Thursday, November 6th, 2008
Recently, Yahoo merchant Bob Shirilla — owner of Keepsakes, Etc. and Simply Bags — took the time to write us about the Customer Ratings feature, and how useful he’s found it for understanding his customers and their experiences with his store. He noted, "Many people will only call us when their expectations were not met. The Customer Ratings survey encourages clients to provide comments on products, pricing, delivery, ease of purchase, and general customer service. We’ve gained valuable information and changed internal processes from the comments left by customers."
While Customer Ratings is not a new feature, Bob’s note is a good reminder for merchants not using this feature to enable it in checkout, as the information that’s collected from customers can serve your business well. For merchants who aren’t familiar with this feature, Customer Ratings provides an easy, automated way to collect feedback from your customers about shopping and post-order experiences. When this feature is enabled in checkout, customers can choose to have Yahoo send them an email, asking them to rate the merchant. Customers who choose this option will be sent an email with a link to a ratings form several weeks after completing their transaction.
If you belong to Yahoo Shopping, ratings will let shoppers see how customers have ranked you. Good ratings can help you gain customer confidence, can play a key part in shoppers choosing to buy from you rather than from your competition, and may improve your ranking in shopping search results.
The screen shot above comes from Yahoo Shopping product search results. On the right, underneath the price listing and business name, Keepsakes Etc.’s rating is displayed to potential customers. I asked Bob if he could tell me a bit about how he’s used Customer Ratings feedback to improve his business and maintain a five-star rating, and to share some advice for new merchants also looking to achieve a high level of customer satisfaction and good ratings.
What’s the most valuable feedback you’ve received from customers, through their use of Customer Ratings?
Learning the importance our customer places on fast shipment of their purchase, and how much our customers appreciate us communicating the status of an order throughout the delivery process.
What changes have you made as a result of feedback from customers who provide ratings?
At first, we tried to drop-ship but found that just did not give the level of service required to retain customers. Now, we warehouse almost all of our products on-site. At Keepsakes Etc., we also implemented an order management system to ensure accuracy and timeliness of our products and service.
Can you share some examples of things your stores do that help you achieve "Excellent" ratings and repeat business?
At both Keepsakes Etc. and Simply Bags we go beyond the basics to give customers more than they expect. For example, our free gift bag and gift card make for a personalized gift and a striking presentation. Just because a client makes an Internet purchase, doesn’t mean they want a gift in a plain paper wrapper. (Good point, and one that we can’t emphasize enough. You can also read a previous post to the blog for more “beyond the basics” ideas. — Jennifer)
We also focus on exceeding the stated availability and delivery of our products. By keeping popular products (such as our throw blankets) in stock, we can ship almost all of our orders on the same day our order was placed. We’ve read numerous comments from customers stating that they can’t believe how fast they received their purchase and because of this, they plan to purchase again.
Do you have any customer service tips or advice for new merchants, that can also help them achieve good ratings?
For new merchants looking to achieve good ratings and repeat business, I recommend:
- Having a real person answer the phone every time it rings.
- Being knowledgeable about your product.
- Ensuring your website accurately represents your product.
- Finding a way to deliver more than the customer expects.
Thank you for your tips, Bob, and for taking the time to write us about your use of this feature.
If you’d like to learn how to enable Customer Ratings for your store, please see our online help. And if you have a store feature you’d like to see highlighted, please let us know!
Yahoo Small Business