For as long as I have been working with companies to help them improve their social media efforts, I have heard them explain how worried they are about what their customers are saying online. “How do we make it go away?” or “How do we get this off the 1st page of Google results?” are questions I have heard all too often.
One area where this really comes into play is the issue of adding product reviews to your e-commerce site. Many companies do NOT want to do this, because they fear that letting customers post reviews on their site will hurt sales.
I was discussing this on Twitter last week, and Ian at Bazaarvoice started chatting with me. If you haven’t heard of them, Bazaarvoice works with companies to add functionality to their e-commerce sites, including Ratings and Reviews. Ian sent me a ton of useful information and data about companies that using ratings and reviews on their sites, and I wanted to share some of the key points with you.
First, Bazaarvoice has found that 80% of the people that review products with its US clients give those products a 4 or 5 star rating (out of 5 stars). For its clients in the UK, that figure jumps up to 88%.
Second, there’s the case study of how QuickBooks added the functionality of reviews to its Pro Advisors (Quick Book experts that help customers use the software). Quick Books found that Pro Advisors with reviews had their profiles clicked on 555% more than those with no reviews. Quick Book also found that volume trumped rating, as some Pro Advisors with more reviews got more clicks than Pro Advisors with higher overall ratings, but far fewer reviews.
Another key advantage to reviews that Ian shared with me is that reviews are great sources of customer feedback. If you see that several customers are complaining about a particular aspect of your product and/or service, then obviously that’s alerting you to a pain point for your customers that you need to address.
One final tip from Ian: product reviews lower the number of returns (and the associated restocking fees/costs) cause customers have a better idea of exactly what they are getting before they order it. Makes complete sense, eh?
But at the end of the day, the key lesson here is to be proactive in monitoring online mentions (even if its reviews on your site), and responding to them when appropriate. We talked recently about examples of ‘social media backlashes‘ that brands have endured. In each instance, the problem grew over time, due to the company not monitoring the situation. The company not responding in a timely fashion was the main culprit behind the problem for them.
Most customers that complain online do NOT want to ‘hurt’ your company. They just want you to listen to them, and help them with their problem. If you’ll do that, you’ll often flip a detractor into an evangelist. Hopefully these stats will help debunk the myth that any negative mention/review online hurts your company. In reality, it’s often an opportunity.