Online reputation management is critical to success in B2C e-commerce. Consumer review websites give the public easy access to customer complaints and the best reviews.
With a click of the mouse, internet surfers can view pages of customer feedback on any product or service company, simply by visiting one of the myriad of consumer review sites available. According to planning, development and marketing company iCrossing’s report, “How America Searches: Online Retail,” 88% of consumers perform internet research before they buy a product online.
E-commerce companies must diligently monitor and improve their online reputation by staying abreast of the customer complaints and reviews published on consumer review sites. Some of these services offer companies the option to respond to customer feedback. E-commerce company representatives can do damage control or express thanks to customers by replying to feedback promptly and accurately. The following five popular consumer review sites are a great place to start when running an online reputation management campaign:
MeasuredUp.com- Multimedia Customer Feedback and Easy Navigation
After purchasing a product online, customers visit MeasuredUp to leave written or videotaped reviews and complaints about the company. Consumers indicate their level of overall satisfaction with either a smiling or frowning emoticon. Customers are required to create an account before they may post reviews.
Companies are able to respond publicly to any customer complaints or reviews. In addition to addressing complaints, be sure to thank customers for the best reviews. Surfers seeking information on a specific company will see that the company cared enough to engage in public conversation and show gratitude to previous customers.
Blagger.com– Searchable Customer Complaints
Blagger users rate companies on a scale of one to five, graphically displayed with thumbs-up or thumbs-down icons. The site encourages both positive and negative reviews. E-commerce companies can easily search from the top of the homepage to see if their business is listed among the 3,000+ companies consumers have reported on to date . Companies are not able to respond customer complaints.
ConsumerReview.com- For Companies Selling Product Online
Perhaps the most advanced of the consumer review services, ConsumerReview.com allows surfers to seek out specific products and filter searches by price, brand, design and more. They can then choose a product to see ratings on a scale of one to five. Each listing links to several e-commerce storefronts selling the product, giving the consumer the option to price shop and compare shipping policies.
Customers are asked to leave an overall rating as well as a value rating. They also leave a written review with sections for a summary, strengths, and weaknesses. Companies cannot respond to feedback, but get a valuable, detailed overview of their customer’s experience.
Epinions.com- Consumer Reviewer Transparency and Accountability
Epinions.com allows consumers to search for products in a broad range of categories including cars, electronics, books and more. Users must create an account to leave a consumer review and are therefore accountable for their ratings and comments. Reviewers are ranked according to their level of activity, giving credibility to the process. Consumer complaints and the best reviews include a list of pros, cons, and the bottom line or overall opinion of the product.
Sutori.com- Interactivity and Open Communication
This service describes itself as “the voice of today’s customer.” Consumers are encouraged to share their “stories” and rally the community to build consensus. Customer complaints can include photos. Consumers can select a final comment to sum up their experience, ranging from, “I’m in love” to “Livid with rage.” Companies can post a response, listed directly below the consumer review, above any other user comments.
Monitoring Online Reputation with Consumer Review Sites
Given the ever-increasing number of consumer review services, it’s almost a full-time job to scan sites for new reviews and customer complaints. Many of the websites offer a newsfeed service, alerting subscribers when specific keywords or company names appear on the site; use this service to negate the need to search for new listings. Google also offers news alerts, while Technorati scans blogs for keywords or terms.