Dell Dude Doles Out Key Steps to Effective Ratings and Reviews Programs
Ratings and reviews have become prevalent on marketers' Web sites, but that doesn't mean they're being used effectively. During a session at the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition in Boston earlier this week, Stuart Wallock, senior manager of global community and personalization at Dell, offered best practices for incorporating ratings and reviews on Web sites.
Have volume. Even if it’s a five-star review, one review isn’t going to cut it. “We’ve found that you need about 50 reviews to make [the program] legitimate and to make sure that people get a fair understanding of what other people are saying,” Wallock said.
Moderate. Read all the reviews, and respond to the negative ones to show that you’re listening, you care and that the customer’s voice is heard, Wallock said. But “don’t ever censor your reviews,” or you’ll lose all credibility. Set your terms and conditions to draw content that’s useful to the next customer reading the review.
Use resources. Ratings and reviews are not just “plug-and-play, launch it and walk away” types of programs, Wallock said. Instead, these programs need to be serviced. Dell has ratings and reviews available in 67 countries and more than 15 languages. Wallock manages a team of about two-and-a-half people who oversee the program, along with other resources across the enterprise.
Entice visitors to write reviews. Send dedicated e-mails to customers after they purchase products asking them to write reviews. Give customers a few weeks with the products, and make the message very simple, short and sweet, without ever trying to sell them anything in the e-mail, Wallock said.
Also, give examples so your customers know what to write in their reviews, and make sure what you’re asking for is actionable. “Don’t just collect data,” Wallock said. “Make sure you can use the data you’re asking for."
Finally, always offer a contest where customers have the chance to win prizes if they write reviews. “You don’t have to give away the farm, but you’ll see around a 20 percent lift if you offer some type of contest,” Wallock said.