What Reviews Can Do for You: Analyzing and Using Customer Feedback Data

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There is one rule to the tin-can telephone: The string connecting the cans must be tight. If it’s loose, you can’t hear what the person on the other end is saying.

The same goes for customer reviews and analysis.

Collecting reviews is a worthwhile endeavor, but if you don’t comb through those reviews and analyze them to gain new insight into your consumers, the string is too loose.

And if you can’t hear your customers (or aren’t listening), your business will miss out on opportunities for marketing, nurturing, and development.

header image of stars and charts representing user reviews

When you’re selling software to other businesses, you have to be all the more attentive to what your customers are saying. They know what to expect in terms of quality of products and quality of care and are gathering internal feedback on your software to include in their reviews.

Once you get that feedback data, if you don’t act on and engage with it, the repercussions could be dire and leave you without any more buyers.

To keep you from making uninformed business decisions, we’re going to look at what reviews data you should regularly collect and how you can analyze and use it to improve your company’s strategies.

What types of data you should collect

When you receive product reviews, the “who” behind the review information is almost as important as the feedback itself.

Demographic data shows who your consumers really are and what problems they’re facing. Collecting this data ultimately lets your business better categorize feedback, and categorization helps you see what correlation—if any—exists between your customers.

Here are a few slices of demographic data that can help you better categorize your customer feedback:

  • The industry of your clients
  • The size of their business
  • What their budget is for your tech
  • When they make their purchases
  • Who is doing the reviewing
  • What they are using your service for

Why the data you collect matters

By codifying and categorizing your customers, you can manipulate data so it’s easier to interpret. This makes your data more impactful, because each piece of information and each bit of feedback has more meaning behind it.

Separating your information means you can look at business sizes and see if there are any trends among either your small to midsize business (SMB) clients or your larger corporate customers.

You can figure out if you’re doing a better job of marketing to particular industries, and identify who is making tech purchasing decisions and what they think about your software.

3 ways to make reviews data work for you

Once you have this information, there are a lot of things you can do with it. Let’s take a look at three actionable ways to use your customer feedback.

1. Inform your marketing strategies

Listen to what they say

There are countless ways to use customer feedback for marketing purposes.

After all, you aren’t the only person who sees a benefit from looking at reviews. A recent consumer review survey claimed that 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.

Dedicate a page to testimonials

Using balanced testimonials can bolster perception of your company’s integrity and instill confidence in your leads. Ninety-five percent of consumers suspect fake reviews if all they see on a company’s website are positive testimonials.

Help desk software Zendesk offers a good example of a simple, clear-cut testimonial page that allows you to filter by demographic data. This lets leads sort through reviews and see what their competitors are saying about the product.

ZenDesk's testimonial page lets users filter reviews

Zendesk’s testimonial page offers a filterable reviews experience (Source)

Show your improvements

If you decide to make changes to your product or services based on trends within negative reviews, use the updates to your software as a way to reach your consumers.

Framing your improvements as “we listened, and here’s what we changed” makes for great marketing material.

Notice who says it

The demographic data you collect can tell you which markets you’re hitting effectively and which you’re not, as well as what company size(s) and types you’re having the biggest impact on.

From there, you can course correct as needed. If you’re not performing favorably in a particular industry, launch a targeted marketing campaign to bolster lead generation there.

The same goes for ratings on uses for your software. Say customers are rating you higher as a live chat program than a file sharing program. If you’re used to pitching your product as the latter, you have a few marketing choices to make.

You can lean in and increase content focused on your live chat features, or reverse that and use this knowledge to more effectively market your file sharing features.

2. Focus your product-related decisions

By combining both the demographic data and content of your reviews, you can make better decisions for the future of your business.

Look for trends

Some of the feedback you get will be very clear as far as action items go. Factor in demographics, and you’ll have an even clearer sense of direction for your company.

Not only should that integration of data dictate your marketing strategies, but it should also dictate your business decisions.

Returning to our live chat/file sharing example, a deep dive into your data can help you determine what, specifically, can be improved with the file-sharing component so you don’t lose that corner of the market.

In the meantime, you can promote increased customer service to address any issues your customers have.

Embrace the positive

Positive feedback can provide just as much direction as negative feedback. Not only does it show what you’re doing right but also how you’re doing it right.

With that information, you can get a better sense of what comes to mind when consumers think about your product and devote more resources to maintaining the success of your best features/functionality.

3. Improve your client nurturing

Responding to negative feedback is a tricky but necessary (and beneficial) task. For a top-level analysis, take a look at our whitepaper overview of negative reviews and complete the included checklist.

The best way to approach negative feedback is as a conversation. You and the client are partners in helping them achieve their goals by using your software.

Negative feedback is a sign that their goals are at risk.

Your response is crucial. By keeping the conversation going, you can accomplish several things:

  1. Obtain more information on where they’re encountering challenges
  2. Show them that you’re working to help them
  3. Use it as an opportunity to entrench your partnership

Once you remedy whatever issues they are having, use that conversation as a way to generate more positive feedback and testimonials for your site and future marketing materials.

Analyzing the data: What to do next

Depending on your resources, there are several ways to go about analyzing the reviews data you collect.

If you are a smaller company: Do the analysis yourself.

  1. Collect customer feedback and demographic data
  2. Go through each component to identify correlations and trends

If you are a larger company: Use a reviews insights tool.

  1. Select a program, and let it analyze your feedback for you
  2. Focus your resources on your response to the analysis
Gartner offers its own reviews insight tool, which you can check out by sending an email here (or by talking to your client services rep if you’re a Gartner client).

Looking for Customer Satisfaction software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Customer Satisfaction software solutions.

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About the Author

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Adam Rosenthal

Adam Rosenthal is a Senior Specialist Analyst covering Vendor Marketing. He received his Masters from the University of Chicago and worked on several TV shows you might have heard of.

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