If you're a business that accepts online reviews, you know what a minefield feedback can be. Customer reviews can range from the glowing to the downright scathing, and everything in between.
When you add in a star rating system, it can be difficult to get an accurate gauge of how your business is really doing. Comments from reviews often have positive and negative mixed together, then a star rating can leave you guessing about exactly what your business is doing well and what might need improvements.
This is what inspired Trustpilot, a company that provides an online review platform, to launch Review Insights. This new feature uses artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning technologies to give businesses a deeper look into their customer feedback and help them make sense of it all.Credit: Trustpilot
The good, the bad, and the ugly of feedback
Zachary Pardes, director of advertising and communications for Trustpilot North America, said, "Review Insights gives businesses the ability to be smarter and more agile; to gather deep insights about their business, products, services, and processes that otherwise they might never uncover."
Pardes said that businesses should be prepared for all types of feedback, both good and bad. He stressed that negative feedback is healthy, if you take it constructively and act accordingly to solve issues as they arise. [Read related: Check out how responding to reviews can help your business.]
While tons of five-star reviews are great, he said, they don't hold much value for a company looking to better themselves. And customer feedback is a great mechanism for inspiring those improvements. "No business should ever be done learning. If you're done learning, you're failing."
How to use Review Insights
The company says Review Insights is particularly easy to use, especially if you are already set up with the Trustpilot platform. You'll need to become a customer to take advantage of Trustpilot's new feature. And once you do, you will want to start collecting reviews through Trustpilot to establish a data set the AI can study.
For those interested in signing up with Trustpilot, the company offers four plan options, ranging from free to $549 per month, as well as a quotable custom option. Review Insights is only available on the Pro and Enterprise plans for now.
Set up an Automated Feedback Service
A CSM and integration manager at the company will make sure everything is set up for you. Pardes recommends taking advantage of Trustpilot's Automated Feedback Service (AFS), which sends email invitations to customers after they have made a purchase or had an interaction with your service to ensure you're collecting reviews from a majority of your customer base.
You can't take this step until you've gathered a base set of reviews. Then you'll want to set up keyword tagging. You'll need to decide what insights you need and what you expect to learn from your customers.
"Make your objectives clear," said Pardes, "and identify pain points to your CSM when you're getting started. That way, he or she can set you up for success."
For example, let's say you've noticed that your customers have issues with online payments. You can tag all the keywords pertaining to payments that your customers might use in their reviews, such as "payments," "credit card," "checkout," etc., and set your insights to deliver analysis on this issue.
Use feedback effectively
To build a great business means constant learning and reinvention, and you can't improve if you don't know what isn't working. "Customer feedback is only as good as what you decide to do with it," Pardes said, "and smart business owners will seek out an advantage wherever they can get one."
Customer review sites
Trustpilot is far from the only platform a small business could use to collect business and product reviews. Small businesses that only sell on Amazon can take advantage of that platform's built-in reviews system. There's also Angie's List, Foursquare, Facebook, Choice, Consumer Reports, Yelp, Google My Business, TrustRadius, Glassdoor and more. Any of these sources can give you a look inside the mind of your customers. They just don't all have a separate analytics arm to help you understand that feedback.
Trustpilot is a consumer review platform based in Denmark. It helps companies collect customer reviews through a third-party rather than through their own website. The basic version is free, but the paid version lets you create customizable review invitations. The company claims 1.2 million new reviews are posted each month.
TestFreaks is a similar platform, based in Sweden. It also offers a review analytics and monitoring tool. Businesses can use their tool to spot positive and negative review patterns, and track your progress as you seek to improve or benchmark competitor products.
No matter how you gather customer feedback, take the time to learn what your customers are trying to tell you. Then act on that advice to help your business grow.