More than 70% of customers check online reviews before making a purchase. Many brands rely on customer reviews to help drive sales and engagement, which is why we were thrilled when Crozdesk recently ranked Falcon.io a Top 20 Social Media Software in 2017.
Crozdesk is a website which helps businesses find the right software for their needs by offering “over 200 categories and curated lists of detailed software profiles, user and expert reviews, comparison features and rankings.” We had the opportunity to discuss the importance of product reviews with Nabeel Khalid the Marketing Manager at Crozdesk.
Falcon.io: Can you explain a bit about how you determined the rankings for the Top 20 Social Media Software in 2017 list? And what evaluation criteria were used during the process?
Khalid: Our rankings are not based on a panel of judges who pass judgements on software they do not use on a day-to-day basis, since that approach rarely takes actual user experiences or product enhancements into account.
The Crozdesk Software Rankings are generated intelligently on an ongoing basis using our proprietary Crozscore algorithm which calculates overall quality indicators of cloud-based software in relation to its competitors within a specific software category or niche.
Now, how it does that is obviously part of our secret sauce, which we are constantly improving, but I can tell you that one of the prime components of the Crozscore are user reviews, and therefore, weigh in on the evaluation criteria that got Falcon.io a score of 90% this summer.
It also looks at other market data such as press buzz and brand mentions, as well as user base and market trends – but user reviews do remain one of the most reliable quality indicators. We’re using machine learning and AI techniques to enhance its accuracy of other data points over time, but user voices are crucial.
Falcon.io: Based on the research you collected for the rankings, what would you say are the most important features that people are looking for in a social media management tool?
Khalid: We’re halfway through 2017 and it seems that many businesses are already using social media software the same way they would use a CRM software solution. They’re looking for flexible APIs and integrations across platforms. They’re looking for marketing automation features. They’re trying their best to be compliant with customer data protection standards and take those extra security measures. And they want their software to be great at analytics without the need for another piece of software.
But the number one requirement of any social media management tool will always remain the same: publishing workflow and content review functionalities.
Looking at the trends, chatbot functionalities will also become an essential part of the social media software solution arsenal in due time.
Falcon.io: Whether it is from an influencer or a peer, reviews are playing a bigger role in the purchase decision process. In your own words, how important are reviews in the buying process for customers? (aka why do brands need to start prioritizing reviews)
Khalid: Today’s average consumer is bombarded with so many advertisements every second that they have developed this thick skin that helps them filter out all the marketing copy to see the bare product or solution. But it’s a bit of a struggle still.
This is where ratings and reviews come in. The last time I saw a movie without looking it up on IMDB or Rotten Tomatoes was in 2008, (and I still think the movie industry owes me those two and a half hours I wasted). But we learn from our mistakes.
We also know now that a 5/5 rating on Amazon means we should probably steer away from adding that product to our baskets.
Consumers want more ‘human’ brands in the sense that they don’t expect perfection any more. They expect every product and service to have a few flaws and imperfections, and they want to know these flaws, big or small, before making their purchase.
Falcon.io: Are there any specific tips or advice that you would offer a business looking to increase the number of reviews they receive?
Khalid: Keep your listings updated, reach out to your existing customers, improve your product, provide a better service, and listen to what the negative reviews are telling you. Reviews have the potential to help a product management team significantly.
Falcon.io: Not all reviews are positive, so how do you think a company should respond to a negative review?
Khalid: Negative reviews are essentially an opportunity for the company to raise the bar of customer service, to go over and beyond. This is where you stop the automation and engage with the reviewer on every medium they’ve used to interact with you, apologizing on all fronts even if a third party vendor is to blame.
You need to recognize how your customer has been inconvenienced, acknowledge it fully, address the problem, and then offer them something in return for the time they’ve taken to reach out to you by giving you this negative review.
Think of it this way, if they made this much effort to reach out after being inconvenienced, there’s a very good chance they will reach out when you surprise them with excellent and timely responses. Sure, there will be those who do this for the sole purpose of free coupons or credits, but you will learn to recognize those in time.
The customer is always…
You’ve undoubtedly heard the customer satisfaction slogan, ‘the customer is always right.’ It’s a debatable point which perhaps needs to be tweaked for the digital world – ‘noting customer feedback is always right.’
As Khalid stated, reviews have the potential to help your business on a range of fronts, be it product management, customer service and outshining your competition. Don’t be afraid to ask for reviews and listen to the feedback.
Customer feedback is free to receive and pays for itself many times over with invaluable insights.