An untapped channel for customer communication: Facebook Messenger
In 2015, a Nielsen study showed that 83% of consumers consider word-of-mouth the most credible form of advertising. What does that mean today as ecommerce sales have grown at a 25% annual rate and more shoppers continue to move online?
It means customer reviews are more important than ever to a successful ecommerce strategy. Friends still recommend products to friends, of course, but you can’t assume everyone who buys your product is going to tell ten of their friends to buy one, too. You can, however, collect customer reviews to testify to your product’s quality and value.
In fact, you should, because research has shown nearly 95% of online shoppers read customer reviews before making a purchase. Displaying reviews has been shown to increase conversion rates by up to 270%.
A new way to gather reviews
Email has traditionally been the preferred method of getting feedback from customers, including reviews. However, over the last five years, email CTRs have experienced a 45% decline. Conversely, there has been a 54% increase in the amount of time American consumers have spent using Facebook Messenger.
Couple that increase with reports that 9 out of 10 consumers want to communicate with brands via messaging and a clear picture emerges: Messenger is an excellent platform through which brands can connect with customers and collect reviews.
People routinely filter out emails to spam folders or forget to mark their favorite brands as approved senders. Connecting via Messenger reaches customers in a space they spend significant amounts of time and allows them to easily engage with your social media pages without navigating out of the Messenger window.
Using Facebook Messenger to collect customer reviews
As with email, the most effective way to gather reviews with Messenger is through a follow-up message after product delivery. Depending on the product, it may make sense to send this message at different time intervals. For something that will be used immediately, like pet supplies or home goods, it could be sent a day after delivery. For something that a customer may not be able to make a snap judgment about, like shoes, it may pay to wait a week or two.
Reaching customers in their Messenger feeds allows them to very quickly type out an off-the-cuff review without being sent through multiple pages or being asked for an email.
Yes, off-the-cuff is good!
Research at Northwestern revealed that customers are more likely to buy something that has a 4.2-4.5 rating rather than a 5-star rating.
Customers want to read reviews that sound honest and real; perfect scores make customers suspicious. Capturing honest, authentic reviews is easy through Messenger, a platform where people tend to be their honest, authentic selves.
Once you’ve received reviews, you can send automated messages curated to the rating a customer has given. For great reviews, you can say thanks and invite happy customers to sign up for a newsletter.
Not so great or even bad reviews present you with the opportunity to send a discount code or other special offer to make amends and retain a customer. These triggers are all familiar to email marketing but sending them through Messenger reaches customers in a platform they’re more actively using.
In a crowded market, ecommerce businesses need to take advantage of every opportunity to build credibility. Customer reviews are one of the best ways to achieve that goal. Traditional methods like email outreach and asking for reviews on your site itself are fine, but they’re falling behind more dynamic platforms like Facebook Messenger.
Consumers hold word-of-mouth as the most credible form of advertising. In the digital marketplace, Facebook Messenger is the best place to gather that honest word-of-mouth testimony. While you can start using Facebook Messenger to collect Trustpilot reviews manually, keep in mind that manually collected reviews are considered unverified and don't count towards your Google Seller Ratings.
And if automatic invitations via Facebook Messenger are what you're after, you can use Trustpilot's API available on Enterprise accounts to get set up.
About the Author
Ben Parr is the President and Co-founder of Octane AI, the Messenger and bot platform for ecommerce. He is also the author of the best-selling book "Captivology: The Science of Capturing People's Attention". He sits on the board of directors of Samasource and the Lufthansa Airlines' advisory board, and is a columnist for Inc. Magazine. Previously, Ben was the Co-Editor and Editor-at-Large of Mashable. He is a member of the Forbes 30 Under 30.