For some time now I have been hearing this phrase that we are in the ‘age of the empowered consumer’, but what does that mean? Hasn’t the customer always had the power? The power to vote with their feet and their wallets. True, but today more than ever before the consumer is better armed with knowledge and better informed about the marketplace. Consumers are realising how much power they have over brands and they are choosing to use that power.
More and more review sites are springing up, offering conscientious customers the opportunity to help their fellow shopper by giving their opinion on the products, brands and experiences they interact with. So much so that in the news recently was a story about fake reviews for sale. Some industrious person realised the power of reviews to brands and was offering them up for a price. I’d be interested to know which, if any, brands took up this offer.
‘Reviewing the experience’ has really taken off now and companies are realising how important reviews are, with many consumers saying that they check out reviews before they purchase. This trend has seen some of the big players such as Amazon deleting old reviews and changing the way they operate so that they can verify the review has come from somebody who actually purchased the product.
When we ask customers to take a survey about their experience, we are essentially seeking a review. These are genuine reviews by genuine customers and can be used to combat some of the challenges that consumers face with commercial review sites. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) recently found that many commercial sites suffered from the following issues:
- Businesses writing fake reviews of themselves to boost their ratings on review sites compared with rivals
- Firms writing or commissioning fake negative reviews to undermine rivals, for malicious reasons, or for personal gain
- Review sites cherry-picking positive reviews
- Sites allowing businesses to remedy negative reviews, that go unpublished, meaning complete picture is not clear to review site users. he CMA were concerned hat impartiality comes under pressure as these sites need to monetise themselves through advertising and subscriptions. Customer experience programs on the other hand can be ideally set up to provide impartial feedback from genuine experiences. As long as the right checks and balances are in place your experience program can be a great source of reviews for your products and services. Asking customers if you can publish their review and publishing all reviews regardless of sentiment is a powerful way to build trust with your customers and to increase your social advocacy.
Are you ready to empower your customers?
At Survey Solutions we help our clients to listen to and understand their customers. We help diagnose challenges and celebrate success. We have the tools to help businesses take action from the insights we deliver and we help leaders execute their customer engagement vision