9 Common Reviewer Personas and How to Respond to Them

Written by: Rochelle Burnside | Best Company Editorial Team

Last Updated: Sep 15, 2020

Reviewer personas
To understand your ideal customer, your team creates user personas. These personas detail the demographics, motivations, and frustrations that characterize your ideal customer based on data you collect. 

With this information, you can create a customer-centric business model.

But what happens when your customers become reviewers? Some hate your product, some love it. Some don’t seem to be the ideal customer you’re trying to convert.

With over 250,000 reviews on Best Company, we’ve identified the nine most common reviewer personas across all industries. These reviewers are not the same as your user personas; you determine the ideal customer for your business. Reviewer personas are archetypes of reviewers based on the star ratings they typically leave.

Whether you have an Angry Andy or Abby Almost on your hands, these reviewer personas will help you tailor your responses to your customers' needs.

One and two stars

Wordy Will

Wordy Will

One Will is an anomaly — several are a pattern. 

Wordy Will is stereotyped as irrational (think caps for emphasis and excessive punctuation), but his tales are often page-turners detailing pain points throughout his customer journey. 

If you’re receiving a slew of Wordy Will reviews, you’ll need to regroup. Something is seriously wrong.

How to respond

How can you make it up to a Wordy Will? You usually can’t. Wordy Will’s relationship with your company has been irreparably damaged. 

Perhaps that’s on him — maybe he hasn’t adjusted to a changing market or had unrealistic expectations. If you conclude this is the case, be polite and don’t take it to heart. Respond with your customer service information and allow him to continue the dialogue there. Note how you captured this lead and why you attracted someone that was not your ideal customer.

But a disproportionate amount of Wills indicates that the burden is on you. And maybe Will can help you.

It’s going to hurt, but in this case you could reach out to Wordy Will privately for his feedback. He might want to speak to upper management about his experience.

To save face on a review platform, also send a public response noting that you apologize for his experience and you’ve reached out privately to resolve the issue.

Will may change his mind about your business — but it’s not likely. However, you can use his story to grow.

Fiona Fiction

Fiona Fiction

Fiona Fictions aren’t fiction — some companies recount experiences with competitors paying reviewers to drag them down, or an angry customer creating several sock puppet accounts to lower a score.

Most bad reviews aren’t patently false. But Fiona Fiction is the rare reviewer that proves the exception.

How to respond

Respond to Fiona Fiction to confirm her customer identity. Does she have an order or transaction number? Does she remember who she spoke to?

If you believe you’re dealing with a Fiona Fiction, most review sites have an option to dispute a review. You’ll need evidence that she’s a Fiona Fiction (such as her references to items you don’t sell), but with your proof, a moderator can take the review down.

Angry Andy

Angry Andy

Angry Andy is a one-star reviewer with genuine complaints, but he’s a man of few words.

It will take some digging to uncover his insights and, with determination, resolve his issues.

How to respond

Ask Angry Andy how you can make his experience better. A public discussion might result in a longer rant, so reach out privately to get his feedback. 

Jot a quick public response apologizing for his experience and detailing your customer service contact information. Review readers can note that you're working to solve the issue, and your private outreach will be a better medium for discovering where things went wrong.

Angry Andy may not be your ideal user. If you determine this from his feedback, it's important to also discover what led him to convert so you can filter out customers who aren't right for your product.

Three stars

Neutral Nick

Neutral Nick

So what’s the big deal with Neutral Nick? It’s not like he always makes you look good.

But Neutral Nick is willing to open a dialogue. His feedback is rich, detailing where you can improve or describing your strengths. And if you want to make things right with a Neutral Nick, you can. You may even be able to request a rescore of his review once you’ve addressed his concerns.

Nicks isn’t only a three-star rater; he can review the whole star range. But regardless of where his review lands, Nick is refreshingly unbiased.

How to respond

Pick Nick’s brain. 

Respond publicly thanking him for the detailed review. Let him know you’ve delivered his feedback to your team. Then, actually deliver that feedback. You should have a channel for recording insightful reviews to note commonalities.

If you’d like Nick to give you even more details, invite him to take a survey of his experience. His response is sure to be helpful.

Lastly, if his original review suggested changes to your service, make those updates and reach out again. Neutral Nick is the type to edit his review once you’ve improved.

Four stars

Abby Almost

Abby Almost

Congratulations! You have an easy fix on your hands.

Well, not all Abby Almosts have quick fixes. Some cite generals concerns for their complaint: a faulty app, a long wait time, or another concern that will take months to improve.

But Abby will like to know that you’re working it out.

How to respond

If Abby’s concern is simple to solve, make the fix. Reach out privately and let Abby know what you’ve done to resolve the situation. Sometimes, the solution will involve working through her personal complaint.

Once you’ve made your improvements, ask Abby Almost for a rescore. She may lift her score to a five.

Perfection Paul

Perfection Paul

Not all four-star reviewers are an Abby Almost. 

Perfection Paul rates four stars because he believes five means perfection. Most businesses don’t see it that way: they think five is good, and anything lower is abysmal. 

That’s difficult to reconcile. Customers don’t realize that their rating can drag down a company’s average even if they have no complaints.

And most review sites offer guidelines mandating that review scores must match the contents of the review itself. However, Perfection Paul genuinely believes that a great experience with no complaints deserves four stars.

How to respond

As with a Wordy Will, there might be nothing you can do to improve Perfection Paul’s rating. The difference is one of ideals.

Regardless, publicly thank Perfection Paul for his review. Ask if anything was lacking in his experience to merit the loss of one star. Maybe your Perfection Paul is an Abby Almost after all.

Five stars

Peter Positive

Peter Positive

Peter Positive is good at heart. He boosted your score, after all. 

But review sites that allow Peter Positive create spammy and unhelpful reviews. Readers want to know about Peter’s experience, and businesses should care about more than their score — positive feedback is also important.

Peter Positives can sometimes come from incentivization campaigns, offering customers coupons or gift cards in exchange for a review. That’s part of why many review sites ban incentivization.

How to respond

Ask Peter Positive why.

Respond publicly thanking him for his review, then say you’d love to learn more. Reach out with your contact information. 

Chloe Credit

Chloe Credit

Chloe Credit makes your brand look good, and she affirms your team’s hard work.

You can cultivate Chloe Credits by offering a personalized, one-to-one experience. Chloe Credits are common reviewers for the service industry.

But not every name-dropper is a Chloe Credit. Some reviewers specifically call out an employee they didn’t like. Though rarer, a customer complaint about a specific employee is something you’ll need to address privately.

How to respond

Publicly respond and thank Chloe for her review. If you can find the employee she’s referencing, show them her feedback and let Chloe know they’ve been apprised.

If you need more details to acknowledge the employee, reach out privately for a response from Chloe.

Happy Harper

Happy Harper

Finally, an uncomplicated positive review that you’ve rightfully earned.

You’ve obtained a loyal customer.

But your work is never over.

How to respond

Thank your reviewer for their positive review, then include a call to action (CTA).

A good CTA might include reminding Harper about your referral program, or inviting her to also share her experience on social media.

If the review platform allows, you can also ask Happy Harper to follow you on social media.

Ready to respond to your reviews?

Despite some common characteristics, each reviewer's situation is unique. You will have reviewers who don't neatly fall in line with these personas, but now you know some of the best practices for responding to reviews. 

Commit to responding to your reviews and uncovering insights about your customer journey. By improving your product through the customer feedback loop, you could transform all your Angry Andys into Happy Harpers.

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