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Customer Feedback is Cornerstone of Conversion

April 12, 2016

I am member of several local forums on Facebook. They are pretty one dimensional places. The same conversation happens over and over again. A common question is “I need a plumber\electrician\driving instructor\carpet fitter\tree surgeon [delete as appropriate] and I want someone who is good\reliable\cheap etc”. Immediately people wade in with the names of people and companies who they feel are excellent or occasionally, terrible. Various local tradespeople get tagged into the thread. For every person who says don’t use X because…..someone else pipes up with the “fact” that the very same person was the best they have ever had. After an hour I suspect the original poster of the question is none the wiser.

The feedback from the forum is often partial and biased. Contractors without Facebook accounts don’t get mentioned as often as those with an account – surely having a Facebook account doesn’t make you a better plumber? And who knows if the person recommending the tradesperson is related to them or even works for them?

A similar problem faced Henry Gellibrand – a 17th century Mathematician. He was looking at large groups of data and finding it difficult to see the wood for the trees. In the end he took the highest and lowest numbers in the sequence he was looking at and then divided by 2. He called this arithmetic mean and soon the process was refined so that the mean was defined as sum of all numbers divided by the number of numbers. So for the sequence 4-3-4-5 the mean was 4. One number to summarises lots of numbers.

So why does this matter for us in ecommerce? Well customers want to know what your previous customers thought of your products and services and, like the local forums, a myriad of views with no structure or proven veracity is useless for making an informed choice. So our advice is own the process and make independent customer feedback the cornerstone of your product and service offering.

One of our clients uses Ekomi for its independently managed feedback. Customers are sent a review email after 10 days and asked to rate the service and review the product. Thousands of reviews and scores have been collected and now they have a feedback rating of 4.9 out of 5. In one number Gellibrand’s arithmetic mean tells you all you need to know – a very high average rating means that for each customer who scored the client 1 there are 50 who scored it 5. Now we can see the wood for the trees and get some perspective on the vocal moaner who scored them 1 – there are another 50 people scored them at 5.

So what are the benefits of independent reviews

  • According to research 70% of customers who buy have checked feedback and reviews before purchase. So if they don’t find it on your site they will look elsewhere – wouldn’t you rather have been involved in getting that feedback and know it came from real customers?
  • Customers are more likely to buy from sites that show feedback and reviews. If you don’t offer it, what are you trying to hide?
  • Feedback makes your business better. Staff motivated by not getting bad reviews are motivated to make your customers happy and satisfied. What’s not to like about that?
  • Feedback makes your products better. If you solicit feedback, customers who would perhaps not bother letting you know that a product was lower quality than expected, now have an easy way of telling you. If most customers rate you 5 but purchasers of one item always rate you 3, then time to investigate what the product’s problem is and improve it or replace it.
  • Independent reviews from proven buyers give everyone confidence the reviews are real. Your staff know they should listen to it and your potential customers know it is trustworthy. And as we will see in point 6, Google trusts it too.
  • Independent reviews mean you get more traffic from Google. Your potential customers do a search and several results appear, all with average review stars under them. Yours has no stars showing and your closest competitor has 4.8 stars showing – guess who gets more clicks? Your competitor! And once the potential customer is on their site you have no way to control getting them to try your site, service and products.

So how do you add independent reviews to your ecommerce site?

  • Choose a provider of independent reviews – Ekomi, Feefo, Google Certified Shops – we have worked with them all and they each have their strong points.
  • Integrate with your current ecommerce platform – we have integrated with Magento, OSCommerce, Shopify and proprietary platforms all without problem.
  • Send your orders once they are complete to the provider along with email address and the products purchased.
  • Wait for the reviews to roll in and provide you with a rating – usually a star rating out of five.
  • Publish the product reviews on each product and give lots of relevant, timely content to the Google spider and your customers.

Gellibrand’s problem was making it safer for ships to navigate the dangerous waters around the world. Little did he know that his arithmetic mean would make it easier for shoppers in the 21st century to stay away from the sharks that occasionally pop up in any industry.

If you’d like to talk to the team on how we can help improve your marketing strategy, get in touch today and see how we can help!

Written by Andy

Andy is Venture Stream’s Chief Operating Officer and has over 15 years’ experience in ecommerce consultancy, design and retail marketing.

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