This post was guest-written by Meghan Meehan, Bazaarvoice Community Manager.
One of the most rewarding aspects of being a Community Manager is the ability to help clients improve customer satisfaction. By now, we all know that UGC increases sales. However, retailers often overlook the ability to identify opportunities to improve products through this content. Ratings & Reviews is a gold mine for uncovering these opportunities. On any given day of the week, I can be heard preaching to my clients on the importance of monitoring, analyzing & responding to negative reviews. I truly believe that every negative review is an opportunity for proactive customer service. I can share countless examples where clients have identified product defects, shipping errors and customer service complaints through UGC. Rather than turning a blind eye to this content, I encourage my clients to respond directly to the consumer to address the issue. I admit this is a lofty task to undertake, but the reward is exponentially greater than the level of effort required. After all, what is the lifetime value of a customer worth to you?
But please, don’t take my word for it – hear it firsthand from one of my clients. I recently had the opportunity to interview Jim Deitzel, Manager of eMarketing & Brand Communications for Rubbermaid, on the topic. Here are his thoughts on “negative” reviews:
What were your goals when adding Ratings & Reviews to Rubbermaid.com?
Rubbermaid had several goals when we implemented Ratings & Reviews from Bazaarvoice on our site. We wanted to facilitate the conversation between consumers using our products, give them an opportunity to rate their experiences, and do a lot of listening. Based on knowledge from previous research, we knew that consumers who visit Rubbermaid.com are looking for better product information. This includes reviews from other consumers and information on how to buy online or in the store.
What results did you expect to achieve from Ratings & Reviews?
We expected a positive experience from Ratings & Reviews. But we also knew there was a chance that we could receive negative reviews on our product pages. Would negative reviews turn our product catalog pages from sales tools into “beware signs”? On the flip side, we wanted the Web site to be a trusted place where consumers could collect detailed product information from the manufacturer and learn from other consumers’ experiences. In the end, we saw any negative reviews as an opportunity to connect with consumers, solve their problems, and learn from their feedback.
What is Rubbermaid’s stance on negative Reviews?
Within the first month of implementing Ratings & Reviews on our website, we were faced with our first problem: some negative feedback. While the majority of reviews were very positive, we were also seeing a handful of similar, negative comments about a new product at the time: Produce Saver. But were they really negative reviews?
Technically, yes; the feedback was negative in nature. But, we quickly discovered that the negative reviews had one thing in common – the product was failing to meet needs but also not being used correctly. You see, to keep fresh produce correctly in the container, you must only store whole produce. If you chop it up, you have no chance in saving it beyond its “rot” date. Almost every reviewer who had a negative comment about Produce Saver was using it to store leftover or pre-chopped fruits and vegetables.
We knew the usage guidelines. But why didn’t these reviewers seem to know? Wasn’t it printed on the packaging or inside the container? It wasn’t. And it was time to revisit the communication of this key information to our consumers.
How did you respond to the negative reviews?
We immediately went to work with the product manager to create instructions and recommended usage for Produce Saver. We posted the usage document on the actual product page of the Web site and linked to it from other areas of the site that highlighted Produce Saver. Then the product manager wrote an informative blog post describing the recommended usage of the product and why it works best that way. Finally, we took this new content and responded directly to the consumers (who submitted the reviews) via the Web site.
By addressing the negative reviews head on, Rubbermaid showed consumers that they truly value their feedback. What a remarkable way to create raving fans out of your customers!