Consumer reviews pack a punch. And it’s no wonder—word of mouth has long been one of the most effective and reliable forms of advertising. Online consumer reviews? Well, those can deliver a knockout punch. The internet, combined with social media, can blast consumer comments into the “social-sphere” more widely and rapidly than ever before.
Every good marketer knows that sharing a consumer’s experience with a brand with other people (e.g., reviews) is a far more influential form of exposure than anything a marketing professional can conjure up. But the best marketers know how to leverage those reviews into relationship-building opportunities—ultimately leading to increased purchasing intent, product or brand sentiment, and more sales.
When your business tackles consumer reviews, consider deploying the most influential business-building relationship tool available: responsiveness. Using the latest Bazaarvoice Conversation Index as our guide, let’s explore what it means to be “responsive.”
Companies that are responsive to consumer reviews dramatically increase purchase intent and improve product sentiment among potential buyers. More simply stated: companies that are responsive to consumer reviews, drive sales. The Index provides a great snapshot illustrating this important relationship:
When responding and interacting with reviewers, do so in an authentic voice. Be human! Don’t copy and paste the same response over and over again. And save the corporate lingo for the morning water cooler roundup. When brands communicate openly and authentically, it demonstrates that you’re listening and that you care about the consumer’s experience beyond the sale.
Buried within reviews, you will often find call-to-actions (CTAs). CTAs are an opportunity to improve your product/brand perception and consumers’ intent to purchase. For example, in a negative review, you may find CTAs that include product suggestions and support requests. Immediately thank the reviewer for their suggestions and then share them with the appropriate people in your company. When product changes are made in response to consumer feedback, respond to those reviewers, letting them know changes are planned based on their feedback. And don’t forget to respond to positive CTAs, such as a simple thank you from a reviewer.
Every review is a great opportunity to demonstrate that you listen, you value your customers, and that you care about the consumer experience beyond the sale. Actively responding to consumers also enables you to respond to market needs and desires, develop better products, deliver better service, build brand loyalty and drive more sales.
Now in addition to being great for business, online reviews can also be just plain fun. Here’s an example (and don’t worry—there are some implications for sales, too!).
Are you aware of the hijacked product review phenomenon on Amazon.com? When it comes to unbridled user reviews, no one does it better than Amazon.com. Well, better than Amazon’s brilliant reviewers, that is. Over the years, Amazon has grown to become the premier destination for all things… well, all things. Throughout their growth, Amazon has been a long-standing proponent of the uncensored user review. However, on occasion certain products’ customer reviews get hijacked—and based on the absurdity of the product name and/or its features, deservingly so.
For example, check out the classic “Mountain Three Wolf Moon Short Sleeve T-Shirt” and some of its reviews:
“I had a two-wolf shirt for a while and I didn’t think life could get any better. I was wrong. Life got 50% better, no lie.”
You can see more hilarious product reviews by clicking here.
I must commend and thank Amazon for having a sense of humor and for being such a savvy marketer. Instead of trying to dissuade users, they’ve actually parlayed these comical and absurd reviews into sales. As for the Mountain Three Wolf Moon Short Sleeve Tee… the comical reviews have shot this beauty to #10 in the Men’s’ T-Shirts category on Amazon. Not bad for three howling wolves.