Maximizing Customer Reviews
Part 2: Online Reviews - Do people actually read them?
The short answer is, yes.
In 2020, 89% of customers indicated that they consult online customer reviews before making a purchase. Of course, there are many situations in which customers do not read reviews – such as pulling over for gas on a highway, buying bananas at the grocery store, or buying the nearest bottle of cold water on a hot day. However, for most products or services, competitors abound and shoppers are comparing prices, quality, and yes – reviews.
Online customer reviews are one of the most compelling factors for customers as they compare companies while shopping. As of June 2020, 57% of US shoppers agree that customer reviews on the Internet are very helpful.
Online reviews have become more credible over the years as review sites have weeded out fake reviewers and put guidelines in place for eligible reviews. For example, on Amazon you have to be verified that you purchased a specific product before you can leave a review. Amazon’s policies indicate that reviews in exchange for monetary reward, negative reviews from a seller of a competitor’s product, reviews by someone with a direct financial interest or close personal relationship with the seller, will all be removed.
With that knowledge, customers are trusting that the reviews are accurate and written by real customers. However, these days most shoppers are willing to gloss over the extreme reviews and can get a sense of the business or product by reading on.
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Armed with the knowledge that customer reviews are generally to be trusted, shoppers also know to take individual reviews with a grain of salt. There are people out there who will never be satisfied with a company or product and will voice their opinion loudly and (often) rudely. You can picture the one-star review riddled with all capitalized spelling and warnings never to trust this product or that company with a dime of your money. Some Internet trolls go so far as to violate terms and conditions of review sites, and reviews can be removed if offensive, derogatory, or dangerous content is used (see Google’s content restrictions).
There are of course varying degrees of how closely people read online customer reviews. Some people look only at the overall star rating and are happy to trust the bulk of reviews in aggregate. Of course, then there are those who aren’t satisfied until they have read a hundred reviews to understand the pros and cons of every aspect of the product or service. On average - consumers read 10 reviews before they feel they can trust a business.
Reviews help customers to set their expectations. Shoppers feel empowered when seeking out and researching information about their future purchases. If they can get a handle on where your product fits into the larger landscape of available options, then they can feel more confident buying from you. “Reviews, along with photos or videos, will help your business tap into the value of user-generated content [a.k.a reviews] and shape your future customers’ expectations positively (GoDaddy).”
If you sell your product or service on third party retail websites, then customer reviews are essential in attracting new customers because customers are not coming to your business through your own curated marketing messages. In these situations, you have very little interaction with the customer to convince them to buy your product. Your reviews must do the talking for you.
Using online customer surveying is key to creating a bevy of reviews. Online customer surveys help you engage verified customers in a timely manner following their experience with your business or purchase of your product. By using online customer surveys, you can automate the process of gathering feedback and online customer reviews. Online customer reviews are a way for you to build trust with your potential customers and keep your current customers coming back for more.
Maximizing Customer Reviews
Part 3: Quantifying the Value of Online Reviews
Can we quantify the value of online reviews to customer loyalty?
There are a few research studies that try to quantify and place a dollar value on the importance of online reviews. According to a study done at Harvard Business School, a one-star rating increase for a non-chain restaurant can result in 5-9% revenue increase. It also found that consumers respond more strongly when a rating contains more information. In short, customers want to verify the star rating themselves by reading reviews of previous customers. The benefits of online reviews include adding substance and clarity to the number rating.
Impact of Reviews on the Hotel Industry
A study done by Cornell University School of Hotel Administration studied the impact of customer reviews on the hotel industry in order to measure the importance of online reviews. They compared hotels before and after implementing a customer review management software.
They found that before launching the customer review software, the hotels were lagging their competitors considerably. Whereas in the post launch window the properties had more than double the number of reviews of their competitors. Prior to launch they had slightly fewer positive reviews (index of 99.9) increasing by 3 percent (to 102.9) post launch.
The Cornell study also found three things:
- Just encouraging reviews led to an overall ratings increase
- Responding to reviews led to increased sales and revenue
- Consumers were appreciative of constructive responses by management to negative reviews
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Measuring Customer Loyalty with NPS
Another way to quantify customer reviews is to measure customer loyalty with Net Promoter Score or NPS. NPS is an industry-standard measurement of customer experiences and predictor of future business performance. The metric is based on how customers answer the following question.
How likely is it that you would recommend [brand or company] to a friend or colleague?
The NPS question is designed to test the emotional connection between your customer and your business (or brand).
NPS is calculated using the below formula and produces a score that is a whole number between -100 to +100, where +100 is the best score.
NPS = [ (Promoters - Detractors) / Total NPS Respondents ] x 100
A NPS that is greater than 0 is considered okay. Any score below 0 means you've got work to do to improve customer satisfaction. In general, your goal is to strive to the highest NPS possible. Every industry is different, so it is best to compare your NPS to your peers and industry for a more relevant indication of your specific performance.
The Beta UI is Waiting to Meet You!
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As we last detailed in our May newsletter, LoyaltyLoop is getting a fresh new look, and you can now preview the beta version of the new LoyaltyLoop v2.0 user interface (UI).
The new UI has a fresh new look that is designed to make it even easier to access your feedback and navigate the application. You’ll also discover a number of new enhancements and functionality that we’ll fully detail when this version is officially released.
To have a look, simply click the button labelled “Try our beta UI” in the upper-right corner on any page in your LoyaltyLoop account. And each time you return to LoyaltyLoop, your browser will remember the view you’ve selected; the new or old UI.
This version is a "beta" release, which means it is still being developed. But it is helpful to all if you have an opportunity to experience it early. The official release is anticipated to be later this year, at which time the new look will replace the existing UI. We know you'll find the new look fresh and easier to use.
Let us know what you think! We welcome your feedback and suggestions. Drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Like Having Your Own Personal Concierge on Call
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LoyaltyLoop is a fully managed service. We will manage your survey and settings for you. When you rely on LoyaltyLoop to fully manage your account, you need only focus on using the results to improve your business. We will also gladly provide guidance so you can edit all aspects of your account yourself, if you wish.
Updating your survey doesn't have to be a chore. The LoyaltyLoop Support Team is happy to help you update your survey's appearance whether if it's a new logo, a new color scheme, or you want to update to the mobile-friendly theme. If you want to update your survey questions, we can help provide advice on best practices and help you get the feedback you want.
When it comes to your account settings, we're glad to guide you to where everything is, or if you prefer, your LoyaltyLoop Admin User can simply send a request to our support department, and we'll be glad to make the changes for you. We can add/remove/edit your users, walk you through updating your billing information, assigning alerts and notifications to members of your team, and configure your social media and review links.
If your email messaging needs to be updated, we can offer rewrite suggestions for changes to your invites, reminders, and follow-up emails. We can work with you to update your thank you pages with fresh, new sincere thanks for your survey respondents. For all of your customer-facing messaging, we can replicate/update your email signature for you so your messaging matches any other emails you might send to your customers giving it that personal touch.
With LoyaltyLoop’s fully managed service, you can think of us as your personal concierge for customer surveys and reviews. After all, you do have a business to run and we’re happy (and very good) at managing the system for you, giving you the freedom to use the feedback to improve and grow.
Managing Your Users in LoyaltyLoop When They Leave
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Over time, you may have LoyaltyLoop Users who should no longer have access to your account. Perhaps they left your employ, or took on a different role in your company. If someone at your location shouldn’t have access to LoyaltyLoop for any reason, make sure you disable their accounts or remove them entirely. A simple way to manage this is to have your LoyaltyLoop Admin User email us at email@example.com instructing us to remove the user, and we’ll handle it for you.
But you can manage this yourself too. The first thing to do is to go to the User Settings in the Settings area of LoyaltyLoop and either disable or delete their accounts. Here's a short video showing you how to manage your users. You might disable access to their account while they are on leave, for example, or delete them entirely if they’ve left your organization.
The next step is to look at Alerts & Notifications in the Settings area. Check and see if they were getting automated emails out of LoyaltyLoop and assign those notifications to the next person in their place, if necessary. Watch this video for details.
Look at your Signatures & Settings in your LoyaltyLoop Settings. See if there’s a signature that needs to be removed, and be sure to check the messaging as well: The Survey Invitation Email, Survey Reminder Email, Follow-Up Email and any Thank You Pages. The person you’re removing may have a signature in those messages and they may have to be updated.
Lastly, notify us if the person should be removed from our internal records. Simply send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll remove them from our systems including our surveys to our customers (which we send to all Users of LoyaltyLoop).