March 23, 2015 | Lonnie Miller

Star Power with Consumer Ratings & Reviews


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Did you ever think about why the military community tends to revere five-star generals (or the equivalent in other international military organizations)? The late Norman Schwarzkopf, said, “I can’t even begin to visualize myself as a five-star general… When I think of the people who are five-star generals, I can’t even see myself standing in their shadow.” This comes from a man who himself was a four-star general in the U.S. Army. Globally, the military uses various levels of stars to symbolize an officer’s effectiveness, success, or influence. It’s a “badge of awesomeness.”

Consumer Ratings and ReviewsCustomers can think of your business in the same way and they’ll place a badge on your brand—whether you see it or not. They form a quick impression from their experiences with your store employees, your website, your customer service team, your new app, etc. If they see your organization in action, there’s a badge in the making. So how many stars will you get?

Last week, we presented a webinar entitled “5 Best Practices for Increasing Marketing Effectiveness with Ratings and Reviews.” Our presenters reviewed some very practical tips to further help companies use their ForeSee customer experience measurement platform in a way that gives marketing teams extra message power.

If you’re actively measuring your multichannel customer experience, here’s the bottom-line: there’s a step that can be taken right now to tactically improve your marketing effectiveness by using current customer insights and converting them to SEO/SEM-benefitting ratings and reviews. We call this ForeSee Ratings Plus.

In our webinar, we highlighted 5 principles born from Answers’ decades of measuring representative customer attitudes and our applied knowledge of objectively publishing garnered ratings and reviews. Consider their influence on how you operate:

  1. Always remember, possessing the voice of customer means you are proactively listening. Using VOC to manage customer impressions is more than reporting, trending or reacting to an “uh-oh!” moment. It’s a way to get out in front of a building impression on your business. It’s the same reason our customers gauge their customer experiences in an ongoing manner—market conditions, expectations and experiences change daily.
  2. If you want to know how customers feel about you, make it easy for them to share their input and do so in the course of a natural encounter with them. I think of it this way: if I’m going to ask a favor from someone who I may not deal with regularly, I’m likely to do so when I’m already talking or emailing with them. Or I provide an easy process for them to help me: I’ll spell it out (think about the ways professionals secure endorsements when using LinkedIn for recommendations).
  3. Regardless of what customers are going to say, welcome the word-of-mouth that’s being formed. If you ask for it (and you should!), embrace it—and leverage what you learn for the benefit of others while improving your operations. One thing consumers despise is a lack of authentic commentary. They want to hear from other users, buyers, shoppers and customers. Yes—corporate or brand content does educate and inform—but without the voice of the customer community, it can create a credibility imbalance in the mind of people reading about your organization.
  4. Be responsive, be authentic, and be motivated to reach back out to customers when you see something troubling. This brings up the question of how wired is your organization to leverage both listening technology and apply human talent to help you, let’s say, recover from a poor shipping experience or the loss of a customer’s luggage? In customer loyalty and service communities, the service recovery paradox tells us you can strengthen the customer bond in the face of a major screw-up. Yet to do this, you have to know it occurred and have a way to jump on the issue.
  5. Amplify what people say about your business—let your customer reviews quickly reach others so they read what’s being said about your brand or brick and mortar locations. Is your company able to promote the word-of-mouth you’re receiving? Did you know that Google, Bing and Yahoo! utterly crave fresh, reliable content that’s endorsed by third-parties? Your ongoing customer experience measures are a treasure chest of content waiting to stimulate click-throughs to your digital properties. What’s one challenge ecommerce or digital marketing teams face? Getting lots of eyeballs to their online sites while paying as little as possible for that traffic. Economically, when you allow your customer experiences to be shared, it can positively help your marketing budget.

U.S. President Eisenhower (a five-star general himself) said, “Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.” For your business, how are you enabling others to rate you because they can—and want to?

About the Author

ForeSee Blogger Lonnie Miller

Lonnie Miller is Product Marketing Director for Answers Cloud Services. He focuses on shaping market strategies to create sales in order to drive business growth. He draws from over 20 years of influencing marketing plans from his applied knowledge of consumer insights, market intelligence and B2B content development. Lonnie holds an MA in Advertising from Michigan State University and a BBA in Marketing from the University of Michigan-Flint.

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