This is why they need to be monitored, measured and managed effectively.
Monitoring online review sites is challenging, but achievable. Since the reviews that appear on most review sites aren’t found social media monitoring tools and general search engines, monitoring reviews is a nuisance for single-location companies and a headache for companies with dozens, hundreds or thousands of locations. Companies in the former group need to monitor their reviews individually on each review site. Those in the later group leverage solutions like Review Trackers so that reviews for all locations, from all review sites, can be managed in one dashboard.
Managing reviews is important because they influence people’s shopping, dining, and travel habits. Most companies read online reviews before making significant purchases and say that reading a positive customer review increases their trust in a business [BrightLocal]. Managing reviews gives you the opportunity to challenge inappropriate reviews, investigate bad customer experiences, and promote good experiences.
Measuring the impact of online reviews can be a challenge. A company’s “average rating” of a five-star scale means little because most consumers contribute reviews after experiencing extremely good or extremely poor service. The number of 1-star or 5-star reviews a company receives is also relative. Online reviews are never deleted. This means that a company with several outdated good or bad reviews can appear to be more or less popular and successful than they are. Companies should measure their success based on the most recent six months of reviews because consumers view older reviews as less relevant.
Companies also need to weight the impact of ratings based on the influence they have on current and future business. A great way to do this is by leveraging Net Promoter Score (NPS) insights. Based on someone’s willingness to recommend a company on a 10-point scale, NPS identifies detractors (ratings of 1-6), passives, (ratings of 7-8) and promoters (ratings of 9-10).
Online review sites are examples of NPS in action — but with a 5-point rating scale. This means customers rating a company 1-3 are detractors. Customers that provide a 4-star rating are passives. And, only customers that provide a 5-star rating are promoters.
A company can calculate their ‘NPS-equivalency’ score for online review sites by subtracting the percentage of 1-3 star reviews from the percentage of 5-star reviews for the most recent six month period. The result w/be a value between -100 (all reviews during the time period were 3 or less) and +100 (all reviews during the time period were 5 stars).
Companies that value Net Promoter Score value will value this means of measuring online reviews. This method also makes it easiest to accurately compare review performance over any time period (yearly, quarterly, monthly, weekly) by location, city, state or region.
Unsolicited reviews from online review sites are the best means of judging customer experiences. That is why companies need to pay as much (or more) attention to them as consumers.