October 16, 2015 by George Eberstadt
You probably know that sending an email post-purchase to request a product review is critical to getting a healthy volume of reviews. But you may not know that it’s also essential for ensuring that the sentiment of the reviews you collect fairly represents the sentiment of your customer base, overall.
Here’s an example from Jockey.com. After switching to TurnTo for ratings & reviews, there was a period of 6 weeks when they were not sending out review solicitation emails (RSEs); the only reviews they collected were from shoppers who returned to their site, on their own, to submit one. Then Jockey turned on the RSEs. Not surprisingly, the volume of reviews they collected increased by 7X.
But here was the surprise: the average rating also improved – by over half a star, from under 3.8 to over 4.3! That’s a huge improvement, with the critical benefit of accurately signaling to shoppers the high quality of Jockey products.
Why the improvement in average star ratings? It turns out that the people who go through the effort to come back to your site to write a review, without being prompted to do so, are disproportionately the unhappy ones – the ones with a complaint to vent. So if you are only capturing reviews from this group, you are over-representing the negative sentiment in your customer base and under-representing your happy customers. When you reduce the barrier to writing reviews by sending customers an email requesting one, you get a review-writing population that is much more representative of the overall sentiment of your customer base. In the case of Jockey, the before-and-after gain of over a half-star across their full catalog is the kind of improvement you might otherwise have to do a product-line refresh to achieve.
So in case the benefits of a much greater volume of reviews aren’t enough to convince you to send out a review solicitation email, keep in mind that you’ll be more accurately showing the positive sentiment of your customer base, too!
August 19, 2014 by George Eberstadt
Mobile Commerce Daily has a nice article summing up the comments from Todd Sprinkle, VP, Content & Platform Innovation at QVC, at eTail East about how QVC is using video for post-purchase support. They explain,
QVC initially tested a post-purchase email to customers with follow-up on content on how to use or assemble certain items, especially particularly complicated ones. When returns decreased, the company broadened its thinking on the post-purchase experience to include video on how to use, how to wear and how to love something.
QVC’s strategy makes sense on many levels: decreasing support costs, deepening brand engagement, increasing customer satisfaction, and encouraging repeat purchase. It’s also interesting that while QVC started with a focus on complex items, they’ve broadened out to apparel as well (most of which you won’t normally put in the “complex” category).
Another powerful way to achieve the same benefits – without all the work of video production – is to leverage community Q&A. Shortly after an order is delivered, send an email offering the purchaser the opportunity to ask questions of customers who previously bought the same item. Customers will reliably help each other resolve their issues, and the direct shopper-to-shopper engagement you’ve provided will do more to strengthen their relationship with your brand than interaction with your staff would have. (Of course, your staff will also monitor these questions and provide additional resources where needed.) QVC could combine the offer to ask a question with their video email to double the effect. Another great place to extend the offer to ask a question is in the email where you solicit a review, since it enables customers who are having difficulties to get them resolved before they write a critical review. It’s also powerful to put a tear sheet in the box with the order pointing the buyer towards the Q&A utility, if they have any questions, or to printing that info on the receipt or the return instructions; those are great ways to head off returns and improve your c-sat scores.
QVC’s innovations are pointing the way toward a larger post-purchase support trend where we expect to see a lot of investment and creativity over the next few years. Tip-of-the-hat to them.