Casengo Blog

The great value of customer reviews

It’s all about the money, so it’s only logical that budgets and spending determine your agenda. Especially in the fast-moving environment of e-commerce it can be hard to maintain true focus on customer satisfaction. After all, redesigning your online shopping basket or improving something crucial on your website may lead to a direct increase in conversion in the short term – so that’s where you put your money.

But what about the long term? How important is the experience of your existing customers to your business? Let’s take a look at the importance of customer reviews.

Customer reviews teach you how to improve

“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” Bill Gates said that, and he was right. Great businesses constantly monitor what their customers want and what they experience whilst shopping. Whether posted on a review platform or on social media, customer reviews show what people really think about your brand. And that’s a good thing: even though you probably never really meet your customers face-to-face, reviews allow you to learn which aspects of your business you can improve, from packaging to customer service.

Your customer’s honesty about what they find annoying makes improving customer experience a very straightforward task. It doesn’t involve high-level discussions or endless meetings: just read those reviews frequently, make a to-do list, and solve the root causes of the negative comments. The reward is the elusive, yet oh-so coveted, customer loyalty.

Customers don’t think about your agenda. For them it’s merely about their personal experience with your business. So don’t overlook the value of small improvements. What should you focus on first? It’s a tough choice, especially for us human beings, with our natural tendency to seek ‘breakthrough’ changes. “Don’t look for the big improvement,” the American basketball player John Wooden once said. “Seek the small improvement one day at a time. That’s the only way it happens – and when it happens, it lasts.”

So go on: add a personal thank you card to each order, answer just a tiny bit faster, follow up consistently, add a new product a few customers suggested – you name it. These small changes can do miracles for the lifetime value of your customers and the likelihood that they’ll refer their friends to you.

Customer reviews can bring you more revenue

Apart from learning how to improve customer experience and future revenue, customer reviews also have an impact in the short run. Let’s share three ways in which customer reviews can increase your bottom line.

1. Be the best at customer service

Online price (s)hopping is easy. And so is customer service shopping. Two-thirds of consumers (PDF) are willing to pay more if they believe a company provides excellent customer service. Lower prices won’t stop them from taking their business elsewhere if they don’t like what they come across.

If you potential customers read a tweet about how crappy your customer service is, they will ignore you, even though you seem to be a little cheaper than your competitors. And the opposite it true as well: the more good reviews they come across, the more sales you’ll make! Customer reviews can make your business – or break it.

2. Ask your happiest customers for a referral

The #1 reason for people to write reviews is to help other consumers make good decisions. Your happiest customers will take it one step further: they are often willing to refer other people to your business.

Those referred customers actually spend 16% more over their customer life cycle than other new customers.

So do have a look at your client base and find out which customers return over and over again – and ask them kindly for a referral.

3. Double down on customer reviews with social media

In essence, each tweet about your company – whether positive or negative – is a small review. The positive tweets are great, and you’ll happily retweet them. But the negative tweets? Not so.

If you’re doing things right, not only will customer reviews make you look good on your testimonial section, but your happy customers will start tweeting about your business without you prompting them to do so.

Positive reviews not only increase conversion, but can also get you some new traffic – and you won’t have a spent a dime on ads!

Why email beats social media for customer service

We’ve known it for a while but now it’s official: most people are not keen on social media customer service. Done right, email still is the best way of responding to customer queries.A new survey of the over-25s shows that only 2% of respondents prefer to use social media to get help. And these are not people who haven’t given it a go yet; 67% of those surveyed had tried and tested the method, and were unimpressed. Those of us who are focused on providing the best possible service have only ever tried to give the customers what they wanted. When everybody was telling us that we needed to use social media, we made the effort. Facebook, Twitter, even Instagram – you name it, we gave it a go. So where to now?

Email: what customers want

We don’t suggest for a moment that you give up helping people on social media. Actually quite the opposite – what you need to do is ramp up your social media game to ensure that you’re not one of the companies who are putting willing users off social media custserv altogether.

I know just how it happens. Earlier this year I had a question for UK clothing company Boden, who pride themselves on their customer service – and rightly so, I have to say, having dealt with them via email. They are fast, friendly, and solution-focused. When I tried to interact with them on Facebook, though, I was sorely disappointed.

I commented on one of their posts with a question about an item featured. The post was a few days old, so when I didn’t receive a reply I thought perhaps it had just been overlooked. I tried again, repeating my question. Crickets. So what happened? Based on my (positive) experiences with the company, I think they just never saw my message.

I can tell that they don’t use Casengo’s customer service software, which would have sent my comment right to the top of their team inbox ready for them to deal with. Instead, I think it just got lost in their attempts to handle Facebook from the Facebook interface, one of many hundreds of comments they have to deal with each week. Thanks to the stellar service I’ve received from Boden in the past, I don’t hold it against them – but they did lose a sale. And I won’t try to Facebook with them again.

Use email, use email, and did we say – use email?

As a company staffed with internet junkies, we have more than our fair share of experience with online communication. When it’s done right, email has to be the best way of handling customer service.

The benefits:
• You have as much space to say as little or as much as you need to; no need to stop at 140 characters.
• It’s (more or less) private, government hacking scandals aside – in any case, it’s not being broadcast to anyone who’s ever heard of you (and even more people who haven’t).
• It is convenient for both sender and receiver. The sender can reach out at a time that suits them (no phone line opening hours to fit in with, and no being put on hold), and the recipient can respond at a convenient moment. No picking up the phone in the middle of lunch. No difficulty understanding each other’s accents. No premium phone lines.
• If you need to include attachments – photographic proof of a damaged item, say, or instructions for use – it’s easily done.
• And with hybrid chat, it can go from an email exchange to a live chat session whenever it suits! When it comes to choosing the best customer service medium, it’s important to keep one thing in mind: the customer is still always right.

Although email is almost always the best option for getting to the bottom of an issue, not all customers want to do things via email. And that’s ok. The best channel for customer service is still the one they prefer, not the one that is the one that you think they should prefer. If they tweet you, you tweet back. Facebook comments? Better be right there. And dare we say it, even the occasional customer who prefers to pick up the phone? You’re gonna chat to them in your brightest and cheeriest phone voice. Because whether they want email, Facebook, or perhaps even carrier pigeon, they’re the ones who are keeping you in business.

Why we rebuilt Casengo

I am glad to inform you that we’ve almost completed the roll-out of Casengo Next. We’ve introduced a new interface and design, improved functionalities and are now working with a new architecture.

Almost each detail (from features to buttons) has been turned over by our top developers (Ivan, Daniel, Chris 1 and Chris 2), our first in-house designer ever (Thomas) and our brand new UX guy Ernst. Casengo, I’m glad to say, has grown up.

Casengo is now three years old. That in itself is quite an achievement for a small company that started its journey in a gloomy suburb of Amsterdam. After moving to a bright town house overlooking the Emperor’s Canal (Keizersgracht), we got back-up by henQ Investments, both in terms of money and of commercial expertise.

From 1.0 to Next

Casengo’s previous version was a fine one, with its retro look and feel. It ran, however, on an architecture that wasn’t quite as flexible as we’d hoped when we started building it in 2012. And disappointing our users wasn’t part of the plan.

When a couple of users kept asking for the same features and we just couldn’t grant their wishes, we knew it was time for a big change. Mid 2014, we started building a new version. Casengo Next was made available to new sign-ups in December and is now available to everyone.

Before & After

What’s new

Casengo Next has a flat design, allowing us to make certain functionalities more intuitive than before. We moved all the productivity functionalities (case status, tags, attributes) to the right panel, which is now expandable.

Case view

The left side is now reserved for contact-related information, giving the app a much more intuitive flow. It’s easier to add quick replies (s), invite others to join the conversation, and even forward entire conversations or parts of it to third parties.

Casengo Next screenshots

All of our users will benefit from these changes, but larger teams – who end up working on cases together – will really feel the difference. We improved the notification system, adding desktop notifications, improving responsiveness and performance.

Next in Next

We’re now working hard on taking internal collaboration to another next level. You’ll soon get notifications each time a colleague updates a case you were working on. We’ll add mass actions within the inbox. The knowlegde base is also getting a make-over. Stay tuned - and do let us know ( what you think of Casengo Next. Cheers!

Main cause of negative reviews? Poor customer service! [infographic]

Nobody in his right mind will deny that awesome customer service and happy customers have a positive impact on revenue and conversion. As our customer service and helpdesk software is mostly used by e-commerce customers, we decided to do some research. We built a tool to grab reviews off the internet.

Whilst reading a sample of these 1 million reviews, we noticed the difference in length: negative reviews turned out to be 2.5 times longer than positive ones. We proceeded to analyse 46.000 of these negative reviews on keywords to understand what customers were mainly complaining about.

What bothers unhappy reviewers?

The most basic purpose of an online store is a simple one: getting the products delivered. Not surprisingly, slow deliveries led to the largest chunk of negative reviews (18.4%).

But that poor customer service bothered these customers just as often, did come as somewhat of a surprise. People email or call only when things (almost) go wrong, which means that most e-customers  shouldn’t even have to deal with customer service. Yet 18.4% of unhappy reviewers raised the matter of poor customer service.

Check out our infographic below for the full top 10o of reasons for negative reviews.

“Never again!”

1 in 15 unhappy customers wrote they’d never come back and/or specifically warned other consumers not to buy at the online store they reviewed. Which is shocking, as other research suggests that only 1 in 10 customers actually complain. And although 1 in 15 explicitly writes this, it only makes sense that many more of them do not plan to ever come back again.

So why is it that these customers explicitly write they have had enough of it?

Poor customer service through email: #1 reason for runaway customers

1 in 4 reviewers mentioned poor customer service. Responding to emails slowly or not at all, or being hard to reach by phone, turned out to be fatal.

Half of the remarks about customer service are about being hard to reach, of which 84% about email. This makes sense: e-commerce customers like the ease of email. Just like ordering online, this takes them the least amount of time.

Late delivery obviously still scored high as a deal-breaker, but apparently people can somewhat understand a late delivery - unless they also have to deal with poor customer service. Then they're a lot less forgiving. They just want their problem to be solved!

You can find the entire press release, including the infographic cut up in bits and pieces (for easy copy-paste handiwork), in our online pressroom.

Casengo: the first customer service platform with WhatsApp!

UPDATE 7pm: WE DID IT!! Find proof on YouTube.

UPDATE February 3rd: PRESS RELEASE including screen shots.

‘Ok, let's go for it! I'll be ordering pizza. The 24 hours start... now.’ We're in the middle of the Casengo WhatsApp Hackathon. In a very short time, we want to prove it's possible: producing a prototype of the WhatsApp integration for Casengo.

Customer service is about being wherever your customers are. As in: on WhatsApp. How great would it be to be right there in their WhatsApp list? A devoted company amongst friends! But WhatsApp, being extremely closed, refuses to cooperate with third parties. So far, not one multichannel customer service platform managed to truly integrate the free messaging service. High time for some old-fashioned hacking! Love it.

A two-way conversation

We're about 15 hours in the hackathon now. Our R&D team almost pulled it off! They managed to send WhatsApp messages from their smartphone straight into the Casengo team inbox. Each new contact through WhatsApp now turns into a customer case within our application. Now they're trying to find a way back to their smartphones. But they're moving in the right direction: the customer's direction. As soon as we establish two-way contact (probably around beer o'clock), we'll show you some proof on this website. Stay tuned for a little movie!

Getting dark... Beer, pizza, and code!

UX guy Ernst really needed that pizza.