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How Poorly Designed Review Automations Can Hurt Even Big Box Retailers

How Poorly Designed Review Automations Can Hurt Even Big Box Retailers

We’re all fairly familiar with automated review request phone calls from large companies at this point. And while they feel a little impersonal, they serve their purpose. But I’m going to tell you the story of a review call gone wrong, and how even the big box companies can flub their review process through poorly designed automations. Call us today to learn more about managing customer reviews.

The Importance of Customer Reviews

Before diving into the potential problems with review automations, it's important to first understand why customer reviews are so important. Reviews provide valuable feedback to business owners about what's working and what's not. This can help them make improvements to their products, services, and overall customer experience.

Customer reviews also play a critical role in the purchasing decisions of other shoppers. According to a study done by BrightLocal, 91% of shoppers read online reviews before they buy. This means that a business's online reputation can make or break their business.

The Role of Review Automations

Given the importance of customer reviews, it's no surprise that business owners are turning to automation to manage them. Review automations can help business owners collect, organize, and respond to customer feedback more efficiently. They can also help identify trends and areas for improvement.

However, not all review automations are created equal. Automations that are poorly designed can actually do more harm than good.

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The Problems with Poorly Designed Review Automations

 So, what are the potential problems with poorly designed review automations? Let's take a look.

1. Inaccurate Reviews

One of the biggest problems with review automations is that they can sometimes lead to inaccurate reviews being posted. For example, if a businesses' automation system sends a review request to the wrong customer, sends a request for the wrong product, or at the wrong time in the buyer’s journey, the resulting review may not be relevant or accurate.

This can be particularly problematic for big box retailers who sell a wide variety of products. If inaccurate reviews start piling up, it can erode trust in the business's online reputation.

2. Inconsistent Responses

Another issue with poorly designed review automations is that they can sometimes result in inconsistent responses to customer feedback. For example, if a business' automation system sends a generic response to every review, regardless of the content, it can come across as insincere and unhelpful.

This can be a big turnoff for customers who are looking for authentic engagement from the business. It can also make the business seem like they don't care about their customers.

3. Missed Opportunities

Finally, poorly designed review automations can result in missed opportunities for businesses. For example, if a business's automation system is only set up to respond to negative reviews, they may miss out on the chance to engage with customers who have positive feedback or constructive criticism.

This can be a missed opportunity to build loyalty and improve the customer experience. It can also result in a skewed view of the business' online reputation, as only negative feedback is being addressed.

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Real Life Example: Cecile & James

A lovely young couple we will call Cecile and James recently purchased home appliances from a big box retailer that shall remain anonymous. Two days after their appliances were supposed to have been delivered, they received an automated review request call. Normally, this would not have been an issue. However, over $1000 worth of merchandise was missing. Cecile and James had tried to find out where their appliance was and when they would receive it, but the store’s systems had marked the delivery as complete. They had used an external shipping company, and the missing appliance was out of their hands.

When James saw the call coming in from the store, he had hoped to get the chance to speak to a human and finally get some real help. Unfortunately, this call was fully automated, with no options to “press (0) to speak to an associate” or anything similar, just a few things for them to rate on a scale of 1 to 5.

Had Cecile and James received both of their items on time, there would have been no foul, and they would have happily filled out the review over the phone. However, with expensive missing merchandise and no support from the retailer or the shipper, the review request reached them at the worst possible time in their buying journey: when they were angry at both companies! And the fact that the call had no options for reaching a human to speak to just made them angrier.

Had they designed their automation better, this could have been avoided. For example, they could have added a simple condition that all items must be confirmed to be delivered by the customer prior to an automated review request being sent out. This way Cecile and James wouldn’t have gotten the review request call until after they had all of their items. Perhaps they may have given a lesser review for the one item being late, or the poor communication, but it would have been a better outcome than receiving a review request while they are furious that their $1000 item was MIA, and they have no information as to why or when they would receive it. I’m sure you can imagine what THAT review looks like!

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How to Avoid Review Automation Pitfalls

So, how can businesses avoid these pitfalls and ensure that their review automations are working effectively? Here are a few tips:

1. Don’t Forget The Human Element

Align your customer service processes so that automation compliments human interaction. Automation should be more than a way for a business to save money on manual processes. It needs to be used well with the customer in mind. It should not stop people from getting service and support. It should help them get it more quickly.

2. Use a Quality Automation System

If they are going to have one, business owners should invest in a quality review automation system. This may require some research and investment upfront, but it will pay off in the long run by helping businesses collect and manage customer feedback more efficiently.

3. Monitor Reviews Carefully

It's also important for businesses to monitor their reviews carefully, even with an automation system in place. This means regularly reviewing feedback, responding to reviews in a timely and personalized manner, and addressing any inaccuracies or inconsistencies in the feedback.

4. Use Feedback to Improve

Finally, businesses should use customer feedback to improve their products, services, and overall customer experience. This means taking feedback seriously and making changes based on what customers are saying.

By following these tips, business owners can ensure that their review automations are working effectively and not hurting their online reputation.

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Automate with Care

So, whether you're a big box retailer or a small business owner, it's important to approach review automations with caution and care. By doing so, you can ensure that your customers have the best possible experience and that your business continues to thrive. To develop your own customer review strategy, call us today.

Lynne team member
Lynne Motkoski, Digital Marketing Strategist
Specialty: Digital Marketing Strategies
Education: MA Communications & Technology, BComm [U Alberta]
Author: The Online Marketing Handbook for Busy Entrepreneurs (coming soon)

Lynne is known for her strategic approach to marketing communications, technologies, and lead generation. She has a passion for education, keeping up with current marketing trends and practices, and helping clients keep ahead of their competition.

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