Review Data Grows in Importance as Another Information Stream

Benefits of Reputation Management Are Many if Action is the Key Component

Customer reviews and reputation management

One of the trends that has been mentioned as a CX technology market driver time and time again is the explosion in customer data coming in via a growing number of channels. Review data is just one of many data points coming into companies, but it has been growing in importance as companies seek to develop a broader view of their customers.

Source: Dash Research, Customer Insights & Feedback report

One of the trends driving this is a generation of customers being digital natives, completely comfortable on all digital channels, not just as a place for research and information, but for communication and feedback. They want to have their voice there, and many of them are giving their voice via reviews. 

Reputation management is in itself a fairly large ecosystem. There are niche reputation management companies, who offer management and response. However, there are also CX technology companies that help collect review and rating data and provide insights and data. The more sophisticated offerings can provide reputation management and response, as well as offer the benefit of combining the data with all other touchpoint data housed on a combined CX platform.

Dash Research recently had conversations with CX technology providers QuestionPro and SMG about the topic of review data and how it fits into voice of the customer (VoC) programs. 

QuestionPro’s President of CX, Ken Peterson, says that reviews ideally should be part of a VoC program, but that the company should not lose focus on the fact that action is the important part, not monitoring.

“Companies are definitely considering investing in reputation management as a tool, but many are still somewhat limited in how they are able to respond. It’s a scale issue, and falls into the CX conundrum of don’t ask for information if you aren’t going to do anything with it,” says Peterson. “Another challenge is having companies shift their mindset from review data being siloed with marketing to being part of an organized CX program.”

QuestionPro offers CX Reputation, a reputation management solution that can both monitor and help provide action on public ratings and reviews. It offers real time analysis, including artificial intelligence (AI) sentiment analysis. Negative reviews can be handled quickly, and response times tracked. Other CX data can be pulled in as well. Says Peterson, “QuestionPro has made our offering appealing both from a features standpoint and a pricing one, to all-sized companies, allowing them an entryway in review management with low investment but with benefits that are high visibility.”

Chris Bosco, VP of Solution Engineering at Experience Management (XM) provider SMG, shares that they are seeing an explosion in interest in review data over the past 4-5 years, and that it is evolving into something quite weighty. “Companies should no longer deprioritize the review data stream by leveraging intern management or outsourcing it to a marketing company,” Bosco says. “Reviews are part of your customers’ voice and you need to listen to it. Leading companies in the CX space aren’t looking at review management as a nice to have, but as core to their listening program and brand development. It’s still a conversation, even if it’s a brief comment left online.”

Bosco continues, “The online voice can be more negative-leaning, frequent and sometimes involves individual level comments. It’s not the total answer, it’s part of the omni-answer.”

However, Bosco acknowledges that it is a heavy lift to not only bring in the data, but to combine it with all the rest of the touchpoints and make sense of it all. This is why some companies are leveraging CX platforms that can assist with this. Adoption levels of this technology type varies, with more CX mature organizations making it a key part of their program. 

As part of SMG’s smg360 CX platform, the company offers RatingsTrack, which brings in structured—but unsolicited—data such as reviews from Google, Yelp, CarGuru, TripAdvisor, etc., and provides automated and personalized review and response functionality.

Source: SMG

The key value is the ability to have unsolicited and solicited feedback within one platform to provide a broader view of the customer. The review data can be seen and analyzed along with other company CX data, providing one central resource for insights coming in from multiple channels. SMG shared a case study that outlined how Signet Jewelers wanted to take some of the load off its labor force, but still manage ratings and review data. Signet added SMG’s online reputation solution to its XM program, which allowed it to integrate ratings and reviews along with solicited location-level feedback, all on the smg360 platform. Signet partnered with SMG to close the loop on customer issues, benchmark performance data, improve search ranking and integrate solicited and unsolicited feedback. After implementing its online reputation management solution, Signet increased its response to customer’s ratings and reviews (+85 ppts higher response rates than competitors) and saw a significant uptick in digital engagement.

Like all data flowing into a company from various feedback and listening mechanisms, the key to success hinges on action. Says Bosco, “Don’t collect data just for data’s sake. Do something with it that powers your customer’s experience to a better place.”

Author Information

As a detail-oriented researcher, Sherril is expert at discovering, gathering and compiling industry and market data to create clear, actionable market and competitive intelligence. With deep experience in market analysis and segmentation she is a consummate collaborator with strong communication skills adept at supporting and forming relationships with cross-functional teams in all levels of organizations.

She brings more than 20 years of experience in technology research and marketing; prior to her current role, she was a Research Analyst at Omdia, authoring market and ecosystem reports on Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, and User Interface technologies. Sherril was previously Manager of Market Research at Intrado Life and Safety, providing competitive analysis and intelligence, business development support, and analyst relations.

Sherril holds a Master of Business Administration in Marketing from University of Colorado, Boulder and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Rutgers University.


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