The power and pitfalls of customer reviews

Facebook have been collecting fan reviews for some time and they now play a role in the reviews marketplace.  The dominance of players like Trip Advisor and the growing integration of reviews into Google business listings maps and the plethora of companies like Trust Pilot, Feefo and Revoo which collect reviews on your behalf makes it a confusing choice.

Knowing how best to collect customer reviews is a bewildering topic for a number of reasons:

  • Planning how best to capture customer feedback,
  • Understanding how customer reviews can affect your search engine rankings,
  • Knowing how to reply to negative customer reviews,
  • Addressing any customer issues arising from the feedback as fast and efficiently as possible.

Whilst many companies are reliant on 3rd parties for collecting customer reviews there is also the opportunity to design customer feedback into your processes.  The feedback can be captured early on and dealt with before the customer creates a damaging customer review, due to expectations which were not delivered.

So how should Facebook star ratings affect our future social strategies?
If you have customer service issues they are likely to start showing in your Facebook star ratings. You can turn off your star rating but if your competitors are proudly showing their high scores you may be asked why you don’t have one.
Those Facebook pages that do not answer the posts made on their page are the ones that are likely to see low star ratings. Some page owners do not allow their fans to post on their page and fans may resort to the reviews to post their feedback in this situation. This could be detrimental to their brand if fans are frustrated by the lack of ability to have any conversation with the page owner.
Those small businesses that have only got personal Facebook pages or Facebook groups are missing out as they will not be able to display their star rating in the future. I have noticed that several small travel agencies competing for the same niche audience have thought that having only a personal page means they can keep their network of customers a closely guarded secret. However this strategy will not work in the long term. They should be building public pages so they can benefit from the many features of a full fan page. These include full insights on the effectiveness of your posts, integration of your blog and Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and other channels as apps on your page. There are many user friendly tools like Woobox, Ninva and others which enable you to do this.
For those businesses wrestling with how to build engagement with your Facebook fans there are a few implications of the fan star ratings. Those pages with high scores versus their competitors can use their ranking to demonstrate they have good customer service and they are likely to build higher levels of trust. However there appears to be no transparency as to how the scores are calculated. Comments on blogs so far on this topic indicate that some page owners with 5 star reviews are still getting an overall 4 star rating.
There is now a huge choice of customer engagement tools that can be used to offer online chat to those fans that are visiting your Facebook pages. You can present coupons, deals, leaderboards, contests and many other mechanics to move them to a purchase decision.
Online conversion strategies using social
The Facebook payment engine is now firmly established as highlighted in the Facebook request today to donate money seamlessly to the victims of natural disasters and Facebook have indicated their future intention to enter the payments market, especially given the success of Jack Dorsay’s payment product Square.

It is now much easier to take customers from your social channels closer to a purchase decision. However we will need to be careful as to how we do this. Fans are still hesitant about using their card data in social channels just as consumers were in the early days of using ecommerce websites. Moving fans towards a shopping basket has to be on their terms and when they are ready. If the channel is seen to drive customers towards a purchase when they are not ready – conversion is unlikely to happen. More tools are now coming online to help conversion on social pages such as online chat and online bots. The key is to map out your customer journey from awareness to advocacy and know which role your social channels are playing.
There are no safeguards to stop your competitors sabotaging your Facebook customer reviews posing as disgruntled fans. I’m not sure whether Facebook will have the appetite to arbitrate like Trip Advisor who were forced to take action against bogus reviews which were doing serious harm to the business of those hotels affected. Given that Facebook does not provide support to small businesses with issues managing campaigns unless they spend £1,000 a month, it’s unlikely they are going to want to deal with these potential issues.
For those who’d like to read more I’ve attached links below to the latest blogs on Facebook’s star ratings:
Techcrunch article on Facebook star ratings
Hubspot article on Facebook reviews
Please feel free to post any links you’ve come across below.
Do you see Facebook star ratings as a force for good?

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