Review monitoring: What it is, What it isn’t, and Why you need it

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Review monitoring: Definition

At its core, review monitoring consists of tracking new reviews, review updates, and review replies, and deduplicating all of those for you to be able to make sense of it all. 

This implies aggregating reviews from multiple products, platforms, and / or locations. In the B2B SaaS space, the diversity of review platforms (integrations marketplaces, software review sites, app stores, business review platforms, etc.) introduces a specific challenge: aggregating reviews under a unique schema, to be able to leverage reviews outside of the context of a specific platform.

Monitoring also includes notifications for each review, and sending those notifications where they’re needed, making integrations with your other business applications a key feature. Review monitoring usually includes some sort of routing logic based on review management processes to send the right reviews (based on their score, keywords, content, platform, etc.) to the right place (Helpdesk, Slack or MS Teams, Product feedback software, …)

Review data in itself is great, but it’s even more helpful to have the right context along with reviews. Tagging, searching, translating, and reviewer identification are key features of review monitoring software, allowing users to access and leverage their customer reviews. Tagging, Translating, reviewer identification, and other review data enrichment processes are also key components of review monitoring

Review monitoring is not review management.

Review management answers “what to do” with customer reviews. 

It’s meant to determine how you should acknowledge and answer the customer feedback – and who you should share that feedback with; whether internally for product improvement, win-back, sales enablement, etc. or externally on your marketing material, for testimonial advertising, etc.

Review monitoring on the contrary, is about how to do that and how to automate anything that deserves automating.

Replying to a human engaged enough with your brand to leave a review obviously does not qualify as something that deserves automating. 

But things like feeding reviews into a product feedback board, automating your quarterly review generation report, feeding the customer quote spreadsheet your sales teams can access and sharing reviews with your team on Slack to start conversations on real-world customer problems, and celebrate your real-life impact on customers are all things that can clearly benefit from automation.

Why answering from the app isn’t a review monitoring feature

Answering from the app is supposed to allow agents to save time.

Here’s the thing though.

If your agents are spending more time physically answering, than deciding what to answer, you either have a major problem, or you think you know what they spend time on, but you have no idea. Don’t trust me? Sit down with an agent for an hour or two, and see for yourself.

What answering from the app really means in 90% of the cases it was requested to us, is access rights management. And every review website on the market handles access rights management extremely well. Especially Google.

Anyone pretending otherwise is trying to sell something you don’t need.

If you haven’t spent the 5mn required to figure out access rights to Google My Business, you clearly don’t have proper review management processes, and you will definitely not have more success using even more complex review management solutions. 

You’ll just be a few thousand dollars lighter.

Now, conceptual definitions are all great and fun, but I find that digging into actual real-world use-cases is usually the best way to define business concepts.

So this next part is a deep-dive into the 5 key use-cases we see most at reviewflowz, and how they help our clients get more value from their customer reviews.

Top 5 Key use-cases of review monitoring

#1 Never miss a review, and make sure you handle negative reviews

In this use-case, review-monitoring often works hand in hand with brand monitoring. The idea is you want to be sure you see every review about your brand or products, and get ahead of any negative review that might be published.

This works through individual review monitoring, keeping track of everything that’s being said about your brand. The main objective is to avoid blind spots. 

But once you have the information that a review was published, comes the question of what to do with it.

The first thing that probably came to your mind now is that you need to answer every bad review. And as fast as possible.

I don’t blame you. That’s what an insane amount of people seem to write consistently on the topic, copying from each other, and having GPT rewrite it to avoid getting in trouble with Google.

Realistically though, if you get 10 very poor reviews bashing your brand, answering every review with generic, empty answers won’t make the slightest difference. 

No matter how fast. Speed obviously isn’t the problem.

Once you know about a bad review, the first thing you need to do is find out more information. What happened? Why did this customer feel so powerless or insulted they decided to drop a bad review about you?

And once you have that, try to figure out how to change their mind.

And if that doesn’t work, share more information about what really happened to try to make a reasonable reader consider your point of view.

If you shit the bed, say you shit the bed. Don’t cover it up with some lame “We’re sorry you feel that way, please reach out on”. 

A bad review is a customer reporting a problem. 

Fix the problem.

And you know what? 

If you fix enough problems, you might even get less bad reviews, and make your business better.

Replying to reviews automatically within 10mn won’t help though.

#2 Access, search and analyze reviews

Customer reviews are also a gold-mine rich with product and competitive insights. 

Not only are customers taking time to share their perspective of the software, app or service, they’re doing so in the context of benchmarking, comparing your solution to the competition. 

Which makes the feedback incredibly valuable. 

It’s not just about how to create value for your customers, it’s about how to create more value than any other solutions. 

Digging through your reviews and your competitor reviews can help uncover strengths and weaknesses, and prepare battlecards, marketing material, sales collateral, content, etc. 

#3 Share the right reviews at the right time

Reviews are also a great way to build up customer quotes easily for your sales team. Anything that’s in the public domain is fair game to use as a quote. And if you have a few hundred reviews on, it’s an excellent way to share the valuable voice of the customer with your sales teams to help move deals along.

Whether you end up listing every review in a spreadsheet, or on actual software – your sales team will be able to search directly among all your customer reviews, using keywords, tags, and such. 

Exit the dusty spreadsheet you update manually every quarter or, worse, the slidedeck with screenshots and unstructured, unsearchable data.

Reviews are also an excellent content source for testimonial advertising. No need to reach out for specific quotes, or for permission to share – you can use your aggregated list of reviews to pick the best ones, and share them on social media, in email newsletters, on your landing pages, whichever. 

#4 Measure progress and send reviews to the right platforms

Another key use-case that comes up very often among our customers is measuring progress. You can’t really optimize something you’re not measuring. And believe it or not, most of our clients have no idea how many good and bad reviews they got last month. Do you?

For that specific use-case, it’s important to distinguish between reviews, and average ratings. Most review platforms use some sort of rating system. 

Although they’re not nearly as elaborate as they’d like you to believe, they will be different than a simple average of all the scores. For example, software review platforms like G2 & Capterra typically weigh reviews based on their completion, and attribute reviews to different categories based on reported usage. 

For that reason, you can’t get to the g2 ratings (and rankings) using simply the reviews themselves. That’s where it’s important to add the ratings data. 

The way we handle this at reviewflowz for example is by taking a “snapshot” of our clients’ tracked products regularly, and storing those values. This allows our customers to go back in time and see the relative evolution of their ranking compared to the competition. 

It’s kind of like in formula 1. Everyone’s improving. What matters is whether you’re improving faster, or slower than the competition. 

Review monitoring allows you to track your progress, your competitors’, and take data-driven decisions to maximize your impact. 

This level of insight also allows our customers to prioritize their review generation efforts. 

For example, say you need 10 reviews to get to the top 5 on your main g2 category, but after that you need 150 reviews to get to the top 4. While you only need 20 reviews on Gartner to get to the top 3. 30 reviews well distributed will get you a higher impact than 160 reviews. Say you spend $20 per review, that’s a $2600 budget you can spend on something else. 

Like reviewflowz, for example

#5 Share the customers’ words with the team

The final use-case is actually the reason I created reviewflowz initially, and it is something Hubspot CTO Dharmesh Shah mentions often in interviews and videos.

The main idea is that as a software company scales, everyone in the company gets further and further from actual customers.

While front-line teams still speak to customers all day, they’ll typically report macro-KPIs and aggregated data, without ever sharing the actual words of the customers. 

And because a growing software company means a growing number of people working away from the front-line, this means a growing number of people in the company do not have access to the customers’ words. 

This is a dangerous trend, and one that makes companies move further and further away from their customers’ needs and fears, and gradually lose touch with their product-market fit.

Of course, the bigger a company gets the higher the inertia, so it doesn’t necessarily show immediately. Typically, it’s in the small things, the details, the quality of execution, and .. the growth rate.

Sharing the voice of the customer, with their actual words, sentences, and names, is one of the most effective ways to bring the customer back to the center of every conversation. 

Dharmesh Shah talks about it in this short Youtube video, check it out!

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