially since people are more likely to share bad experiences than good ones.
Why reviews matter to businesses
Every good company knows that reviews matter. It’s why experts at business publications like Inc. and Forbes advise corporate leaders to solicit reviews and read them all—especially the negative ones. (It’s also why some companies try so hard to game the system with fake reviews.) If you want a true indication of your product’s success, there’s nothing better than honest feedback from your customers. If they’re unhappy, they will most certainly let you know. And if they’re really unhappy, they’ll let everybody know.
That’s why responding to bad reviews is so important, and why the customer experience team at Saatva is so careful to read and reply to each one. “We’re always interested in the final review,” says Ehrlich, meaning that if someone has a bad experience, “we reach out to that customer—we want to make it right by them.” Even if he can’t fix every issue, he says, the important thing is that the customer feels heard, and that their lasting impression of the company is positive.
That level of attention is more the exception than the norm. “Most people are surprised that we actually took the time to read their review,” Ehrlich points out. But he wouldn’t have it any other way. Even if Saatva gets “two hundred positive reviews and one negative,” he says, his team will still make it a priority to understand—and resolve—that one negative issue.
See why customers love these Saatva mattresses
Why reviews matter to mattress buyers
As clinical sleep educator and registered nurse Terry Cralle notes in “What Type of Mattress is Best?” there is no one “perfect” mattress. Comfort is subjective, she points out, and the mattress someone else loves may be the one you hate. Reading a wide range of reviews can give you a comprehensive idea of how a mattress performs for sleepers of all types.
Customer reviews are also valuable for understanding how a mattress performs over time. Professional mattress affiliates and reviewers can offer an educated assessment, but they usually review mattresses for only a short period. Where affiliates do best is comparing one mattress to another, since they review so many brands, but only customer reviews can provide long-term perspectives. With this in mind, review sites like Sleep Like the Dead, GoodBed, and Tuck are especially helpful, since they aggregate customer reviews for each mattress brand in addition to providing reviews of their own.
Saatva gets lots of positive reviews from affiliates and critics, but our proudest achievement is receiving more than 25,000 five-star reviews from customers. And with Marty Ehrlich and his team on the case, that number will only keep growing.