Reviews are now a critical part of the shopping cycle. This is true not just for consumer electronics providers but for every part of the electronics value chain – from power and automation to service providers. As my colleague Shaji Thomas recently shared with me, 57% of the B2B buyers journey is complete before a buyer contacts a salesperson. You need to help your prospects see the tremendous value you provide. As part of that process, your success is tied to having the powerful testimony of people who have used your product and their experiences with it.
As IBM clients, I know you deliver great products and services to your clients. So, how do you get your communities to act on your behalf in sharing what they know about you?
- You make it easy for them to write great reviews
- You make them feel good about doing so.
One of the single best examples I have found comes from another industry – travel. I want to share with you how one company, TripAdvisor.com, helps me help their customers. In my role as an electronics industry expert, I travel a great deal. So, I have a lot of experience with what TripAdvisor.com offers – namely travel information and related services. I have ended up as an increasingly active member of their community. Why? They reward my status and have a simple yet complete reviewing experience. It’s no secret that Trip Advisor reviews are coveted. Some hoteliers and restaurants even try to outsmart the system or offer free upgrades because their reviews are so important to travelers. (This has never happened to me and I would not let it change my review).
Here are a few things they do very well:
- They reward me by making me feel good. They told me that 60 people have read my recent reviews. That alerts me that the reviews I provide are being read. When a reviewer knows their contributions are valued, it’s a reinforcement for the reviewer to provide good content
- They share with me the amount of times my reviews have been helpful for those in the decision process
- Then they put a “teaser” in – they tell me I can get to the next level of reviewer status in only two more reviews.
These pieces not only validate me, they encourage me toward continued participation. They make me actively want to advance my status. However rewarding the reviewer is only half the equation. They need to help me craft meaningful content in my reviews.
To do that, let’s review the second part – the components of a TripAvsor.com review. First thing – they thank me. It’s a simple but powerful thing. Next, they associate a rating to each star, making it easy to set your benchmark. They publish other recent reviews for you to contrast and compare with. They ask what kind of trip it was and when it was, so people can choose properties that make sense based on their particular circumstances. A family will likely have totally different needs than a business traveler and it makes it much easier to sort through the content. The same is true for instance for someone buying a camera. An enthusiast will likely want different features than a novice. A company wanting a cloud computing solution might favor local support or deeper security. Be willing to get to the right dimensions for your users and shoppers.
Helping people slice and dice content means a better understanding for both the shopper and the site, so be sure to see what type of template options you have. Make sure you can differentiate. Test what attributes are most meaningful to your customers. You may want to explore different approaches for services than products. It’s an area where customization here is rarely considered, but could be critically important to the best experience you can provide. Plus, the ability to choose a unique defining characteristic – in this case how to choose a good room – that provides additional interest. Be sure to help
Help your purchasers become community members and help them bring others to you with great reviews. It’s not difficult but it is important and should not be overlooked. –c-