Online ratings and reviews can offer valuable insights into what customers are really thinking. But what happens when that feedback isn’t the whole story?
Operating in today’s digital age forces most merchants into a love-hate relationship with online reviews. On one hand, knowing the opinions (both positive and negative) of your customers is a great way to ensure you’re delivering the best experience possible. On the other hand, that online commentary could come from people who’ve never actually interacted with your brand.
And the results of negative feedback, especially from people who may not even be your customers, can have lasting impacts on your topline. Online customer ratings and reviews influence the purchasing decisions of nearly 82% of U.S. adults, according to the Pew Research Center.
However, there’s actually hope in the “silent majority,” and it starts with bridging the gap between timely customer feedback and the brick-and-mortar shopping journey.
Who is the Silent Majority?
While there are some exceptions, our research shows that most customer feedback falls within the well-established 90-9-1 principle:
- 90% of customers never leave feedback
- 9% are the outliers, occasionally providing a one-star or five-star rating, but not much in between
- 1% consistently share feedback
The data may not seem encouraging but it sheds light on an opportunity for merchants to reach real customers who aren’t leaving feedback. Empowered with the ratings and reviews of genuine customers, businesses can make realistic and informed improvements.
What Customers (Don’t) Want
For many customers, the biggest barrier to providing feedback is time. And if your survey or poll isn’t convenient, customers won’t find value in sharing their two cents. For nearly 80% of consumers, the ability for a company to respect their time is the most important part of providing good service.
Unfortunately, many businesses miss the mark. With short attention spans and little patience for filling out surveys, customers may see invitations to customer satisfaction surveys located on receipts or sent via email as a nuisance.
Providing an incentive or “chance to win” doesn’t always help fight off survey fatigue, either. Plus, data can’t always be counted on when it’s coming from customers who may put in the minimal effort needed to answer questions and receive their prize. If you’re serious about gaining more valuable feedback from your customers, it will require a change in your approach.
Why Simple Wins
Customers are more likely to respond when the process to share feedback doesn’t impede the shopping experience. That’s why asking their opinions right at the payment terminal or immediately after payment online is such a game changer.
In fact, our research shows that questions asked in real time at the point of sale have an average in-store response rates of 88%. And the feedback given is 40% more accurate when it happens at the moment of purchase, vs. surveys completed at a later time, according to research from Gartner.
Since time is always of the essence, make sure you’re asking the minimum number of questions needed to get the most actionable feedback from your customer base. Keeping things short and sweet can make all the difference when it comes to gauging customer satisfaction. Additionally, collecting real-time POS feedback guarantees the results are from real customers — not those who have simply gone online to voice their opinion of your business.
By tacking on a brief question at the end of the payment process, you can receive insights that will lead to smarter, more relevant business decisions. Instant feedback from ratings and reviews not only gives the silent majority a voice but can also help you take customer experiences and engagement to the next level.
Georgina Nelson is CEO and founder of TruRating