Service Excellence Group
Impact of Online Reviews on Evaluation in Customer Service

As our culture progresses toward becoming more digital savvy, consumers are more often using online reviews to find product information and evaluations in customer experience. Whether the review is good or bad, it can largely impact the final purchase decisions. The controversy lies in the question of whether or not a consumer can tell if the customer evaluation is genuine or falsified.

According to an article published by the New York Times, a team of Cornell researchers recently published a paper on a developing a computer algorithm that could detect the legitimacy of online reviews. The fact is, products with a higher rating sell better than those with less stars, therefore the ultimate goal is to get as many of great reviews on the web as possible. However, with the rising number of fake reviews on the net, there is growing need for exploration and regulation over this matter.

As Russell Dicker, Amazon Director of Community, put it, “Any one review could be someone’s best friend, and it’s impossible to tell that in every case. We are continuing to invest in our ability to detect these problems.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/20/technology/finding-fake-reviews-online.html

It is often difficult to tell if these evaluations in customer experience are real, sponsored or written covertly for compensation. The Cove, an English hotel, was recently under scrutiny for allegedly offering consumers 10 percent off their stay at the hotel in return for posting reviews on TripAdvisor that were honest, yet positive. The abrupt spike in positive reviews resulted in TripAdvisor delivering a warning, generating attention from the British government and the ASA.

Although falsified reviews are beginning to be better examined, important questions still remain. Will the public ever be able to trust online reviews? Will consumers ever be able to detect the real reviews, both positive and negative, from a business competitor or an upset consumer looking for revenge?

With increasing developments in technology, consumers now have information about products, customer experience, management, pricing and more at the tip of their finger. It is more important than ever that companies take into consideration how to approach and utilize online reviews. Here are a coupe measures to take when dealing with online reviews:

  1. If a negative review is posted, try to respond in a positive manner. Show the consumer that their opinions are being considered. Often times this may lead the consumer to reconsider their rating.
  2. Put a focus on customer experience management. Transforming customers from satisfied consumers to brand advocates can lead to better online reviews.
The My Plate Approach Offers Customer Experience Management Solutions

The Food Pyramid tells a person the best way to increase their health is by showing them what a balanced diet looks like. A new guide has been introduced by the government called My Plate. It takes the Food Pyramid to the next level by portioning daily meals for people. This guide focuses on the amount of steak, potatoes and mixed greens that are necessary for a healthy diet. Now this appears to have nothing to do with the customer service industry, however, the principles of My Plate can be utilized to construct a healthy customer service plan.

The four basic elements of My Plate are protein, grains, fruits and vegetables, and dairy. The customer experience management solutions we are offering today also consist of four basic elements; Delivering A Message, Achieving Dependability, Understanding Communication, and Reaching Results.

Delivering a Message = Protein – This is the powerhouse of your plan. As a company you need to present a brand experience and feel that each and every consumer can identify. This is the sustenance of you customer service plan.

Achieving Dependability = Grains – This is what keeps your company going. Customers need to be presented with the same service experience each time. A plan that is reliable will keep consumers coming back.

Understanding Communication = Fruits and Vegetables – The most important part of a well-balanced customer service plan is communication. Communicating with your team to ensure a thorough understanding of your company’s best practices and expectations for delivering consistency in the customer experience.

Reaching Results = Dairy – Just as calcium makes the body strong, achieving desired results builds the strength of a company. To do this, your plan needs to focus upon catering to the wants and needs of each customer. Satisfied customers are returning customers.

The My Plate guide is only effective if it is utilized on a regular basis. Making sure these customer experience management solutions are applied consistently is the largest obstacle on the path to a physically fit customer service plan. Monitoring your new “diet plan” is also crucial. This means asking customers about their experience and searching for new and innovative ways to improve those experiences.