In today’s world, it’s almost impossible to imagine buying anything without checking at least a few reviews on Yelp, TripAdvisor, or Amazon, right? As shoppers, we have come to trust on user reviews as the most reliable and influential source of information when considering a purchase. In that regard, we’ve finally caught up with Brands.
Brands don’t look to promotional materials when evaluating the market, they check with the actual consumers.
Qualitative and quantitative interviews, CRM records and the very same user reviews and ratings you and I check before making a purchase; whatever the form, consumer feedback has always been an indispensable resource to the business decision making process. It is becoming apparent that user reviews and ratings drive the consumer purchase journey: according to Spiegel, 95% of consumers will not complete a transaction without reading at least a few reviews about it.
Add to it that, per Harvard Business Review, every star improvement in a product generates an average of 9% more revenue and you’ll understand the importance of reviews for manufacturers and retailers.
Even though that’s the case, most of these companies are still struggling to create a process that really leverages user reviews to focus on measuring and improving (or changing) aspects of their product or buying experience to improve overall consumer satisfaction and their NPS. And that makes sense, because it’s not easy to do so. That’s why we’re going to propose an easy way for that in this post.
User reviews: a key source for NPS measurement
The NPS – Net Promoter Score – is one of the most used ways to measure consumer sentiment. The beauty of it lies in the fact that its approach is pretty straightforward and powerful at the same time, as it can not only be used to measure satisfaction, but also be used as a proxy for retention.
Using user reviews to measure NPS can be even more powerful for a few given reasons: first, reviews are a spontaneous source of feedback – which normally means they are a closer perception of reality. Second, they are also a rich source of feedback, having details related to key product attributes and other elements of the buying journey that were relevant according to consumers’ expectations.
Finally, user reviews are a well-known source of research and validation for other consumers – with 84% of consumers trusting other reviews as much as personal recommendations. That means they have probably the strongest correlation with a real promoter score than anything else, making measuring them almost essential to understand the impact of a dissatisfied or dissatisfied customer on sales. That said, there’s no doubt that using user reviews as an ongoing and important way of measuring NPS is necessary. But is that enough?
Key Benefits You Can Get From Analyzing Consumer Reviews
Even though measuring NPS using user reviews proves to be key for any consumer-facing company, this should be just the beginning. While the NPS is measured with a simple score from 1 to 10, reviews have a qualitative aspect besides the star ratings: the content written by each consumer.
When writing reviews, your audience is telling you exactly what the attributes are – from the product, the service, and the buying experience – that make them love, hate, or feel neutral about your products and brand. They are also giving signals of what other hidden elements were relevant to them and are tying that all to a rating that helps to discover the importance of each one of these aspects to their overall satisfaction.
And, that means a lot.
These are some of the things you can learn from analyzing user reviews in a way that goes beyond counting number of reviews and connecting average ratings to NPS:
- Find keywords that better explain your product – is there a specific way consumers talk about a feature or your overall product? Maybe you could use these words to explain your product in a more friendly way.
- Discover audiences to communicate with – is there a specific niche that acts more positively towards your product? You can target that profile with specific acquisition campaigns – and mention them in your product description.
- Learn about innovative ways your clients are using your products – discover opportunities of exploring new markets with the same products or even to create new products for specific product usages mentioned by real consumers.
- Discover and prioritize key issues that consumers are having with a product or service – as you find opportunities, you will also discover common issues faced by consumers, whether it’s with a product or service. This will also allow you to measure how big that issue is based on how many times it appears and how much it affects satisfaction, which makes it easier to prioritize what you should fix.
- Discover areas of doubt that can be better explained – in some cases, the issue can be as simple as explaining a function better or adding a Q&A session to a product.
A Framework for Using Consumer Reviews to Measure – and Go Beyond -NPS Measurement
Now that we know all the possible benefits we can capture out of analyzing consumer reviews, it’s time to propose a simple yet powerful approach to it. This framework involves 5 steps: identify attributes, extract keywords, weight ratings, correlate data, extract the insights.
Let’s quickly cover each one of them.
First, you need to identify the key attributes consumers talk about in their reviews and how they relate to your business. These attributes are normally related to the product (product attributes), the usage of the product (what are people doing with the product? What is the proble they are solving with it? We call it jobs-to-be-done), any interaction with brand representatives, like customer service, warranty, stores, etc., and the overall buying experience in the e-commerce store (from product description to delivery).
Once you identify the attributes, you need to find the keywords in each review that relate to them. This is the step that consumes more time as you should expect several new reviews every day – 62% more reviews are written every year according to IDG.
The third and fourth steps are related to correlating the NPS (measured on a scale from 1 to 10) to the ratings (measured on a scale from 1 to 5) and then connecting that evaluation to each of the identified attributes. That is not a simple task, especially considering that some reviews have both positive and negative feelings towards elements of the experience, even though they have a single rating. The ideal, in this case, would be to weight each attribute’s sentiment against the ratings, but that would need an automated model.
The final step – the most important one! – is to analyze all the results. Which attributes commonly appeared in the five-star ratings – thus having a higher NPS?
Which attributes are turning consumers into detractors?
Is there a specific retailer or audience that has a different pattern from the rest?
Is there a trending attribute that you never explored – or a correlation between growth in sales and a specific attribute?
This is not a simple framework, but, once applied, it will allow you to constantly monitor what consumers are saying, turning that into a well-known KPI, and using both to quickly learn what is changing to take action, solve problems, and leverage opportunities.