The harsh reality of the situation with regards to customer reviews is that many of them are written by people who have never shopped at – or visited that particular business. When starting with what could be false information, improving the customer experience and fostering better engagement only gets tougher.
Whether using a review site or sharing opinions on social media, customers have a range of options to make their voices heard. Despite an understanding that just because feedback is posted online doesn’t make it true, customers take what they read about businesses online seriously. Even if the authenticity of an online review is called into question, there’s a chance that negative feedback — whether it’s true or not — will still have significant influence over how a business is viewed. And those perceptions can hit businesses where it hurts.
Online reviews not only impact brand reputation but also how customers wield their purchasing power. Indeed 60 percent of UK consumers look at online reviews at least weekly according to a recent survey by Podium - with 93 percent agreeing that online reviews impact their purchasing decisions.
But in order to truly enhance the customer experience, businesses need to know how their customers actually feel — not just the people who decide to post online.
The need for authenticity
There’s no doubt that gathering feedback from customers — both good and bad — is important, but the timeliness of that feedback matters. Many businesses give customers the option to share their thoughts by including invitations to customer satisfaction surveys directly on receipts or by sending an email after a purchase is made, however the responses to these surveys may not be as useful or engaging as businesses hope — if a response is given at all.
Though it’s not unusual to struggle with low customer survey response rates, typically hovering somewhere around two percent, there are ways to improve this. You need to remember that it takes just eight seconds for the average person to get distracted so relying solely on the belief that customers will actually complete a survey later on may not be the best bet.
Instead, think about asking a customer about their experience while they are still involved in the checkout process. Gauging customer satisfaction at the moment a transaction is happening ensures feedback is actually coming from a paying customer and that the information provided is timely. Collecting feedback at the point of sale can also save customers time by allowing them to rate their experiences now versus later.
Use customer feedback to take your business to the next level by collecting in genuine paying customer feedback – it will help you to build brand loyalty and stay one step ahead of the competition.
I was formerly a consumer rights lawyer at Europe’s largest consumers’ association, Which?, before founding TruRating in 2013 when I began to notice how influential online review sites were becoming and the make or break role they were playing for many businesses.
I was concerned that despite best intentions, feedback sites often just...