Last Wednesday we picked up the econsultancy award for innovation in online customer services for Gatwick Airport.
We worked with Gatwick in bringing some of the changes happening at the airport to life using online tools (for example through giant mobile barcodes on construction hoardings) but what has really been key is Gatwick’s commitment to transparency – it sees public online feedback as a strength rather than as something to be hidden away or ignored as is still the case for a lot of brands
For example, passenger feedback for Gatwick facilities, restaurants and retail partners will soon be visible for all to see.
We’ve been helping Gatwick integrate reviews from location based service Qype (www.qype.com) into its website, which means that (soon) you won’t have to go onto a 3rd party site to read passenger opinions, they will be directly on gatwickairport.com.
A US example of a company which is taking a similar approach is 37 Signals, which produces various web collaboration tools for small businesses.
The Next Web reports that it has now gone public with its customer support ratings. Essentially when a customer clicks on a happy, sad or neutral face at the end of a customer support email, that result gets added to a real-time satisfaction score that is published on the web, which you can view here – http://smiley.37signals.com/
According to 37 Signals, “We’ve made these ratings public so everyone knows how we’re doing. We want to be held to the highest possible standards for customer service. Full transparency keeps us honest.”
And there is evidence that honest transparency has commercial benefits.
One organisation that helps retail brands effectively harness customer opinions is Reevoo (www.reevoo.com/b2b), which works with retailers such as Dixons and PC World. Customers are actively encouraged to write a review post sale and those reviews appear on site.
The idea is that as people trust online opinions posted by strangers, brands should be trying to get *everyone* to post a review rather than for online sentiment to be distorted by the minority of very happy or (more often) unhappy customers.
Reevoo claims that a brand that embraces, harnesses and welcomes online feedback can see its web conversion rate increase by between 8-15%. Reevoo says that both the visitor return rate and the average order rate is significantly higher for customers who have been reading customer comments, than for people who come to a site ‘cold.’
(This is one of the items in this week’s Rabbit Feed – the html version is here)