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Stephanies Ramblings - Your Customer´s Two Cents: Online Customer Reviews and How to Manage

Posted on 15.08.2013 by Stephanie Bogue

I have written and read hundreds of customer reviews and even worked in the business of collecting customer reviews for websites.  And still, I am always fascinated and a bit surprised when I realize that I just bought a book online, or booked a reservation at a restaurant or a hotel for a vacation based on online customer reviews.  I do not know any of these people and I have no idea where this review came from; however, after I read between 5-10 medium to very happy customer reviews and see an overall 4-5 star rating for the business, I usually feel pretty comfy clicking the checkout button. 

When I was working in the customer review business, someone explained it to me like this.  Imagine you are standing outside of two stores, one is advertising how great they are themselves and the other one has a bunch of people outside talking and chattering about how great it is.  Basically, is it more credible to broadcast how good your business is yourself or is it better to let your customers do it for you?  I always thought that was a great way of explaining what customer reviews do for your website.  Word of mouth has withstood the test of time as the best way to attract customers. I think it is safe to say that online word of mouth has been translated into customer reviews. So, if you do not collect customer feedback, now is a great time to start.

A few options on how to collect customer feedback

Manage feedback internally:

Testimonials:  In my eyes, customer testimonials are an old fashioned, small business way to communicate customer experiences.  Although a bit outdated, I believe these contribute to the positive image of an online business.  A good experience from a number of your customers that is posted on your website will build trust among new browsers.  My biggest word of advice here is to keep it fresh.  So often, I see testimonials posted from 2 or 3 years ago.  So, it appears you asked for feedback once, and that was it. 

Customer feedback system:  With the right planning and tools, you can also manage your own customer feedback system.  It is important to think about how you will collect the feedback and what will work for your business.  Make it easy!  Customers do not want to receive a four page review link or take more than a minute or two to share their experience.  Keep it simple when it comes to how to leave a review.  Remember, most of the time, only people that have had a negative experience will want to speak up.  Make it easy for those that have had a positive experience to leave reviews as well.  Think about how you will deal with negative reviews.  Is it better to display them and comment below on the action taken to remedy the situation or will you go another route?  And last, broadcast your feedback across all channels possible.  Keep in mind, undertaking the task of managing your own feedback system will require some manpower on your end. 

Using an Independent third party to collect reviews: 

This is a great way to go if you have the budget for it.   A small investment here can have significant ROI.  Depending on the size of your business and what your needs are, these companies determine a cost per review or a monthly fee.  There are a lot of options out there so be sure you find the company that suits your needs best.  If you have a Google Adwords campaign, look for a customer feedback service that can integrate the reviews into your Adwords for the seller ratings and yellow stars.  Essentially, this option is best if you are working on search metrics such as SEO, SEM, and collecting a larger number of reviews.  Almost all have social media integration. 

In the end, no matter how you choose to do it, it is vital for your online business to collect feedback from your customers.  The advantage is that you are more in control and aware of what is being said about your business.  Consumers are aware that no business is completely perfect.  A perfect 5 out of 5 rating can be suspicious and a few negative reviews are forgivable, especially if it is obvious you took steps to resolve the problem.  Collecting customer reviews is a great way to make this all visible to your clients, and believe me, they want to see it!

Christin SchmidtPermalinkKommentare 0
Tags: stephanie bogue, stephanies ramblings; online customer reviews
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