Friday, August 28, 2009

Burning Questions – Customizing your BizRate Survey

As many retailers know, the BizRate survey is comprised of a set of standard questions. These questions cover a variety of topics at both Point-of-Sale and Fulfillment including: overall satisfaction, shopping experience, delivery experience, product satisfaction and Customer Service. The best part about these questions is that since they are asked of all merchants who use our surveys, it is easy to compare yourself to other merchants.

What many retailers don’t realize, however, is that BizRate offers the opportunity to include some questions as well. Merchants can purchase up to 5 Point-of-Sale and/or 5 Fulfillment questions to be included with the custom survey. Some examples of popular topics include: Pre/Post analysis on site changes, checkout, browse/search and Customer Support. The questions can be anything you want – and we’re always happy to help with the wording. While these questions are custom to your site and cannot be benchmarked, they are a great way to see what your customers are looking for before you make a change, and then gauge satisfaction after a change. They can also be used to dig deeper in to issues that you know exist and then trended for improvement. Some examples of popular topics include: pre/post analysis on site changes, checkout, browse/search and Customer Support.

contact us if you would like to learn more about including custom questions in your survey.

Friday, August 21, 2009

What Are Your Customers Saying About You?

Earlier this week, I touched base with part of the online team from Hot Topic, Inc., which operates brick and mortar and online retail stores under the Hot Topic, Torrid and ShockHound brands. On the call were Brita Womack, Director of; Tricia Burch, Producer for; and supporting all three sites, Deanna Steele, Director of Internet Operations; Joy Hussey, Customer Service Manager; and Tracy Hagerman, Online Marketing Manager.

Hot Topic’s commitment to customer satisfaction is evidenced by the 16 collective years that they’ve been using the BizRate Ratings & Customer Feedback Platform. Hot Topic has utilized the BizRate Ratings & Customer Feedback Platform since 2000, during which time it has maintained its Customer Certified standing and has collected over 150,000 customer ratings! has been using the ratings and feedback platform since 2002; it too is Customer Certified and has compiled over 50,000 customer reviews.

During our call, we talked about the feedback tools that Hot Topic uses, how they use them to validate insights, and some of the features and services they’d like to see us offer.

Hot Topic uses the BizRate Customer Feedback Form to collect customer ratings and reviews, as well as our very popular VitalMail and VitalSigns service. The Hot Topic team uses data collected through our feedback survey to monitor trends in overall customer satisfaction. But, more importantly, they use the data to validate feedback they receive from their customers. For example, the team believed that they could better serve customers’ needs with respect to order shipping, in terms of both rates and the range of shipping options. Using the responses from the BizRate Feedback Form related to customers’ satisfaction with shipping, the team was able to validate their belief. And, with this data, they are a introducing some programs and promotions that will better address their customers’ shipping preferences.

Hot Topic’s most widely applied use of the ratings & feedback tools is in understanding what their customers are saying about them and their shopping experience and customer service experiences. Joy Hussey, who’s been with the company for about 8 years, shared with me that the team also relies heavily on our VitalMail and VitalSigns products, both of which provide specific customer comments that are collected through the feedback form. In cases where customers grant permission (in the feedback form) to share their email address, Hot Topic proactively contacts their customers to follow-up with them about the comments they made.

I also asked Hot Topic what they’d like to see from us going forward. They identified four opportunities where we could better serve them. They are:

  1. Offer the ability to customize questions on their customer feedback form
  2. Better support on customers’ questions about survey incentives and promotions
  3. Faster turn-around time on adding subscribers to VitalMail
  4. Offer a visitor and cart abandonment survey product

I was able to address most of these areas of opportunity during our call.

Custom Questions: Merchants can customize question in their feedback form; this is offered as premium, fee-based service.

Better Support on Survey Incentives: We utilize various incentives and promotions, such as our popular Daily Cash Giveaway, to help drive response to the surveys. We have a dedicated customer service team that handles all inquires about these incentives and promotions. When your customers contact you with questions or issues related to these promotions, you may simply direct them to our customer service team; we’ll immediately and professionally follow-up with these respondents on your behalf and, then we’ll circle back with you on the resolution of the issue.

Faster Turn-Around on Adding Subscribers to VitalMail and QuickResponse: We’re aware that this is an issue. We hope to better address this in the coming year by offering self-service subscription management to these products.

Visitor & Cart Abandonment Survey: We are currently in beta with a product that offers precisely this. Currently, we have one well-known, branded retailer using the product. (In the coming weeks, we’ll reveal in this blog who it is and what their thoughts are about it).

So, while in our first user interview with, we heard about how they rely on the BizRate Ratings to help boost their rankings in Google Product Search, in this second interview, learned about how Hot Topic uses our products to find out what their customers are saying about them.

Thank you Brita, Deanna, Joy, Tracy and Tricia for taking the time to speak with me.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

VitalMail - Get Your Scores Daily

Vitalmail is a report that is useful to everyone in a company – from Customer Service Mangers to Executives alike. This report is not only free, but you can begin to receive it as soon as your first Point-of-Sale Survey is completed.

So what exactly is VitalMail? VitalMail is a daily snapshot of your organization’s performance. The day following any completed Point-of-Sale surveys, you will receive a VitalMail email containing your aggregated scores for BizRate’s standard Point-of-Sale and Fulfillment questions. Not only will you be able to see scores for the past day, but VitalMail also provides rolling scores for the past week and two-week time periods for comparison. In addition to scores, you will also get a random sample of five Point-of-Sale and five Fulfillment comments to review.

The VitalMail email is available to anyone in your company. Individuals can request to be added or a company distribution email can be provided to allow you to quickly and easily manage the distribution on your end. If you would like to learn more, please logon to the
merchant site and login. You can see samples and learn more via the Research & Ratings tab or simply contact us and provide the desired email address(es).

Monday, August 10, 2009

Find Your Metrics Fast

One of the most common questions I get form merchants is “I use the BizRate survey, but where can I find my scores?” In addition to the number of free monthly reports that we produce, merchants can always access their data via the Merchant Site. By logging in with your secure username and password, you can gain access to 30 rolling days of customer scores and comments for the standard Point-of-Sale and Fulfillment metrics as well as comments by week or by day. Finding the data is easy – just look under the Research & Ratings tab and click ‘VitalSigns’ then choose either “Performance Summary” for data or “Comments”.

Performance Summary – You can view data for 17 metrics with just the click of a mouse, including:
· Ease of Finding What You’re Looking For (POS)
· Overall Look/Design of Site (POS)
· Selection of Products (POS)
· Clarity of Product Information (POS)
· Charges Stated Clearly Before Order Submission (POS)
· Prices Relative to Other Online Merchants (POS)
· Variety of Shipping Options (POS)
· Shipping Charges (POS)
· Availability of Product You Wanted (FF)
· On-Time Delivery (FF)
· Product Met Expectations (FF)
· Customer Support (FF)
· Order Tracking (FF)
· Would Shop Here Again (FF)
· Overall Rating (FF)

You can choose to view all of these metrics, or just the ones that you are focused on by choosing the check box next to each area. The POS metrics are pre-selected, but you can choose to de-select them as well.

Comments – One of the most popular uses for VitalSigns is downloading comments. The comments include the data, comment and email address for those who have agreed to share their information; for customers who have not agreed to share, the email address appears as If you have not signed up and would like to get started, then please contact us.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

QuickResponse Allows You To Do The Unexpected

One of the most effective and popular tools in BizRate's suite of customer feedback products is QuickResponse. Its simplicity is what makes QuickResponse so useful.

Here's how it works: QuickResponse is a triggered email (to an address that you designate) that contains the open-ended comments that your customer leave in when they complete the BizRate Ratings & Feedback Form. Your buyers leave comments, they can characterize the tone of their comments as either positive or negative (or both), and they can attribute the topic to range of a topics, from billing to shipping charges.

BizRate's Ratings & Feedback platform also allows retailers to pass customers' order numbers and up to five product SKUs into the feedback form. When retailers use this Data Pass Through feature, we pipe these values into the QuickResponse email, which enables retailers to quickly associate the comments to a specific customers' order.

Below is a sample QuickResponse email; it originates with your buyers' email address as the From Address and can be directed to multiple email addresses with your organization.

Most retailers that subscribe to QuickResponse have the emails directed to their customer service operations. This allows subscribers to promptly respond to budding customer service issues before they erupt into something unmanageable.

QuickResponse Allows You To Do the Unexpected.
Everyone has a personal story about how a retailer or service provider has done something so out of the ordinary that it causes even disgruntled customers to pause with delight and converts them into evangelists or promoters. One of the most compelling applications of QuickResponse is to do just that; something that is so unexpected that it leaves your customers delighted and feeling valued.

In my inaugural post, I noted how Ralph Lauren delighted and surprised me with a prompt and genuine response to a comment I left in the BizRate feedback form after making an online purchase. I've since made another purchase at Ralph Lauren (what can I say, I'm an emerging Shopaholic) and left another comment in the feedback form. Again, Ralph Lauren promptly responded to my comments in a way that left me feeling like a valued customer.

Ralph Lauren, along with countless other retailers, uses BizRate's QuickResponse to unexpectedly delight their customers with prompt responses to their feedback and comments, to avert customer service snafus and to simply stay in-touch with their actual buyers. In doing so, they build loyalty and boost their customer satisfaction.

So, if you're already using the BizRate Customer Feedback Platform but aren't subscribing to QuickResponse, all you need to do is tell us where to send your customer comments. It's even easier than getting started and it too, is free.