The Humble Product Review

2009 July 3

Samsung began to hear complaints that the speaker on the side of their flat-panel TV was too wide for many customers’ entertainment sets. Consumer product reviews were buzzing around the web. Samsung listened and redesigned the product to hide the speakers underneath. Win-Win for customer and Samsung.

Abbey Klaassen of Advertising Age recently wrote about how marketers are beginning to listen. There’s a lot of hoopla about Twitter and Facebook for customer service channels and albeit they’re useful, I agree with Klaassen that “the humble product review,” has culturally changed the consumer-criticism channel.

“The feedback is altering not just how the marketing department works but also how companies design their products and work with suppliers.” I work with bloggers everyday and across each topical network, there’s an influencer speaking their mind(s), expressing their interest (or lack thereof) on products, ideas, brands and people.

Agencies that are now turning digital and leveraging social media as a viable tool often find a struggle to prove to their client the return on investment and evaluation. Reviews help turn social media conversations into insights that affect direct sales. This means negative and positive reviews are necessary. Twitter conversation isn’t structured. Data from reviews address a particular product.

Listed in the article are the right ways to use reviews:

  • Embrace the feedback: Both the positive and negative feedback provides hints to what your company is doing well and where improvement is needed. Don’t be afraid to encourage reviews and comments (even publicly) whether its on your homepage, blog or forum you create for customers.
  • Figure out who needs to know: Assign a team to read all the lowest reviews and ensure their reactions are timely and proactive.
  • Tout your customers’ favorites: Positive reviews make great ad copy. Use them in newsletters, on store shelves, etc.
  • Incorporate customer service: Use reviews (even negative ones) as early warning signs for customer support and service.
  • Don’t stop there: For example, Oriental Trading started with reviews but they grew to be so successful it has since changed into a website and robust community.

Have you written a review on your blog and had a reaction, directly from the company or brand? Why do you think honest, humble product reviews have leveraging power?

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