Build a Trusted Brand

3 Ways online retailers can encourage reviews

Wednesday, October 24, 2018
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There’s nothing better than customer feedback to help you improve service, build trust and increase sales. parcelLab’s Julia Henry offers key advice on inspiring feedback on products and services.

You may think that as an online retailer the one thing you have no control over is the number of reviews you get, other than selling great products and providing an excellent service, of course. If someone’s going to give you feedback, they’ll do it, right, and that’s that. Well no, actually there are three steps you can take to encourage customers to post a comment about your service and hopefully help build that all-important trust factor that will drive people to your store and have them coming back for more.

1. Pick your moment

People are likely to offer unsolicited online feedback if they feel they’ve had an exceptional experience or a truly awful one. However, there are plenty of times when customers get a fast, efficient and enjoyable service, but aren’t inspired to comment. So it can be useful to remind them to do so through a prompt. The key is choosing the right moment to ask them to share their opinion.

So when are your customers in the best frame of mind to do this? When they’ve just opened a recently delivered parcel for example. So carefully monitor the shipping process, and a few minutes after the delivery has been made, get in contact in the customer’s preferred way – say text or email – to inquire whether everything is in order and ask for a review of the service and product. If you partner with a post-purchase communication platform, this can be automated, yet still be personal. You can refine it further by sending a message only when the customer themselves have signed for the parcel, as you then know they are likely to be opening it soon after.

2. Make it personal and authentic

People respond better to people, rather than ‘faceless’ companies or corporations. This means that the more personal you can make your review request, the more likely you are to encourage your customers to give feedback. So ensure the message comes from a personal email address rather than a generic company one, such as jamie@fashiononline.com rather than reviews@fashiononline.com.

This will also help if you’ve been communicating with them throughout the shipping process with updates of progress. If all of these emails have come from ‘Jamie’, the customer is now used to receiving emails or texts from this person, and is more likely to open it and take action accordingly.

An interesting and creative twist to this technique is the approach fashion retailer Hirmer takes, enclosing a card with its parcels with the name of the packer of the item written on it. This type of action sparks an instant relationship with the customer, who feels obliged to give feedback.

3. Look for other opportunities

Although engaging with your customer just after receiving a package is the optimum time to elicit a review, there are other options that can also be effective. Controlling the communications your customers receive during the shipping period and making them as personal and friendly as possible opens a new effective marketing channel, because 70-80% of customers open these messages. This allows you to add in extras, such as review requests via a ‘Rate Shop’ button, for example.

To help overcome the possibility that shoppers are not ready to post a review, you could ask the customer to rate your service later. Giving them this option increases your chances of getting a review.

Remember to get personal and pick your moment, particularly in the post-purchase phase, you’ll significantly increase your chances of collecting reviews.

As one of parcelLab’s post-purchase experts, there is little Julia doesn’t know about how to deliver the best possible customer experience after an online purchase. When she isn’t shopping online, you can usually find Julia cycling or hiking in the Alps.

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