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Customer Support Should Be A Ranking Factor


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#1 EGOL

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Posted 02 April 2014 - 02:10 PM

<!--------  HUGE RANT   ------------------->

 

 

Google loves the big brand ecommerce sites like Amazon.com and WalMart.com and many of the others that you see at TopSERPs.

 

They can place one CheapAss widget on their site and that one page will outrank a specialty retailer who has a huge website with a huge assortment of those same specialty widgets and a Bible of content about them... and who provides full customer support for his customers (and everyone else on the planet).

 

These big brands have huge failing....   They don't do customer service.   They skimp on that - meaning they don't want to pay staff to do it - and sluff that expensive work off to mom and pop who owns the specialty site that ranks below BigBrand.com.

 

 

What do you do when you have a technical question about a product on Amazon?  Can you call them or one of their third-party sellers?   Can you email them or one of their third-party sellers?  I bet that you can't and if you can I bet that you have a really hard time getting their contact information.   Then, if by some miracle you get a human on the phone will they be able to give you the dimensions of the product?  Can they answer other technical questions.   I bet they can't.

 

After you get the product and encounter a problem or have a question can you call them for help?  Again you are lucky to find their number and again if you get a human on the phone will they be able to answer your technical question about using the product.  I bet they can't most of the time.  The people on their telephones don't know much about your product unless they have one at home.

 

With this crap "service" I think that google should stop ranking them so high in the SERPs.   Even the sites that offer a forum or an email form... there are a lot of customers who want to talk to a human.  A lot of customers will tell me... "I asked this question at five websites and you are the only one who replied" with an intelligent answer.

 

My customer service EXPENSE  has become a PROFIT CENTER for Amazon.

 

I am tired of doing expensive customer service for Amazon and WalMart and their third party sellers and seeing their website above me.   I am tired of getting email messages from people who say...  "I want to purchase a Technical Green Widget or a Technical Red Widget and need advice on which one to buy."....  Then after you spend 30 minutes on the phone with them they are probably off to Amazon.com to make a purchase.... then after they purchase they can't get in touch with Amazon.com so they call you or email and say....   "I purchased this Technical Green Gadget from Amazon.com and I need help with it.".... because they can't talk to a human at Amazon.com and if they get a human then don't know anything about the product.  People tell me.... "I called BigBrand.com where I bought it and the person didn't know anything about it".  or... "they don't have a phone number".

 

I am sure that I am not the only ecommerce retailer who has these complaints.  Brick and mortar retailers complain about this too.   

 

I just don't think that Google should rank these big brand websites at the top of search when they sluff their costly customer service off onto mom & pop or B&M.

 

I don't know how Google would be able to assess customer service in a way that they could scale and use to rank websites. 

 

Are you doing customer service that should be done by Amazon.com?   Do you have any ideas for how Google could use customer service to rank websites? 

 

 

Finally.... Amazon does not allow you to give feed back about THEIR customer service that is visible to visitors.  Amazon allows you to give feedback about products and they allow you to give feedback about third party sellers.  But, you can not give feedback that will be visible to the public about how Amazon performed when they fill your order.  If you don't believe me go to Amazon and try to rate "fulfilled by Amazon purchases".   You can't do it.  More info on that here.  That is because Amazon often does a crappy job and they are afraid to be compared with their third party sellers.  They want to hide their poor performance but allow the public to report their third party sellers, many of whom perform better than amazon.

 

Amazon.com should be teflon.com.  S hit does'nt stick to them....  They sluff their customer service onto mom & pop and B&M and you can't rate them when they mess up your order or cancel your items on the day they were supposed to be delivered. 

 

Really.... I guess you can't rate their customer service when they don't have any.


Edited by EGOL, 02 April 2014 - 02:52 PM.


#2 earlpearl

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Posted 02 April 2014 - 03:31 PM

You should solicit testimonials from customers.  Get them and add them to your website or find sources that align with your site(s) products and see if you can get them printed.

 

As I was reading your comments above I thought of this local business website that has dramatically incorporated the review process in their website:   http://pdsnj.com/

 

Yeah its totally local....but its very vivid...and it works per the webmaster, somebody I know.  

 

Its funny, I grew up in one of those towns.  I know those types of houses and streets and neighborhoods.  I know if I were looking at that thing I'd look at the reviews for my town or nearby and amble on over to somebody's home who was referenced and direct ask them about that service if I needed it at the time.  

 

There is a lot of literature and many suggestions about processes to solicit reviews or testimonials in the local world.  How to incorporate those and promote them on your site (if there aren't third party review sites available or appropriate) is one way to beat that issue.

 

I just like the approach on this site...and the guy behind it swears by it..   It works for that smb/service.



#3 EGOL

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Posted 02 April 2014 - 06:26 PM

Thank you for the testimonial idea.  I know that I could get some good ones because we have given very detailed assistance to a lot of people... and a lot of those people really like us.  Some of the products are consumable and they order every few months.

 

Took a look at the pdsnj and I bet that site is effective at converting local customers.  The boss is right out there front and center.



#4 bobbb

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Posted 02 April 2014 - 07:08 PM

On the the testimonial idea, maybe you can describe the "free" customer service you provide to Amazon customers about Amazon products and maybe they could sue you. Don't know.

 

Do you really answer their questions after they bought from Amazon?



#5 earlpearl

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Posted 02 April 2014 - 07:10 PM

yeah, it must work.  They keep getting new customers, they keep adding testimonials and I've heard from the wizard behind this idea that they keep getting traffic to the testimonial pages, per town.

 

One thing I've experienced with testimonials/reviews.  If I'm shooting for 10 testimonials I'll probably need to ask for them from 20 to 40 customers (that we know love us).   They all say, "yeah yeah yeah" but they just don't all do them.  We don't ever bug them beyond the first request.  We go on the next person.

 

If you go for testimonials on your site your trick is to put them up in a way that really grabs attention as with the example above.   All our sites are local so we work on review sites.  That absolutely works.  Across the board where we show well w/ reviews we are running about 20% of customers reference they read reviews.  Its critical.

 

On my todo list is to create better more vivid testimonial pages on the web site(s).  I'm not going to copy the site that I referenced...but I have to come up with something similarly eyecatching and effective.



#6 EGOL

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Posted 02 April 2014 - 07:44 PM

Do you really answer their questions after they bought from Amazon?

 

Yes.... and Walmart and ebay and yard sales. 

 

People often say right out on the phone or by email that they purchased elsewhere.   I am sure that when they receive help from us they appreciate it... and I am sure that we receive some sales from these folks as a result.  But a lot of them email us, we write back a 20 minute reply and they never write back to say "thanks".

 

Last week a guy told me that he bought something from Walmart and a small part costing $5 had broken.  We sell the part and he wanted me to send one to him.  I told him that if he had purchased from us we would send one right away without charge, but we are unable to do that when the item was purchased from another vendor.  I told him to contact Walmart or the manufacturer (and gave him the URL with their contact info)...  and he writes back... "You are kidding?  That's a 50 cent part!"

 

 

Across the board where we show well w/ reviews we are running about 20% of customers reference they read reviews.

 

Thanks earl,  it sounds like you have a great group of customers... and a nice review page.



#7 bobbb

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Posted 02 April 2014 - 07:51 PM

"You are kidding?  That's a 50 cent part!"

Amazing



#8 earlpearl

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Posted 02 April 2014 - 07:52 PM

Thanks earl,  it sounds like you have a great group of customers... and a nice review page.

 

Only where we do a great job inside the smb.  We've blown it several times also.  We don't have it down pat.   Its always about staff and personnel and starts at the top.   Each of our operator/partners has a lot of independence, so "words of wisdom" from yours truly doesn't always sink in.

 

:D  heck, I don't always pay attention to you or Donna...so it goes two ways.   :emo_gavel:  :emo_gavel:


Edited by earlpearl, 02 April 2014 - 07:53 PM.


#9 iamlost

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Posted 02 April 2014 - 08:48 PM

Customer support aka customer service is a business factor, a critical business factor. That said...

 

A ranking factor?

Let Google that far into one's business?

Ummm (nanosecond shock response period)...

NOT A HOPE IN
 

 



#10 earlpearl

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Posted 03 April 2014 - 08:21 AM

Customer support aka customer service is a business factor, a critical business factor. That said...

 

A ranking factor?

Let Google that far into one's business?

Ummm (nanosecond shock response period)...

NOT A HOPE IN
 

Agree.  Google is already too knowledgeable and has too much impact upon everything we do.  

 

Keep them out of my pockets.  They don't need to know any more than they already do...and in fact life would be a lot better if they knew a lot less.



#11 glyn

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Posted 03 April 2014 - 08:39 AM

I'm in the process of building what I call "the-anti-ecommerce" which can be summed up in the following statement:

 

I do not want to be your friend, because you do not care about me, so let's start by being explicit about why you're here shall we!

 

G.



#12 earlpearl

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Posted 04 April 2014 - 02:35 PM

EGOL:

 

I've spent a lot of time on the conundrum's of reviews for local smbs.  Besides getting reviews for our smb's there are a lot of issues:  faked reviews, faked negative reviews from competitors, faked positive reviews by your own company, etc etc.  Its a very controversial issue.  

 

There are court cases around reviews, there have been threats related to reviews, it's a big issue.

 

Regardless its incredibly vital and worthwhile.  For instance we have surveyed customers at some of our smb's.  Of existing customers about 20% acknowledged they read web reviews.  On top of that of our local smb's and for those that run very well, with great customer service...about 1/3 of customers reference word of mouth or personal referrals for using our services.

 

finally we have several smb's where we have spent virtually all our excess marketing time building the word of mouth business so as to ween off search.  Two of those three thrive.  A majority of the revenues come from word of mouth.

 

It's very powerful.  I'm not going to do your homework on this but there is a lot of research on the importance and value of reviews.   Also there is an interesting phenomena in the linkbait and content world that also relates to reviews and testimonials.  

 

In the world of linkbait/content ....all those articles with "top ten" this or "top five" that...attract readers (if not links).   Let me reference something else on the recipient end:   We have smb's that have been on the recipient end of those readers.  

 

Readers interested in a "product" or service will see those articles and they migrate to them.  If the articles about your service or product(s) are positive...they'll send traffic your way.   ;)    its clever isn't it.

 

.....so yeah....I could create those type articles for our services and I know they'd grab readers and interested potential customers.     Just sayin...its something that does work.

 

If I were in your shoes I'd try and create a way to get live testimonials/reviews.  not sure what types of products you are selling.  Are there review sites for the products and services?  Is there someone you know who would do this if its not there?

 

In terms of getting reviews, we generally get customer emails and send requests for reviews.  Since our smb's are local we have a lot of choices for customers to place those reviews.  We send them emails with links to the review pages for our sites.  In our cases the well known choices are google Plus business pages and yelp.  But there are a lot of alternatives.  We include a variety of links choices.

 

(a little bonus occurs when somebody really really loves us.   They'll write glowing reviews in more than one place!!!!!!!!  (hooray!!!!)   

 

I was in a conversation about reviews with an smb owner who has tons of reviews on both google plus locations for his smbs and tons on yelp.  For what he does his smb's have immeasurably more reviews than his competitors.  Immeasurably more!!!!!    he gets a lot of business off the reviews.  he uses an additional little "deal" yelp offers.  Its like $10 or $15 off for use of the coupon.   He gets a lot of those.   People READ reviews.

 

If you gather testimonials, I'd figure out a way to present those testimonials in a manner that makes them more of  a trusted third party presentation than just slapping spectacular reviews on your own site.   The third party presence gives them more "believability".  

 

Finally the strongest review and review process I've seen on the web occurred on facebook and was used by a relative.  She posted on FB and asked her friends about a kitchen appliance.   She got amazing responses;  Where to buy the thingamajig, who had best prices, different ways to use it, etc etc.   Her friends responded with a lot of comments, and suggestions and she received testimonials from those she trusted.

 

Don't let the cheap prices from amazon, ebay, walmart get you down.  Show em up.  Let your readers know you are better.



#13 EGOL

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Posted 04 April 2014 - 03:07 PM

Show em up.  Let your readers know you are better.

 

Thank you, earl. 





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