Tag Archives: customer reviews

Social Media

Find a website hard work? Help others by using the Google Sidewiki

Have you ever reached a particular website and found it really hard to find the information you were looking for? Have you ever needed a bit of help from friends to work the checkout on a website? What about letting others know how great you think a site is – did you want share your feedback with other visitors?

Thanks to the Google Sidewiki, you can now do all of these, and much more besides. And you can also read the notes and comments left by other visitors to a website.

Launched a few weeks ago, the Sidewiki lets you add helpful information alongside any webpage. The Sidewiki looks like a browser sidebar, where you can read what others have said, and also write your own entries.

If a webpage has lots of entries they are ranked according to lots of ‘signals’ which mean that those considered most useful stay at the top. The ranking system takes into account feedback that you and other users have given, and previous entries you’ve made. The entries are ranked in real time. You can read more about how they’re ranked on the Google Research Blog.

If you make a comment about a particular web page, the Google sidewiki will also display those comments against webpages that contain the same snippet of text.

Let’s say you were leaving comments about Gordon Brown’s party conference speech, on a webpage that actually included the text of the speech: your comments made on one website could also be visible on other websites displaying the same bit of Brown’s speech.

The sidewiki also pulls in posts from blogs and other websites that discuss the particular webpage, so you can see what other people are saying about it even if their comments reside elsewhere.

At the moment the Sidewiki is a feature on the Google Toolbar for Firefox and Internet Explorer.

If you’re interested you start using the Sidewiki by visiting google.com/sidewiki to download Google Toolbar with Sidewiki.

If you’re a website builder, this feedback is a potential goldmine of information. We’re going to be able to get live feedback from our website visitors about what they think of our website. They will hopefully point out where they think we’re going wrong, and what we need to do to fix it.

Do you think it’s a good idea to allow anyone to comment on any webpage? Would you be happy to read the feedback on your site? As an experienced web user, are you happy to share your feedback? Leave a comment below!

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Social Media

What are your customer saying about you? Part 2

In part 1 of ‘what are your customers saying about you‘, we looked at some research from digital communications company Quba showing that not enough companies are monitoring what their customers say about them online. Doing this – and responding to them – is called having a social media strategy

So what can you do to develop your own Social Media strategy?

The first thing is to find out what your customers are actually saying about you online. If you have a blog or a forum on your website then getting customer feedback is quite easy – the happiest and least happy will be sure to share their feedback with you directly.

But what about those people who will simply give feedback elsewhere on the web, or on their social networks?

There are two separate tools you can use to find out what they’re saying. First, set up a few ‘Google Alerts’ using your company name, and your domain name. If you think there’s a chance that people will discuss you personally then set up a Google Alert for your personal name as well.

With a Google Alert, every time Google comes across a new mention of your company, domain or name as they crawl the web, they will send you an email with a link to where your company is mentioned. You can set up a Google Alert here.

This won’t necessarily give you up to date mentions of your company name since Google can take up to 3 months to trawl every website.

The second thing to do is to search on Twitter for mentions of your company name. The great thing about Twitter search is that you can instantly find where your customers are mentioning you. However, you probably don’t have time to constantly search for mentions of your name on Twitter! To save time, use a service like Tweetbeep.com to send you a daily email with all new mentions of your company name. Its free.

And what exactly do you do when you find people mentioning or talking about you or your brand?

The short answer is: get involved!

If people are criticising your company, then enter the conversation and let them know you’re sorry they had a bad time. Find out what went wrong. Is there anything you can do to rectify it? It often doesn’t take much to turn a negative reviewer into a positive one, once that person knows they’re not being neglected. And you get to publicly show your customer service skills to other people reading the thread.

That doesn’t mean you have to concede that the customer is absolutely right in what they’re saying. If you put your side of the story, and it seems fair, then anyone viewing the thread will see that you have a reasonable point of view.

If customers are saying good stuff then you might want to thank them for their feedback. You need to make a judgment as to whether or not you can add anything to the conversation – sometimes its better to let customers speak for themselves, so as to appear more impartial.

If you can identify the customer then it might be a good idea to send them a personal email thanking them for their comments.

The other good thing to do with positive comments is to channel them towards the better known reviews sites for your market. If you do get positive feedback – either as an email, a comment on a blog or forum, then ask that customer to share that on reviews websites you think influence users most.

We’ve talked about reviews sites before. They are increasingly important in influencing customer decisions: people are more likely to take the opinion of an impartial reviews site than a customer service agent. And in our ‘Google the Innovator’ series we showed how Google itself is increasingly displaying the results from Reviews websites.

Here a are a list of well known reviews websites; you probably know a few for your industry too.

pricegrabber.co.uk
reviewcentre.com
shopzilla.co.uk
ciao.co.uk
dealtime.co.uk
truste-marketing.co.uk
webuser.co.uk
maxxsave.co.uk
dooyoo.co.uk
resellerratings.com

Have you put a ‘social media strategy’ in place? Have you had any positive or negative experiences with it? Leave us a comment below.

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Social Media

What are your customer saying about you? Part 1

Before the Internet came along, it wasn’t always easy for companies to find out what their customers were saying about them. If a customer had a good or bad experience, the most they would probably do is share that with a few friends down the pub, or mention it over a meal with the family.

If companies wanted feedback they had to ask customers to fill out a ‘customer feedback’ form; and ask their customer service agents what customers were actually saying about them.

Both these channels give a very partial view. People giving feedback would be at either end of the spectrum: they had either loved dealing with your company, or had completely hated it.

Now of course, in the era of social media, customers have lots of channels to spread both their good and bad experiences of dealing with a company. Aside from leaving comments on that company blog, they can submit reviews to reviews websites, leave posts on relevant forums, and of course give feedback through Facebook and Twitter of their experiences.

This makes it so much easier for companies to find out what their customers are saying about them. And it means there is a lot more ‘colour’ and texture to their feedback, rather than a polarised view of ‘brilliant’ or ‘rubbish’.

And apart from finding out what customers are saying, it also gives companies the opportunity to take part in that conversation. If its a good comment, then a company can  give thanks; and if its a bad one they can respond by trying to resolve that customers’ issue, or at least put their side of the story.

And from a product point of view, listening in to what your customers are saying about your product has to be one of the best ways to find out what you need to do to improve that product.

Despite all these opportunities, research out this week from digital communications company Quba has revealed that only half of businesses monitor what people are saying about them on the web. Just a third of businesses have someone who actively manages their online reputation.

Here’s a graph showing it all, published in New Media Age magazine:

For reasons we’ve stated, the reality is that all business should monitor what people are saying about them, and respond to it too. Doing this is called having a ‘social media strategy’.

Check out how to develop your Social Media Strategy in ‘What are your customers saying about you part 2‘.

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Archive Social Media

If you sell online then make sure you get good reviews

A survey out last week by Ciao – the shopping comparison website – highlights the huge importance of good reviews for anyone selling online. The detail shows that 76% of people shopping online trust customer reviews rather than recommendations by either sales assistants or even friends.

The idea that users trust the shopping opinion of complete strangers over friends might come as a surprise to some, until you consider that the website carrying out the survey- ciao.co.uk – is a reviews based website…

All cynicism aside, its long been known that customer reviews can drive online sales conversions, and we recently encouraged everyone building a website to make use of customer reviews websites.

The survey of 1,223 people indicated that users tend to turn to review websites before deciding what product to buy, and where to buy it.

The typical format of reviews websites allow people to read the opinions of others who have already bought the product, or shopped from that etailer.

Interestingly, just 2% of shoppers thought that sales people influenced their purchases. A further 19% took sales advice from friends.

So the most important thing to take from this is that if you’re building a website you need to make the most of any customer reviews or feedback you might get.

If you interact with people on your website, ask them for feedback from their experience. If you get positive feedback then ask the person if you can use that feedback.

You can use that feedback in two ways. First, if you have products or services on your website then include a link beside that product to ‘customer reviews’ to allow your website visitors to quickly gain feedback from others, Always try and use real names and locations to make the reviews as authentic as possible.

Second, if you get some glowing testimonials, then ask that user if they wouldn’t mind leaving a review at a reviews website.

Here’s a list of the top reviews websites:

pricegrabber.co.uk
reviewcentre.com
shopzilla.co.uk
ciao.co.uk
dealtime.co.uk
truste-marketing.co.uk
webuser.co.uk
maxxsave.co.uk
dooyoo.co.uk
resellerratings.com

Of course, getting good reviews is only half the story, of which the other half is avoiding bad reviews. Getting customers to recommend you is the holy grail of successful marketing. There’s an old advertising belief that a customer with a something good to say about your product talks to 8 people about it; and that someone with something bad to say does so to 20 others. So the most important thing is to make sure the customer has a good time in the first place!

Have you had a positive and successful experience with customer feedback? Or have you had someone bad mouthing you or your website? Leave us a comment below.

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