Enabling The Voice of the Consumer

by Hayley Silver • ,

Over 12 years ago, with the introduction of our Customer Feedback & Ratings platform, BizRate.com innovated the web’s first retail customer satisfaction feedback loop. This widely adopted platform enables the voice of the consumer to openly provide feedback to retailers and other shoppers and simultaneously gives retailers the tools to listen to their customers and measure their satisfaction.

So pervasive is the platform’s use that, since its inception, it has captured over 100,000,000 consumer opinions from more 13,000 retailers. Given that every day, over 350,000 online shoppers are invited to rate their just completed shopping experience, it represents one of the more prolific sources of user generated content on the web. Retail brands as widely recognized as Saks, J. Crew, Ralph Lauren, Staples, Victoria’s Secret, REI and Zappos have been using the feedback loop and ratings platform for years to continuously monitor their customers’ satisfaction levels and to benchmark themselves against industry peers. And, retailers without quite the name recognition as those just mentioned but no less committed to their customers’ happiness also rely on this feedback loop. Names like Autobarn.com, backcountry.com, WorldOfWatches.com, and WineChateau.com not only use the platform to listen to their customers, but to help build their merchant reputation, which they accomplish – in part – when they become Customer Certified.

We are encouraged that retailers like Black Helmet Apparel actually celebrate their achievement in becoming Customer Certified as they did in a recent tweet. It’s something worth celebrating because retailers know that their customers use the BizRate feedback loop to express their frustration or, in the case of Amy Meehan, share their delight in how they’re treated by the stores at which they shop. Amy tweeted that she used the BizRate to successfully resolve an order fulfillment issue with MAC Cosmetics. And, I too have taken delight from the response I get from retailers when talking to them through the megaphone that is the BizRate survey. In May, I placed an order Ralph Lauren; I used the BizRate survey to express my surprise that standard shipping might take as many as 10 days (who can blame me when I’ve grown accustomed to Amazon Prime and Zappos’ free overnight shipping?!). Within 1 hour of submitting my feedback, I received an email from Ralph Lauren customer support that satisfactorily addressed my comment.

As effective as it is, the BizRate Customer Feedback & Ratings platform is not without limitations. A personal frustration is the absence of a social web that ties together all the Bizrate Merchant Ratings & Reviews. With all the ratings attributed to Online Shopper (the generic ID that we associate to all our reviewers), I have no idea who shopped where. Perhaps, I’d ascribe more credence to the reviews of a top 100 reviewer or to someone who rates multiple stores. We do know, though, that some shoppers have rated multiple purchases across a number of different stores. In fact, some dedicated customers have provided feedback to the same store for over 6 years. I, for one, would like to unmask this elusive Online Shopper and give her/him an identity by way of an account that lets them catalog and update their ratings and reviews of the stores at which they shop. I expect we’ll be able to do that in the coming year.

Going forward, we’d like to use this forum to showcase how retailers use the BizRate Customer Feedback & Ratings platform to listen to their customers, build their reputations and create long-term loyalty. We’ll also use it to provide more detail around the portfolio of products that comprise the platform and to introduce new features. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please contact us.

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