Bazaarvoice: Don't Just Stand There, Say Something!
Brand engagement platform Bazaarvoice, whose Connections service distributes the brand's voice across its retail network, used a New York City event to debut its sixth Conversation Index Report on Tuesday. The study examines the extent to which a brand's expeditious response to consumer product reviews -- and perhaps even the occasional expression of misplaced calumny -- can give a healthy boost to brand perception and intent to purchase.
Participating on a panel during the event were Julie Tisera, manager, social media outreach, GE Appliances, and Lyndon Mueller, VP ecommerce at Home Depot.
Bazaarvoice set the tone with some compelling data garnered from an analysis of some 100,000 pieces of its own user content, and from a survey by Wakefield Research that it commissioned. The study finds that when a brand responds to product misuse issues with corrective advice, it gets a 186% improvement in purchase intent and 157% increase in product sentiment. Brands that respond with offers to refund, upgrade or exchange products see a 92% improvement in purchase intent, and an 88% improvement in product sentiment, per the study.
The research also finds that health and beauty brands that offer responses to product reviews are 15 times more likely to be voted helpful by consumers, and brands in the office-supplies category are six times more likely to be considered helpful. For hardware brands, the positive multiplier is 2.75; it's 2.3 for financial services; CPG brands see a three-fold improvement; footwear a 2.4 fold increase; and brands in consumer electronics are 2 times more likely to be seen as helpful by consumers who view company responses to consumer reviews.
GE Appliances uses Bazaarvoice Connections as a platform for responding to customer content at Home Depot's consumer site, per Tisera. She said the company has a dedicated response staff to listen and respond to reviewers and promulgators of brand sentiment. That wasn't always the case.
"We knew consumers were reaching out to us but we weren't listening or engaging with them, so that's when we realized we needed to put more effort around social," said Tisera. "We started on Facebook and Twitter but needed to build a back-room team. If you are going to be here, you need to be all in. So we basically created a group of customer service reps."
She says the company also brought in its manufacturing plant to participate in answers to more difficult product questions. "Some are more difficult to answer online because consumers just aren't in the store," she says. "So we have built a connection with our manufacturing plants; we have product engineers who get involved, finding the specs a consumer might be looking for. The next challenge is to take that data and make it more accessible."
Mueller said Home Depot streamlined operations to best respond to comments, suggestions and complaints. “We took our disparate social media and moved them into one group.” He said that about 34% of questions posted by consumers on its Bazaarvoice Connections-powered digital town square are answered by vendors, 34% coming from consumers.