Customer Experience News & Trends

Why customers love and hate online reviews

Online reviews can be a powerful customer experience tool, as well as useless interference, according to new research.

Fortunately, you can make yours a force behind that drives sales, marketing and the overall service experience.

The good news: Nearly 80% of customers check out the review section of a company’s website before they decide to buy.

The bad news: Almost 90% of customers are a bit skeptical about the reviews. Some believe people review products and services without actually using them. Others think businesses write negative reviews of their competitors. Some believe businesses write good reviews of themselves.

Customers like balance

Still, people read reviews and they can play a part in the overall customer experience.

So it doesn’t hurt organizations to get more reviews — even negative reviews. Why? Because it can help you improve products, services and experiences. Plus, customers tend to believe what they read when they see an array of opinions — and can make educated decisions about products and services.

Want to increase online reviews? Here’s how one company was able to bolster theirs by 948%!

Made a whopping change

AMF Bowling Centers Inc. took its online reputation from zilch to one that attracts new customers. And in the process, the company learned what it could do to improve all customers’ experiences.

“AMF wanted to use the experience of its customers to improve the business — the whole way across the business,” said John Sperry, CEO of Mindshare, which worked with AMF to gather customer feedback.

Here’s how AMF’s customer feedback system works:

Customers get a call to action — an invitation on their receipt to take a survey, plus an incentive to do so — such as a free drink on their next trip to AMF. Customers who choose to participate use a code to access the survey online or via a toll-free number. They’re also invited to leave comments after they rate their experiences.

Then they’re asked if they’d like to have their comments posted online. If so, they go up. If not, their data is included in AMF’s overall ratings, but their comments aren’t posted.

At AMF, the system alerts managers if a customer mentions something that needs immediate attention — such as a safety issue or an employee who acted inappropriately. Then AMF can act fast.

AMF also monitors the feedback for recurring issues that need to be resolved. Marketing can also see which promotions worked best.

Now, AMF’s reviews have increased 948%. The reviews only stay up about six months, so potential customers have the freshest information when they’re searching AMF sites.

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