This blog was guest-written by Heather Lippincott, Bazaarvoice Online Community Manager.

SkyMall went live with Bazaarvoice Ratings & Reviews on July 8th, 2008 and has seen huge success! Their community has really embraced the opportunity to provide feedback to others about the product offerings of the company. Joey O’Donnell, Customer Experience Manager of, shares how integrating with Bazaarvoice has impacted their relationships with their customers.

How has Ratings & Reviews enhanced the relationship between SkyMall and your customers?

Prior to the launch of Ratings & Reviews we communicated with our customers by sending e-mails, catalogs and mailings. The customer’s communicated back by placing an order (or not). If they were not satisfied with their purchase, they returned it. We’d then try to extrapolate the customer’s message from tables full of data defined by percentages. High return rates meant something was wrong and low return rates meant everything was great. Ratings & Reviews has changed all of that in a matter of moments. We can now see exactly what our customers are thinking. For the first time, we are truly communicating with our customers.

How have your customers responded?

The response to reviews has been incredible. Within our first week of “flipping the switch” on Ratings & Reviews, we received over 1,000 comments on various products. Customers were craving a company-sponsored channel for interaction with our brand and we’ve finally provided one.

What’s the most interesting example of the impact this new solution is having with your customers?

I believe that customers don’t change, companies do. Sure, consumer behaviors shift, but I believe those shifts are a result of companies responding (or not) to the needs of their customers. Ratings & Ratings may just be the agent that allows SkyMall to better hear and respond to those requests. It’s easy to argue with spreadsheets and summaries of information but it’s an entirely different beast to read actual customer comments.

Are you doing anything with your rejected review content?

First and foremost, we are reaching out to those customers. We want them to know that we hear what they are saying and will work to apply the information they have given us. We are addressing any issues they highlight and are asking that they adjust their review to fit the moderation guidelines (which we include in the response) and resubmit their review. For the first few weeks of our launch, I’ve personally been reaching out to the customers. Now that I’ve got a firm grasp on how customers respond, I’ve put a workflow in place for our Customer Care Center to contact the customers. These are customers who are giving us one last chance to keep them and we recognize that.

Overall, how has responding to rejected reviews affected your relationship with those customers?

Simply put, it has been amazing. A customer with a rejected review was contacted letting him know that his review was unable to be posted. The customer responded to the notification with a strongly worded e-mail letting me know of his supreme dissatisfaction with both our moderation process and my status as a human being. Instead of continuing an e-mail chain, I picked up the phone and called him.Several days after our conversation, I received an e-mail from the customer apologizing for his rush to judgment and his thanks for responding. In his e-mail, he included copies of blog postings he created sharing his positive experience with SkyMall. He has become an evangelist of our brand.

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