If your business sells a product via eCommerce, chances are reviews are a constant in your marketing plans. While solid, trustworthy product copy is vital to paving the way for positive reviews, responses can be just as important. Does your company have a plan for responding to reviews – good or bad? If not, here’s what you need to know to “hack” one of the most underappreciated content points in business today:
1. Designate who is – and who isn’t – responding to reviews and question-and-answer modules on eCommerce websites. If a marketing employee is crafting polite, expansive responses to customer questions on a product page, and a supply chain employee replies with a blunt “yes” or “no” further down, it sends a mixed message. By establishing a point person or team, the rest of your staff will know that any potential issues should flow through that person, rather than a series of disjointed, crowdsourced answers.
2. Check for reviews every day. It might seem tempting to check them once a week, or even once a month, but many individuals asking questions on public forums are looking for immediate answers. How do I assemble this product? Where can I find this replacement? Does this come in another color? These are questions from people that have either already bought your product or are immediately – and seriously – considering doing so right now. The faster you respond, the more respected and considered those customers will feel – and that translates to positive brand perception.
3. Keep a record of your reviews and questions, good or bad. If there’s a product issue, you can bet you’ll spot it in an online review module before an official complaint makes it through your internal systems. From a wobbly leg to an incorrect piece of hardware, customers become vocal reflections of product quality if you spend the time to listen. Look for common phrases or words to spot a pattern – poor-quality screws, for example, or high praise for pockets. Not only will these insights help explain certain sales patterns, the positive/praise portion can be used to drive research and new product development.
4. Make sure you know response methods for every potential customer site. From links to manufacturer-facing portals to public “free-for-all” type product forums, your logins, permissions, and abilities should all be kept accessible. Strict in-house rules should apply to simultaneous social media use to prevent employees accidently posting as themselves, rather than your brand. (Hint: some of these customer sites will likely require verification of some sort from your company to gain a “manufacturer” answering badge, so make sure you have that proof handy!)
5. Communicate with your marketing team for mileage. Did a customer say something particularly positive or glowing about your product? Unprompted praise makes for excellent marketing inclusion, just be sure to attribute the praise. Whenever possible, track down the original poster and ask for their express permission to use it in your marketing campaigns and packaging; when in doubt, consult with your legal team or representative for clarification.
If you’re still on the fence about the power of reviews, consider this: a 2018 poll by The Independent found that a staggering 80% of millennials admit that they’ve never bought an online product without reading a review first. That’s a massive marketing segment and an overwhelming majority any way you slice it, and strong evidence for the necessity of solid involvement with reviews. When your company is proactive with reviews, they can guide the conversation, downplay potential issues, and establish themselves as a caring, active brand with the manpower already in place within the workforce. How would you rate your company’s current grasp of review etiquette and strategy? If it’s anything less than five stars, there’s room for growth, proritization, and improvement.
Delany M is a well-rounded freelancer with an emphasis in product descriptions, landing pages and articles. With over a decade of experience to her credit, she has enjoyed writing for national chain retailers, small e-commerce boutiques and a wide range of service providers. She prides herself in going “beyond the word” to capture the essence of a brand or company, ensuring copy that is as noteworthy as the goods and services her clients provide.