The Power of the Contact Center as a Rating Determinant
Focusing on Online Reviews Alone is Not Enough
The Internet has revolutionized the way customers interact with brands — and more importantly, how they make buying decisions. A
study by Cone Research revealed that 89 percent of customers trust online reviews, and four-out-of-five customers are inclined to abandon a purchase option if they discover it has received negative reviews. With nearly half of all consumers today using a combination of search and social media to fuel their purchasing decisions, having positive online reviews has become a vital part of every consumer-facing business.
Given these findings, brand managers may feel pressure to acquire as many positive online reviews as possible. The New York Times recently
reported that some are even willing to pursue creating fraudulent reviews to boost their standing. Still
others will go to great (and sometimes agitating) lengths to elicit legitimate positive reviews from their customers. This is where brands can become distracted from their core purpose.
Brands that spend too much time focusing on playing the review game can lose focus on crucial customer interactions, and even alienate customers with incessant polling and requests for reviews. Brands that concentrate on getting a job done, and doing so on time and well, understand that their customers expect them to meet their core needs every time.
There are few areas where customer perception of a brand is more vulnerable than at the contact center touch point, where customers approach representatives of brands with questions that need to be answered. Customers should not, and will not, distinguish a contact center from the brand they represent. As a result, the quality of this interaction will weigh heavily on customers’ perceptions of, and loyalty to, the brand, which will subsequently filter back to online review channels.
This is particularly true of brands whose products are complex, such as healthcare plan providers. These types of organizations require contact center agents who are well-trained experts, able to seamlessly answer complex inquiries while simultaneously representing brands’ services and offerings in a friendly, personalized manner.
Bottom line, brands that maximize their customer relationships through the contact center touch point can prevent backlash in other channels, ensuring that their current and prospective customers will not have negative reviews to post — or read — online.