Customer feedback is essential to a brand’s success. After all, it’s difficult to determine if you’re satisfying your customers’ needs (and understand how you can improve) if you’re not continually asking for input.
Of course, there are many ways a shopper can share their feedback on products, brands and experiences. But increasingly, consumers provide input by submitting a review or posting a question on the Q&A forum of a product page. A 2018 PowerReviews study found that half of consumers write reviews for at least some of the products they purchase, up from 42% in 2014.
This feedback benefits shoppers and brands alike.
Shoppers depend on feedback from previous consumers to make informed purchase decisions. This is especially true today, when the COVID-19 pandemic has led to more consumers opting to shop online to avoid exposure. A PowerReviews analysis found that in June, online shoppers engaged with reviews prior to purchase 68% more than pre-pandemic times.
At the same time, feedback collected through reviews and Q&A is proven to boost traffic and sales. Plus, this content provides brands with a wealth of data they can leverage to deliver better products and experiences.
In this post, we’ll explore the data that’s hiding in your reviews and Q&A, why it’s often not used to its full potential, and how customer-centric brands are leveraging it to improve products, experiences and the bottom line.
Reviews and Q&A: Untapped Sources of Actionable Data
Reviews and Q&A are rich sources of data. But often, brands aren’t leveraging the data to its full potential. Why? Because in many cases, it’s difficult for brands to access and analyze the data in a meaningful way.
Let’s consider a fictitious consumer packaged goods (CPG) company called Tasty Toothpaste. The company sells its dental hygiene products through its own eCommerce site. But it also sells products through retail partners like Target, Walmart and Walgreens, as well as via marketplaces including Amazon. To further complicate matters, Tasty Toothpaste also collects reviews of its mobile apps and its store locations.
This brand’s employees must log in to a dozen different dashboards to access review and Q&A data. Each dashboard reports on different metrics and provides only a glimpse of the brand’s performance. For example, a product might have an average star rating of 4.5 on the brand’s own ecommerce site. But on a retailer’s site, the average star rating is 3.0. It’s difficult to determine why there’s such a big difference and what actions the brand can take to improve.
Increasingly, however, brands are opting to consolidate their reviews into one online reputation management platform. And that’s where the magic happens.
When a brand consolidates content, all reviews and Q&A -- regardless of where they originated -- appear in one dashboard. While there are many benefits to consolidating reviews, a key one is that it provides a more holistic view of product and brand performance.
Thanks to consolidation, our fictitious toothpaste company can access, manage and analyze many different types of reviews, including:
- Product reviews
- Location reviews
- Mobile app reviews
Of course, this allows them to better engage with their happy (and less than happy) shoppers, but it also allows them to easily understand strengths, uncover opportunities and monitor how the brand’s performance evolves over time. They can dig into analytics to better understand sentiment and intent, and they can address negative feedback quickly to avoid compliance issues and a damaged reputation.
What’s more, Tasty Toothpaste can get a more holistic picture of market share, as well as how they stack up against their primary, niche and regional competitors. That way, they’re better equipped to position their products (and their brand) for success.
5 Ways Customer-Centric Brands Leverage Feedback to Improve Products and Experiences
Reviews and Q&A are full of actionable data that can help brands better serve their customers -- and boost the bottom line.
Here are five key ways customer-centric brands use feedback from ratings and reviews and Q&A to deliver winning products and experiences.
1. Improving Existing Products
Reviews and Q&A are full of great ideas that can help you improve the products you’re already selling. For example, let’s say you notice one of your products -- a pair of shorts -- has an average star rating of 3.8. Not bad...but it could be better. You take a closer look at the data and notice that the word “broken” is included in reviews on a regular basis. So you dig further and determine that customers love the shorts, but they often run into problems with the zipper.
You can then take that information back to your manufacturer to improve the zipper and track how the average star rating for that product increases over time.
As an added bonus, this is a great opportunity to engage with your shoppers. Go back to reviews that mention the faulty zipper, thank the reviewer for their feedback, and let them know what you’ve done to address the issue. Shoppers will see that you truly care about their feedback, and that will boost loyalty.
Finally, be sure to add language to the product page, letting future shoppers know you’ve resolved the issues with the zipper. Then, they know to disregard negative reviews about the zipper.
2. Developing New Products
Customer feedback can also help you identify when there’s a need for a new product. For example, let’s say you sell a face lotion. Multiple reviewers mention they wish you offered an unscented lotion for those with sensitive skin. Your customer care reps have gotten the same feedback on countless calls and live chats with shoppers. So, based on this data, your R&D team develops a new product that meets the needs of those with sensitive skin.
3. Providing Better Customer Experiences
Of course, providing great products is important. But according to a report from Salesforce, 84% of customers say the experience a company provides is as important as its products and services.
In order to attract and retain shoppers, brands must focus on delivering great experiences throughout the customer journey. And customer-centric brands rely on data from reviews and Q&A to do just that.
For starters, app reviews provide insights that can help brands provide better mobile shopping experiences. And location reviews can point to ways to make the in-store shopping experience even better.
4. Refining Product and Brand Messaging
Reviews are a great way to understand what shoppers love about your products and your brand in general. And those insights can help you improve your messaging.
For example, several positive reviews for an eye cream might rave about the smooth texture of the product. Currently, this isn’t a feature that’s mentioned on the product page. At a minimum, you’ll want to add a bullet point to the product page that specifically speaks to the texture. You might even want to include a close up photo of the product to help shoppers better understand the texture.
Negative reviews can help improve messaging, too. For example, several negative reviews for a bed frame might mention the reviewer didn’t receive the bed base. As it turns out, the bed base isn’t included with the product -- but it might not be clear to shoppers. The brand can use this feedback to clarify what’s included. That way, shoppers will have clear expectations, and they won’t be disappointed when they receive the product in the mail.
5. Developing More Effective Marketing
The data from reviews and Q&A can be shared with your marketing team to develop more effective, relevant marketing initiatives. For example, let’s say a shopper writes a positive review about one product. You can send them a marketing email that highlights other products they might also like, based on review data.
In addition, reviews and Q&A can help you identify new audiences and use cases for your products. For example, a skincare company might primarily target women over the age of 40. But several of their reviews are written by women in their late teens and early adults. Those insights can then be shared with the marketing team so they can develop campaigns that speak to those audiences and use cases that were previously unknown.
Start Leveraging Feedback to Improve Your Business
Today, brands have more competition than ever before. Winning brands are those that consistently use feedback from their shoppers to develop products and services that win and retain shoppers.
Want to learn how Reputation Studio can help you leverage insights from reviews and Q&A to boost your bottom line? Contact us to schedule a free, live demo.