10 Top E-commerce Rating & Review Platforms To Build Trust & Credibility

Why are customer ratings & reviews important?

Updated 21st July 2017:

  • Customer review software improves your visibility in search engines and social media and increase click-through rates.

Online WoM or user generated content can be a powerful influence on visitor behaviour. Due to our social nature people are heavily influenced by the behaviour and opinions of others.  This is why indicators of social proof, such as testimonials or product ratings,  can be so persuasive on websites.

Proxy for trust and credibility:

People use social proof as an indication of how trustworthy a website or app might be. If a site appears popular and has good reviews it provides reassurance to visitors that it is likely to be a genuine site.

People also know that a site with a good reputation is less likely to sell faulty or sub-standard goods or services because they might damage their brand reputation if they did so. Social proof is especially influential when we are faced with uncertainty, such as when buying something for the first time. This is why displaying ratings and reviews for products or services can be so powerful.

A large number of ratings can help build trust and credibility of your site and provides guidance for customers on which products people are most satisfied with. This helps to reduce anxiety about your site and the products you sell.

Customer ratings & review software:

Here are ten of the most popular e-commerce customer rating and review software platforms to help build trust and credibility on your site.

My personal recommendation is Trustist Reviewer as this is an innovative, but competitively priced solution which has been developed by people who have previously worked in e-commerce.

For other other digital marketing solutions see my free conversion toolbox and my conversion marketing glossary which has many real-life examples of A/B tests that I have completed.

E-Commerce Customer Review Software:

1.  TRUSTist REVIEWer: – Recommended!

Image of Trustistreviewer.com home page

A new but innovative approach to ratings and reviews. TRUSTist will set up and aggregate existing reviews and customer testimonials from the web and social media to immediately get stars in your search results. The simple copy and paste code snippet integration means that all maintenance, including making changes to respond to policy updates from Google, is handled by TRUSTist.

You will also get stars in your natural search results for your website (not on their site). This will generate more traffic and higher click through rate. TRUSTist will provide you with a platform to collect on-going reviews using email and your websites. This helps keep the content current and will provide SEO benefits.

No costs are shown on the site, but I understand they are highly competitive and it is well worth getting a quote for comparison purposes. It is ideal for large and small e-commerce retailers.

2. Bazaarvoice:

Image of Bazaarvoice.com homepage

Offers a suite of applications via a cloud based user generated content engine that  helps you capture, manage and respond to customer input to grow your business. This covers 5 core products;

  1. Conversations encourages customers to review products, ask questions, give answers and share stories.
  2. Connections manages responses to shopper questions & reviews across their network of retail sites.
  3. Local makes authentic customer reviews available on your website and on the sites of local providers that carry your brand.
  4. Curations pull authentic, moderated social media content into your buying experience by displaying it on your website.
  5. Media engages active shoppers online and in-store via their ad targeting technology.

Bazaarvoice claim their clients see an average 65% lift in revenue per visit and 52% uplift in conversion on product pages with ratings and reviews. They also see a 98% average conversion uplift when shoppers engage in Q&A on major retail sites.  Has over 3,500 clients.

3. Feefo:

Feefo Homepage image

A customer rating and reviews software solution that provides qualified reviews from real customers who have made a purchase from your organisation. Every review can be shared across social platforms and with the Feefo Facebook app you can automatically position reviews into the heart of your social engagement strategy.

As a Google Licensed Content Partner, Feefo submits ratings and reviews on behalf of merchants to be included in to Google’s listings.  Offers a Free trial period to try out the service.

4. Powerreviews: 

Image of Powerreviews.com homepage

Provides a consumer engagements engine for over 1,000 brands to collect customer reviews and answer questions from consumers.

  1. The consumer engagement engine powers ratings and reviews and Q&A solutions that have resulted in more than 22 million reviews.
  2. Their syndication network distributes reviews to all major retailers and search engines.
  3. Measures social traffic, engagement and content generation and determine how they drive traffic, conversion and sales.
  4. Provides strategy, implementation, moderation and management services to ensure best practices are established.

5. Reviews.co.uk:

Image of Review.co.uk homepage

A single platform for company, product and in-store customer ratings and reviews.

  1. Product and merchant reviews to increase trust online.
  2. Retain control of the process via real-time moderation, reply function and customisable review request emails.
  3. Review booster – delivers star ratings in Google by contacting previous customers to obtain a boost in the amount of reviews you collect.
  4. Social integration – links up to your Twitter account so that you are constantly updating fresh content. Every time you recieve a 4 or 5 star rating it will update your Twitter feed.
  5. Their iOS & Android app allows you to manage and receive email alerts shortly after a customers leaves a 1 or 2 star review to provide the opportunity for an immediate response.

Has over 3,000 customers using their platform.

6. Reziew: 

Image of Reziew.com homepage

A customer review  software that allows companies to collect, manage and benefit from consumer reviews/feedback. Rezview can be used by anyone with a website who wants to capture, manage and display customer reviews and ratings. Integration only requires you to paste a small JavaScript tag onto your product template to start capturing and displaying consumer reviews.

The system is available in English, French, German, Spanish and Japanese. Free 30 day trial available.

7. TrustFreaksdata:

Image of Trustfreaksdata.com homepage

TrustFreaksdata is the business solution to TrustFreaks.com which is a Swedish-based platform that allows organisations to proactively collect customer reviews. Seller reviews are also collected and moderated by TrustFreaks to ensure impartiality in maintained.

The platform allows you to instantly achieve critical mass for product reviews as TrustFreaks aggregates thousands of expert and consumer review sources and will match them to your product feed. Their question and answer feature allows site visitors to post questions and receive answers directly from your customer support team.

TrustFreaks is used by online retailers in over 30 countries.

8. Trustpilot:

Image of Trustpilot.com homepage

Trustpilot is a community-driven customer review platform from Denmark, but is now established in over 60 countries, including the UK and U.S. The software allows organisations to proactively collect both product and seller reviews from customers.

In the UK the e-commerce retailer AO.com extensively uses Trustpilot reviews on its whole site, including on category and product pages. Trustpilot offer a free basic version to create a profile page and collect customer reviews. The subscription service allows you to create customisable review invitations, share content on social media and integrate the platform with your internal business systems.

Trustpilot collects 20,000 new reviews each day or over 750,000 each month. It has a total database of over 26 million reviews of 152,000 businesses and counting.

I’ve read some mixed reviews on Trustpilot if your site doesn’t have a high volume of visitors. The service costs from around £10,000 a year and so calculate your likely response rate to ensure it is value for money.

9.TurnTo:

Image of TurnTonetworks.com homepage

Customer review software that captures four types of user generated content; ratings and reviews, community questions & answers, visual reviews (phone-based capture) and micro-reviews at point-of-sale. The platform integrates with your business systems to deliver a personalised user experience that captures more content than most other review software on the market.

10. Yotpo:

Yotpo customer reviews page image

A  suite of solutions including product reviews that is deeply integrated with social media which means that it is easy to share customer reviews with your business’s Facebook page and Twitter account which drives qualified traffic. The core features cover:

  1. Review generation – Delivers automated, fully-customisable and mobile responsive emails after purchase which includes upsells in all review request to increase lifetime value. A one-step submission process also increases the number of reviews received.
  2. On-site –  Full customization of widgets, with all reviews labelled with a trust badge, the ability to ask buyers questions and includes in-depth information on each reviewer to help buyers qualify relevance.
  3. Retention – Focus on lifetime value of each customer through the use of post-purchase coupons, ability to comment on reviews and community Q&A.
  4. Marketing – Social integration allows you to automatically share your best reviews on Facebook and Twitter to increase their reach.  Yotpo ads and email upsells leverage your reviews to bring quality traffic to your site.
  5. SEO – Increases your SEO visibility by showing your reviews and ratings on Google and offers the ability to display your reviews across Google Shopping and search with product listing ads.

Conclusion:

Visitors have become accustomed to major websites such as Amazon displaying product ratings and reviews on relevant pages. This has led to a huge increase in user generated content and an expectation that genuine sites automatically display ratings and reviews to assist users.

This means that sites that fail to encourage customer ratings and reviews may be perceived to be less trustworthy. It also likely that conversion rates will not be as high on sites that fail to display customer ratings and reviews. I recommend Trustist Reviewer, but always check out other solutions to get comparative quotes.

Thank you for reading my post. If you found it of interest please share this post by clicking on the social media icons below. Also see examples of social proof in my glossary of conversion marketing.

 

You can view my full Digital Marketing and Optimization Toolbox here.

To browse links to all my posts on one page please click here.

  • About the author:  Neal provides digital marketing optimisation consultancy services and has worked for  brands such as Deezer.comFoxybingo.com, Very.co.ukpartypoker.com and Bgo.com. He uses a variety of techniques, including web analytics, personas, customer journey analysis and customer feedback to improve a website’s conversion rate.
  • Neal has had articles published on website optimisation on Usabilla.com  and as an ex-research and insight manager on the GreenBook Blog research website.  If you wish to contact Neal please send an email to neal.cole@conversion-uplift.co.uk. You can follow Neal on Twitter @northresearch, see his LinkedIn profile or connect on Facebook.

Cross-Cultural Website Design & Optimisation

Design and Culture:

Digital marketing and website optimisation is about getting visitors to take action. But what if your visitors come from a range of different countries and cultures?  Will one strategy work for all of your different site visitors? Design and culture are highly interrelated and yet little allowance is often made by some websites for cross-cultural influences.

The Power of Culture on Conversions:

 

Culture has a deep and pervasive influence on how people perceive and react to web content. For global brands in particular it  is important to consider how people from different cultures interpret and respond to such variants as colour, language,  images  and technology to be able to serve optimal content.

Design does not evolve in a cultural vacuum. McDonald’s for instance has a separate website and uses different colours for every country they operate in. They do not attempt to have a consistent brand design and website for consistency’s sake.

Singapore                                               Russia

Image of McDonalds homepage for Singapore and Russia

   Germany                                       Brazil

Image of McDonalds hompeage for Germany and Brazil

The most influential research studies on cultural differences in
communication were conducted by the anthropologists  Geert Hofstede while at IBM and Edward T Hall when he taught inter- cultural communications skills at the US State Department.  Their research studies are a must for anyone wanting to develop culturally responsive design and content as they provide many important insights into how people from different cultures process and respond to information and imagery.

A Framework for Understanding Cultural Dimensions:

 

Professor Geert Hofstede conducted probably the most comprehensive study of how cultural values vary by country between 1967 and 1973. Whilst working for IBM he analysed data from over 70 countries and has since utilised further studies,
such as the World Values Survey, to validate and refine his cultural dimensions theory. This identifies 6 cultural dimensions that can be used to explain observed differences between cultures.

 

Hofstede’s 6 Cultural Dimensions:

 

Image of Hofstede’s 6 Cultural Dimensions
Image Source:

 

 

1. The Power Distance Index – How is power distributed in a
culture? The Power Distance Index is the degree to which people accept and expect inequality in a society. Cultures that score low on this dimension  will seek to reduce the level of inequality and expect justification for where it does exist.

2. Individualism versus collectivism – Is a person’s self-image defined by “I” or “we”? In Western cultures, we tend to focus on the
needs and wants of the individual. Conversely, Eastern cultures place the needs of the collective ahead of individual.

3. Masculinity – Does a culture have a preference for
achievement, heroism, assertiveness and material rewards? If so, to what degree? In this context, femininity translates to collaboration, modesty, caring and quality of life.

4. Uncertainty Avoidance – How comfortable does a society
feel with uncertainty and ambiguity? A high score indicates a society that has formal rules and policies and are often intolerant of unorthodox behaviour and ideas. They also like to plan for every eventuality and are more concerned about product specifications than societies that score lower on this dimension.

5. Long Term Orientation – This describes a culture’s time
orientation – long-term vs short term. Scoring low means a culture favours long-standing norms and is suspicious of societal change. Cultures that score high are pragmatic and take a long-term view of business.

6. Indulgence versus Restraint – Does a culture restrain or
indulge in fun and instant gratification? A high score means a culture
encourages instant gratification and enjoying life and having fun.  Low scores reflect strict social norms which suppress indulgent behaviour.

 

Free Resource on Cultural Differences:

Data from over 100 countries has been made available in the Country Comparison tool by the Hofstede Centre. This is very useful if you’re trying to boost conversions in a cross-cultural context.

Image of cultural comparison chart for USA, Japan & Sweden
Image Source:

 

For instance, this chart shows us that Japan scores much lower on
individualism than the United States. This suggests that web content in Japan needs to focus more on the community and relationships, rather than showing pictures of individuals in isolation. Japanese people don’t like to stand out from the crowd and are more likely to put the needs of society before personal preferences.

Their high score for masculinity reflects their competitive drive
for excellence and perfection, together with a strong work ethic. These values should be reflected in web content through both high
quality imagery
and messaging about how the product quality cannot be beaten.

At 92 Japan is one of the most uncertainty avoiding countries in
the World as they like to plan for every eventuality. This means Japanese people usually won’t make a decision until they have reviewed all the facts and figures. Risk assessment and planning tools, as well as detailed and fact based information, could help boost conversions in that cultural context.

 

6 Dimensions of Culture – Country
Comparison

 

Image of table showing Hofstede’s 6 cultural dimension values by country

Cultural Preferences and Facebook

Art preferences are affected by cultural norms and tends. For example, a study of over 400 Western and East Asian portraits found that the subject’s face on average made up around 15% of the total area of the picture in Western art compared to just 4% on average in East Asian portraits.

However, one study that analysed Facebook profile photos found that 12% of Americans’ photos lacked any background – compared to only 1% of photos from  the Far East. Both our art and Facebook profiles reflect our cultural ideals and preoccupations that influence our behaviour in all kinds of ways.

Image of Facebook profile photos showing cultural differences
Image Source:

 

Western culture emphasizes individualistic and independent traits.  People focus on their own face and pay less attention to the background. Eastern culture emphasizes communal and interdependent traits. There is more of a tendency to include context (e.g. the background) and other people in their pictures.

Image of how culture influences how people frame photos

Low Context vs High Context Cultures:

 

Image of diagram illustrating low and high context cultures
Image Source:

The anthropologist Edward T Hall identified differences between high and low-context cultures in how they communicate routine
messages:

  • High-context cultures  (e.g. China and Japan) have many
    ‘unwritten rules’.
  • Low-context cultures (e.g. the United States) leave little left
    to interpretation. “It is what it is.”
Image of table showing Hall's theory of high and low context societies
Image Source:

Low context and high context cultures relate to a number of cultural traits, including commitment, trust, overtness – and even time.

 

Monochronic vs Polychronic Cultures:

People in low context cultures often have a monochronic
perception. This means they see time as tangible and sequential. They follow strict time schedules, focus on one task at a time and set deadlines that they aim to meet at all costs.

High context cultures tend to have a polychronic perception
of time where it is more fluid. Punctuality and structure is less important and deadlines are seen as more flexible and people work on multiple tasks at once.

Image of table showing characteristics of monochronic and polychronic people
Image Source:

 

Monochronic Societies Prefer Simplicity:

So how can we apply this insight to our sites?

Since monochronic societies dislike clutter and fluidity, a simple
design
with a clear action should work well. Things like:

  • A clear hero image.
  • Short bullet point messaging.
  • Clear focus on the product.
  • In polychronic cultures, rich context can be displayed using:
  • Multiple graphics, icons, boxes, and animation
  • Animated navigation.
  • Greater complexity.

Check out Chinese e-commerce website Taobao on the left and compare it with the UK’s  John Lewis site. Both are very successful e-commerce sites, but vastly different website design approaches due to the cultural values of the countries they operate in. It is therefore important though to consider monchronic and polychronic cultures when designing a user experience for cross-cultural websites.

 

Taobao – China                               John Lewis – UK

image of Chinese and UK ecommerce homepages from Taobao and John Lewis

 

Colours of our culture:

Colours have different meaning according to where you are in the world (nope, there’s not a colour that converts best). Yet many organisations insist on consistent brand colours across different markets. It could be that you’re losing conversions by not accounting for cultural variations in the associations of  colours in different countries .

Brands that understand these cultural differences ensure their websites and apps are designed according to local cultural preferences rather than trying to impose the cultural norms and traditions of the brand’s own country.

Image of chart showing cultural meaning of different colours
Image Source:

 

In his book, Drunk Tank Pink, the American psychologist Adam Alter
suggests that colours have meaning partly because they are associated with practically every pleasant and unpleasant object on Earth.

As a result our interpretation and preference for colours is strongly influenced by factors such as language, climate, gender, age and context.  For example the way languages categorise colours differs (e.g. Russian has two words for blue), and certain colours are also
used to express moods and feelings in some languages which  inevitably affects how we perceive them.

If you’re curious, you can see which colours mean what here: Colours Across Cultures, Translating colours in interactive marketing communications  by Global Propaganda.

Colours Mean Different Things to Different Cultures:

 

In 1999 American researchers investigated how people from 8 countries perceive different colours. The analysis allowed researchers to generate a colour spectrum of meaning with red at one end and the blue-green-white cluster at the other end.  Red is associated with hot/vibrant and the spectrum gradually moves
towards calm/gentle/peaceful that the blue-green-white cluster is associated with.

Image of how the meaning of colours cluster
Image Source:

Testing by international search and conversion agency Oban International suggests that cultural preferences for particular colours may also be driven by strong national associations and brand identities taken from individual sectors of the economy.  Joe Doveton tested this hypothesis in Germany where brands such as Siemens,   Mercedes and Audi are renowned for promoting engineering excellence as an integral part of their USP.
In tests for global air charter company Chapman Freeborn,
they discovered a strong preference among German visitors for a silver button and a big dislike for a red button. Silver in Germany is synonymous with the Mercedes brand.

Germany – Silver CTA                           UK – Red CTA

image of Chapman-Freeborn.com homepage for Germany and UK with different CTA colours according to cultural preferences

 

Use Localised Copy For Personalisation & Conversions:

Your value proposition is the most important element of your communication. The danger of using  direct translation, especially for keywords, is that you will end up with copy that uses words out of context. The term “mobile” for example is fine in the UK, but people in the United States refer to mobile phones as “cellphones”. In Germany people use a different word again, “handy” and in
France “portable”. The same term can also have multiple meanings in a language.

Understanding your customers is the best way to craft a great value proposition. However, your customers preferences’ will likely vary according to their culture. This is where you can use qualitative
research
to learn new insights and validate or challenge your existing ideas on how to improve conversions.  You can then use A/B testing to evaluate different copy and images to identify the best performing messages.

Pro tip: use loanwords in your copy – they’re often left out of copy that is directly translated.

Image of table with examples of loan words
Image Source:

 

Fonts and Font Sizes:

Fonts often have visceral connotations behind them, and they often vary culture-to-culture. For example in the United States people relate Helvetica with the US Government and the IRS because it is commonly used on tax forms.

Another example is how logographic language cultures use smaller, tightly packed text, confusing American readers. That’s because the language itself (e.g. Japanese) communicates a lot of information in just a few characters. Further, as Japanese doesn’t have italics or capital letters it is more difficult to create a clear visual hierarchy to organise information. So web designers often use decoration or graphic text to create emphasis where required.

Image of periodic table of typefaces
Image Source:

 

For more on font psychology read this post by Alex Bulat.

Further complicating the issue of conversion across cultures, we
have the distinction between bi-culturalism and multi-culturalism.

Bi-Culturalism and Multi-Culturalism: 

In the 2010 US Census over 6 percent of the population (over 2 million citizens) associated themselves with two or more ethnic or racial groups. Psychologists have discovered that bi-cultural people engage in frame switching, which means they can perceive the world through a different cultural lens depending upon the context of the situation and whether it reminds them of one culture or another.

 

Image of different national flags
Image Source:

So we can’t assume people coming from a different culture (e.g.
Vietnamese  Americans), will retain all the same preferences as
individuals still living in their native culture. Web analytics may help you identify potential bi-cultural visitors.

Even across monocultural people there are strong contrasts in
values and behaviour. The concept of honour tends to be more strongly associated with East Asia than the West. However, even in the United States honour is known to influence behaviour more in southern and western states than in the northern states. All this goes back to understanding your customers.

Other Cultural Considerations for Design & Conversion: 

Technology:  We can’t assume people will all be using the same technology in different geographical markets.

  • In Africa, for example, mobile commerce is much more established in certain sectors, (e.g. banking), because of a lack of fixed-line internet infrastructure.
  • For various reasons, iPhones have failed to establish a large market share in Spain, so Android and other operating systems more relevant to the Spanish mobile user.

Browsers: – Browser usage is also fragmented at an
international level.

For more detailed information check out data from StatCounter.

Image of World map showing most used web browser by country
Image Source:

 

Search Engines: – The major search engines use different
algorithms for different countries and languages.

  • Although Google has increased its penetration in Russia, the local search engine, Yandex, is still an important search engine in the country.
  • In China, Google is not used at all, with Baidu being the top
    search engine with a market share of over 50%.

For more details of search engine market share see an article from
extraDigital.

Payment Methods: – There are different payment methods. This means having a single cashier or ecommerce check-out design is unlikely to be optimal for a global audience.

  • In Europe, credit card penetration is much lower in Germany,
    Netherlands and Poland.  For cultural reasons many Germans dislike credit and as a result the single most popular payment method (38%)  is (ELV).
  • In the Netherlands a similar payment option, iDeal, is the
    preferred method of payment for 55% of online shoppers.
  • Security-conscious Russians still like to use cash as a quarter of them use Qiwi to make online payments. This allows people to deposit cash into ATM style machines and then make payments online without having to transmit sensitive bank or credit card
    numbers over the internet.
  • Even in Turkey where credit and debit cards are
    very popular (87% market share) you won’t see Visa or MasterCard on most cards.
  • In Islamic countries Sharia law prohibits the acceptance of
    interest or fees for loans and so potentially limits the use of credit cards and other Western style financial products. The expansion of Islamic banking is making e-commerce more accessible to Muslims, but again adds to the complexity of online payment processes.

.

Image of map of Europe showing penetration of payment cards
Image Source:

 

6 Cultural Implications for Design &  Optimisation:

Websites that use identical content and colours across all countries and cultures are at a major disadvantage because of the impact diversity of values, norms and other differences have on how we interpret the world. Here are the key takeaways for optimising a global website:

1. Research competitors: – To obtain a feel for whether your website is out of sync with the local culture conduct a competitor review of sites in the country concerned. This will give you the opportunity to look for similarities across your competitors’ websites that may indicate areas for A/B testing. (Just don’t copy your competitors; they don’t know what they’re doing either).

2. Focus on colours and words: –
There is sometimes a tendency to focus on purely transactional matters (e.g. payment methods) when adapting websites for an international audience. This is a mistake and I would recommend paying attention to your website colours and the language you use to ensure the site conforms to local preferences.

3. Use qualitative research to get a local perspective:  – In addition, use local contacts, such as colleagues and suppliers to obtain feedback on your site in different countries.  I’m surprised how often I come across websites and apps where it is obvious that a key page or journey has not had input from someone in the targeted country. Don’t fall into this trap as it is dangerous to rely solely on website experts who are not embedded in local culture.

4. Consider cultural dimensions and context: – Utilise the country comparison tool to understand the cultural dimensions of your audience and how contextualised your website needs to be. The more your website can reflect local cultural preferences the more likely your visitors will happily engage and interact with your content. However, use testing to ensure you validate your hypothesis as there needs to be a return on investment as otherwise you may be better spending your money elsewhere.

 

4. Serve targeted content: – A/B testing is also ideal for evaluating the use of dynamic content to target images and messages that are responsive to how different cultures see the world.  This allows
you to increase conversions by using geo-targeting (i.e. based upon country IP address) or other cultural indicators and let the data guide your website design.

 

Singapore                                                 Chile

Image of Hertz homepage for Singapore and Chile
Source: Hertz.com

Both of these Hertz websites are on the same domain and root
directory (Hertz.com), but have different languages, visuals and appropriate text.

5. Analyse customer behaviour: – Cultural targeting
has perhaps the greatest potential for your existing customers where you can track and analyse their behaviour over time.  Use your customer database to analyse behaviour by cultural indicators to see if you can identify key cultural drivers to their behaviour. Alternatively try A/B testing personalisation based upon cultural differences to see what impact this has on your KPIs.

6. Multiculturalism: – Due to the increasing influence and spread of cultural preferences across the globe there are likely to be opportunities to segment by cultural indicators even in your home
country.  There are strong cultural and racial indicators, such as customer names, that you can utilise to segment your customers by and test the performance of targeted content.

Given the complexity of the human psyche and the pervasive power of cultural influences on our behaviour it is dangerous to assume anything when trying to improve website performance. Make A/B and multivariate testing your friend and guide in the multicultural jungle.

Thank you for reading my post. If you found this post of value please share it with your contacts by using the social network icons below or at the top of the page.

You can view my full Digital Marketing and Optimization Toolbox here.

To browse links to all my posts on one page please click here.

 

Many thanks to Alex Birkett, Content Strategist at ConversionXL for his help and input in writing this post.

  • About the author:  Neal provides digital optimisation consultancy services and has worked for  brands such as Deezer.comFoxybingo.com, Very.co.uk and partypoker.com.  He identifies areas for improvement using a combination of approaches including web analytics, heuristic analysis, customer journey mapping, usability testing, and Voice of Customer feedback.
  • Neal has had articles published on website optimisation on Usabilla.com  and as an ex-research and insight manager on the GreenBook Blog research website.  If you wish to contact Neal please send an email to neal.cole@outlook.com. You can follow Neal on Twitter @northresearch, see his LinkedIn profile or connect on Facebook.

How To Use Online Voice of Customer Tools To Boost Conversions.

I’ve written a best practice guide on how to use online Voice of Customer survey tools to gain insights and increase conversions. I’ve also reviewed over 20 online surveys solutions for you to use.

When to use Voice of Customer tools?

Asking people questions hours, days, weeks or even months after a visit to your website is not going to deliver very accurate feedback on your customer experience. Our memories have to be reconstructed every time we recall them and as result they change on each occasion they are retrieved.

Voice of Customer on-site survey tools though allow you to gather data during the actual experience, allowing customers to express opinions and feelings when or immediately after an event occurs. This provides for much richer and accurate feedback on your site.

 

Surveymonkey.com customer satisfaction
Image Soure: Surveymonkey.com

 

How To Use Voice of Customer Feedback?

On-line Voice of Customer (VoC) feedback is an important input into the overall website optimization process. It can provide valuable insights to reduce friction and help you develop hypothesis to be validated using A/B and multivariate testing. It can help in a number of areas including:

  • Why –  What are visitors looking for when they come to your site and is it meeting their expectations? Identify the main use cases – what are people trying to achieve and are they successful?
  • Barriers – What is preventing users to complete their task? Find out what is preventing visitors from completing everything they set out to do.

 

Temper.io dashboard image
Image Source: Temper.io

 

  • Missing information – Are visitors finding everything they need on a particular webpage? For example, audit your homepage to compare the content with what customers say they are looking for on your website. Segment the data by new and returning visitors as they may have different requirements. This can help identify unnecessary content on your homepage and highlight other information that you should consider replacing it with.
  • Competitors – Which of your competitors’ sites do your customers use? Digital marketing is a zero-sum game, if you can’t convince your visitors to buy from your website, one of your competitors may be more persuasive. It’s important to identify which other similar sites to your own that visitors are going to as their expectations are influenced by these other sites. If your value proposition and customer experience does not compare favourably with key competitor sites you may
    struggle to convince visitors to convert.
Typeform.com mobile survey
Image Source: Typeform.com

 

  • Value proposition – What attracted new visitors to your website? Identify what aspects of your value proposition are most appealing to new customers as this may not be the same as what you have on your website. Use this feedback to develop and test different proportion messages to see if this resonates better
    with customers.

 

Nebula by Kampyle
Image Source: Kampyle.com

 

  • Bugs –   when your site is broken visitors can provide you with the evidence you need to fix it. Some on-line tools (e.g. Bugmuncher)
    automate this process so that you can get screen shots and technical details sent directly to an inbox for quick and efficient resolution of problems.

Bugmuncher.com homepage

  • Exit surveys –  For those visitors who have decided to leave your site you have nothing to lose by asking them to provide feedback on what they thought of your site. Ask them if they found what they were looking for or what would make them return to your site.

 

  • Abandon basket – When someone abandons their basket this is a great opportunity to get their feedback to understand what is behind this behaviour. Has something on your site raised  concerns or are they struggling to get the delivery date they require? Any feedback from these customers may help you identify issues that you can seek to resolve to improve your conversion rate.

A word of caution:

Don’t take what your visitors say literally. Customers are often not fully aware of their own motivations as emotions and cognitive
short-cuts (e.g. stereotypes and confirmation bias) are often important drivers of our behaviour. This is why people will say one thing and do something completely different. For this reason it is a good idea to validate insights from Voice of Customer tools  by looking for supporting evidence (e.g. web analytics) and to use A/B and multivariate testing to measure the real impact on behaviour.

Voice of Customer Tools:

Ok, so you now want to begin asking your customers and prospects questions to identify insights that can help you improve conversions. Below I’ve summarised over twenty VoC tools that can be used to give you new insights into customers’ opinions and behaviour.

.

1. Bugmuncher: Enables users to report problem &
automatically sends your company screen shots with details of the browser, the operating system, the path they took & even which browser plug-ins they have installed. An ideal solution for any site that has more than its fair share of bugs to fix.  Free trial available.

Price: Plans range from $19 a month for a single user (Personal plan) to $99 for the Corporate plan with up to 5 users. For most small to medium sized companies the Start Up plan at $49 per month offers good value as it allows up to 3 users and 400 reports per month.

Bugmuncher prices page image

 

2. ClickInsightsIO: Sends one-click lifecycle email surveys to your
customers based upon what they do or don’t do on your website or in your app. Create surveys with questions with up to 4 clickable answers and when customers click on their answer they will land on a customizable landing page that allows you to ask an open-ended question for more in-depth insights and the ability to include a call to action to read, download or purchase something.

Price: Free unlimited 2 week trial. A single subscription plan is available at a cost of $49 per month for unlimited questions and responses, plus instant email notifications.

3. Feedbackify: A Voice of Customer tool that employs a fully customisable widget on your site to deliver short surveys for your visitors to complete. The Feedback Dashboard allows you to view answers with full context, including which page it was submitted from, your customer’s geographic location, browser, operating system, screen size etc.

Price: Offers a Free full-featured 15 day trial. A single subscription plan costs just $19 a month.

 

Feedbackify price page image

 

4. getsatsfaction: Recently acquired by Sprinklr, getsatisfaction is
an online community platform that deeply integrates feedback tools into your site to allow customers to connect with your company and other customers. Q&A tools capture, organize and automatically share commonly-asked questions.

Crowd-sourcing tools solicit input and feedback on key topics to gather insights, plan and problem-solve. Idea  generation/ prioritization tools invite customers to contribute new ideas
and prioritise them based upon member input and  feedback. getsatisfaction also promotes experts and super-users
to Champion status to recognise them publicly and give them special privileges, like access to moderation and curation tools.

The widget is fully customisable and allows customers to ask questions, leave praise, share an idea or raise a problem in 12
different languages. This is available across all devices and screen sizes, and social media integration means that you can view customer community feedback alongside other social content and push content from the community to Twitter or Facebook.

Price: Two plans available, Professional and Enterprise, prices not stated on website.

Getsatisfaction.com prices page image

 

5. Hotjar: This is a great  solution that offers a range of visual analytics solutions (e.g. heatmaps, session recordings, & form analytics) together with customer polls, surveys and an on-site usability recruitment tool. The Free basic service offers up to 3 on-site polls, surveys and recruiters for live usability testing each month. The Pro and Business packages both offer unlimited polls, surveys and usability test recruitment. The Business service also allows you to remove Hotjar branding from the feedback widget.

One limitation of the tool is that it does not support cross-domain sites. However, for most surveys this doesn’t need to be a problem as you can just set up each domain as a separate site.

Price: The Free Basic plan allows you to run up to 3 polls or surveys a month and obtain up to 300 responses. The Pro plan costs just
$29 a month and the Business plan costs $89 a month.

 

Hotjar.com price plans page image

 

6. i-Perceptions: A Free pop up that asks three simple questions to
website visitors. The three questions could include: “How would you rate your site experience?”, “What describes the primary purpose of visit?” and “Were you able to complete the purpose of your visit today?” You can use the feedback to understand how people engage with your website and find opportunities for improvement.

Price: A Free and Enterprise plan. No prices on the website.

7. Kampyle: Employs a widget on your website with the ability to
tailor the feedback form for different parts of your website to ensure it is relevant to your visitors. This includes the ability to intercept visitors who are about to abandon their basket or exit your site to ask them questions to understand the root causes of abandonment. Its ability to integrate with Google Analytics and Adobe Analytics means that you can overlay behavioural data with
feedback to evaluate and optimize efficiently.

If you wish you have the ability to respond directly with a built-in response system and you can set up an automated response system
that routes feedback to the appropriate people in your organisation to respond and take action.

Price: A Free plan offers 1 feedback form and 10 feedback items per month. All annual plans offer a Free 2 month trial. Subscription
plans start from $249 per month for Bronze for a single feedback form and up to 200 feedback items per month. The Gold plan ($999 a month) gives you 3 feedback forms, 3 users and up to 1,000 feedback items. There is also an Enterprise plan available for larger organisations.

8. Omniconvert: An optimisation and Voice of Customer solution that offers a flexible and professional survey tool. The tool offers on-click surveys (triggered by  clicks on a designated HTML asset), branching logic set up which ensures the questionnaire responds to the user’s answers  and a segmentation engine for targeting of specific user groups.  You can either serve pop-up surveys or use a widget which appears at the bottom of the page.

Image of www.omniconvert.com survey tools page

Price: Free for up to 5,000 tested views and offers flexible paid plan (no pricing guidelines shown).

9. Opinionlab: Global leader in Voice of Customer feedback
innovation and real-time listening solutions. Opinionlab uses the [+] widget on your site to gather visitor feedback. It offers dedicated solutions for desktop and mobile websites to ensure an optimal customer experience. Opinionlab also has the ability to benchmark
across sectors and digital and physical touch points using their patented Customer Feedback Index and Functional Mean Ratings solution.

Price: No plan costs mentioned on the website. However, from my experience not a cheap solution for websites with large volumes of traffic.

Oopinionlab.com homepage

 

10. Proved: A great Voice of Customer tool if you simply want almost instant feedback on an idea, prototype or a new product development that you want to check-out before it goes live. Feedback is normally provided within 3 to 4 hours and guaranteed within 24 hours.

Proved uses crowd sourced feedback to evaluate new product
developments. The Starter plan for early stage ideas gets feedback from 20 testers, while the Basic plan for perhaps a prototype gives you 50 testers. Pro allows you to test a fully developed product with 100 testers to reduce uncertainty before launch. Free trial available on request.

Proved.co pricing page image

 

11. Qualaroo: Offers a customisable widget for desktop and mobile
devices. You can target questions to visitors anywhere on your site, and includes exit surveys to capture insights from visitors who are leaving your website.

They offer a Free trial and subscription plans start from $63 a month for desktop. The Professional plan costs $199 a month and includes exit surveys and mobile survey add-on.  The Enterprise plan ($499) provides for integration with CRM tools and advanced segmentation.

Qualaroo.com pricing page image

 

12. qualtrics: An enterprise Voice of Customer  software solution that includes Site Interceptor which allows you to survey visitors as they browse your website. A fully flexible offering that includes over 100 different types of questions, drag-and-drop ordering, advanced flow logic, rich text editing, and the ability to include images, videos and audio in surveys. It also allows you to randomize the order of response categories, set quotas and set-up email alerts.

No pricing information on the site – quotes can be requested by contacting qualtrics.

13. Survata: A great Voice of Customer tool if you have never designed questionnaires before and want some advice to complete the process. The tool finds respondents for your survey who meet your target audience from 17 countries by age, gender, geography and custom attributes.

You write your surveys questions, build your questionnaire using their self-service survey tool and an analyst will then review it and suggest edits based upon industry best practice. Survata will then find the respondents for your survey and provide raw data in an Excel spreadsheet and in Statwing, a free partner analysis tool.

Price: Plans range from $200 a month for Quick Read for surveys of up to 200 respondents per survey and $2,000 a month for Deep Read which offers up to 2,000 respondents.

13. SurveyGizmo: A comprehensive survey tool that can be used to create fully-customisable surveys for distribution through email campaigns in HTML and plain text, on Twitter, Facebook and by embedding them on your website using JavaScript or iFrames.

For mobile forms SurveyGizmo automatically re-formats questions for the device and only displays one question at a time. Mobile surveys also enable use of their File Upload question to gain access to the respondent’s camera and allowing you to capture photos for the study.

Automated reporting tools offer one-click advanced reports and cross-tabs for full analysis of your data. Export data to other
data analysis packages. You can also schedule reports and email results to fully automate the reporting process.

Price: Plans range from just $25 a month for Basic which offers over 30 question types and $95 a month for Premier. An Enterprise
plan offers multi-user access for an unspecified price.

14. SurveyMonkey: One of the most well-known
and popular online survey tools that enables the creation of most types of surveys, including web, email, mobile, social media, and automated telephone surveys. If you need to find  respondents, SurveyMonkey Audience allows you to define your target audience and will then provide you with the feedback you require.

Offers 15+ types of questions, customisable logo and branding and the ability to set skip logic by page and question.  Fully integrated with the likes of MailChimp and Eventbrite. Comprehensive real-time reporting available, together with text analysis, SPSS integration, custom reporting, cross-tabs and presentation-ready charts and reports. A Free plan is available for 10 questions and up to 100 responses per survey.

Price: Subscription plans start from £26 a month (Select) for up to 1,000 responses to £65 a month for Platinum that offers an unlimited number of responses.

Surveymonkey.com pricing plan page image

 

15. Surveypal: A popular Voice of Customer tool. It positions itself as an enterprise survey tool that uses an intuitive drag and drop style editor to make it easy to build high quality online and cross-device surveys. You can also choose to edit one of their professionally designed templates if you prefer.

They also offer customer support via phone, email and built-in live chat to make the process  stress free as possible. All support
staff are engineers which means you can expect to receive a high level of technical support to quickly resolve any problems.

Allows you to set up automated email alerts based upon your own business rules to instantly respond to certain types of customers or
responses. A flexible reporting tool which provides automated visual
presentations in a variety of formats such as PowerPoint, Word, Excel, SPSS and as an interactive dashboard.

Surveypal integrates with Slack, Zendesk, Salesforce and many other apps. Their API also allows you to send, receive and track surveys.  A Free plan is available for up to 100 responses.

Price: Subscription plans cost $40 a month for Premium for 1,000 responses per month. An Enterprise plan is also available with an unlimited number of responses per month.

Surveypal.com pricing page image

 

 16.Temper: People are emotional creatures and Temper uses smiley faces in its Voice of Customer surveys to measure how customer feel about your organisation and the topics you ask them questions about.

It offers three options for delivery of surveys.

1.       Tab – Shows up at  the bottom right of every page you
install it on.

2.       Inline – Is positioned within your page anywhere you’d
like to get feedback on a specific item or experience.

3.       Email – At the end of an email which is great for
gauging how your customer support interactions are performing.

Price: A 60 day money-back guarantee is available on all plans. Subscription plans range from Hobby at $12 a month to White Label at $199 a month.

17. Typeform: A Voice of Customer tool that aims to delight respondents, keeping them focused on one question at a time and the versatility of their forms. Provides an enterprise survey tool for use across all devices. Offers Free plan (Core) for basic users.

Price: The Pro plans costs $20 a month with unlimited typeforms and responses. A Pro+ for teams is currently under development.

 

18. UserReport: A Free tool that offers both online surveys and feedback forums. The online survey tool allows you to ask for feedback about your website and gather visitor demographics in over 60 languages. You can either use the ‘ready-to-go survey or customise with your own logo, colours and questions. Survey results are presented in intuitive reports that can be easily shared and exported as PDF or raw data.

The feedback forums give you the opportunity to gather ideas on how to improve your website. It also allows users to report bugs, submit issues, comment on and vote for ideas online. It works across devices and is fully customisable.

Price: The solution is currently Free. 

19. UserEcho: Offers a suite of software solutions for better
customer service and engagement. The main customer feedback tool is their Ideas Forum which enables customers to ask questions, share ideas and learn. Customers can vote and you can gather critical feedback of what they like or dislike.

Users can login via popular social networks which eliminates the need to go through a registration process. In addition, the  Knowledge Base will automatically search for answers when a user writes a query, and in the case of a match will display the item to the user.

UserEcho also enables live chat conversations with visitors on your site. 15 day Free trial.

Price: A single plan is available for £15 a month.

 

20Uservoice: Voice of Customer tool that offers a all-in-one product management platform to make it easy to give customers, partners or internal teams a voice with private labelled feedback forums. You can collect customer feedback on web or mobile with a native user experience.

Uservoice does not require your customers to register which encourages participating. The forums work by visitors raising a ticket and then vote or discuss ideas and possible solutions. The tickets contain useful information on the user including their OS, browser and the page from which the ticket was raised.

Price: Basic plan costs $499 a month and the Premium is $999 a month. An Enterprise solution is also available with quotations on request.

21. Voice Polls: Create questions or use existing templates to poll
your website visitors by embedding surveys onto your website or blog. If you agree to sponsored polls behind your own polls you will earn revenue for every sponsored opinion collected from your site. You can browse trending polls from other users add those to your website to see if they improve engagement with your site.

Voice Polls are a Free tool for online publishers. They can help you grow your traffic, engage your reader, learn from them, discover who they are and bring some interactivity on your pages.

Price: For non-publishers each question is priced at $12.50 and $0.05 per completed survey.

22. WebEngage:  Voice of Customer tool that offers surveys, feedback forms and in-depth information (including screen grabs) to obtain and resolve customer
problems and notification to display messages to specific audiences (e.g. shopping cart drop-off).

Survey:  Collect insights from visitors. Target questionnaires at specific audiences using rule builder. Get real-time analytics and reports.

Feedback: Add context to your feedback form with custom fields and automatic screen grab features.

Notification: A push messaging tool which lets you display offers, discount codes, product launch announcements etc. to visitors
with real-time statistics.

Price: Plans range from $49 for Basic to $949 per
month for the Enterprise Lite solution.

 Use Voice of Customer surveys today!

Many of these companies provide free trials and some of these tools have free plans so there is no reason not to give online VoC tools a go. Further, using such tools can also help encourage a more customer centric approach to optimization and website development. People are naturally curious about what potential and actual customers think about their ideas and designs so assist this process by giving your colleagues the opportunity to capture such feedback.

Thank you for reading my post and if you found it of value please share it with your contacts by using the social network icons below or at the top of the page.

 

You can view my full Digital Marketing and Optimization Toolbox here.

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  • About the author:  Neal provides digital marketing optimisation consultancy services and has worked for  brands such as Deezer.com, Foxybingo.com, Very.co.uk, partypoker.com and Bgo.com. He uses a variety of techniques, including web analytics, personas, customer journey analysis and customer feedback to improve a website’s conversion rate.