It was three years ago when sporting goods company Team Express implemented a new inventory system that instantly failed. Customer orders were disappearing, so customers were paying for items they never received. This issue caused Team Express’ online ratings to plummet — every review was one star or below.
That’s when Concourse Sports stepped in. Concourse sports acquired Team Express and its brands, Baseball Express, Softball.com and Football America in May of 2016.
The team at Concourse knew the overall ratings of the Team Express and Baseball Express stores needed to improve, fast, so the company searched for a reputation management solution. The team’s goal was to find a review management platform to help get their Google star rating up to 4.8 or more. They calculated that they needed at least 300 five-star reviews to achieve this goal.
They chose to partner with ReviewTrackers because the software is easy to use, saves time, and is affordable.
We spoke to Brandon Judd, copywriter and social media specialist for Concourse Sports, about why and how his team increased the stores’ online reviews from 15 to 435 in just two short two months.
Asking Customers for Reviews Helps Increase Sales
The team at Concourse was able to increase their reviews by 2800 percent on Google and Facebook using the Ask with ReviewTrackers tool. They used the tool to send four email campaigns, each with more than 4,000 recipients.
How Concourse’s Team Sent 16,000 Review Request Emails in One Month
Judd generated a large email list of Concourse’s customers. Going back six months, he gathered every email address of anyone who’d bought something and received a product in the mail. From there, Judd created four different campaigns, sending emails to different groups of Concourse customers.
Judd said he makes sure that review requests are evenly distributed across his stores and major review sites. “We split [review requests] evenly between Baseball Express and Team Express. Then we split each of those up between Facebook and Google, our two primary review targets.”
Reviews Provide Insight into the Customer Experience
In addition to social media platforms and a call center, reviews are a way for Team Express and Baseball Express customers to reach out about issues with customer experience at the stores.
“Even if we have an issue, we’re able to show publicly that there’s someone listening on the other end and we’re taking their concerns seriously,” Judd says. “99 percent of what we ship out arrives on time with no issues. It’s just trying to suss out that one percent where things can go wrong.”
During some seasons, it’s difficult for customers to contact the company via phone because of high call volume or weather. Online reviews and social media provide customers with an additional method of contacting the company to get their issues resolved.
“Even if they’ve had a poor experience,” Judd says, “hopefully we can turn that around and they’ll come back to us and maybe recommend us to their friend.”
For example, during Hurricane Harvey, reviews helped the Concourse team respond to customer issues while their call center was down and social media and online review sites were the only way customers could contact the company.
We asked Judd a few more questions about ReviewTrackers. Here’s what he said.
Have You Saved Time Using ReviewTrackers?
Absolutely. When we were manually managing all the feeds for reviews, it was a tedious time-suck during the day.
Every morning I can just log into ReviewTrackers to see if anything has changed, to see what’s out there, to see what needs to be addressed, and I can see it all in one place. I would say it probably saves me about an hour a day.
Why Would You Recommend ReviewTrackers to Another Company?
It’s so easy to use, the interface is very friendly, even for people who haven’t had much experience with spreadsheets. You can spend an hour with the platform and be an expert at it.
That’s why I think it’s a good buy overall, because anyone can do it.
How Do You Respond to Reviews?
We make it a point to respond to every review, Judd says.
We try to personalize everything because we want to make sure that our customers know that there’s not just a robot responding to them. We try to mention them by name and try to mention something specific about their experience whenever we respond. If it’s positive, we thank them.
If it’s a little less than positive, like maybe they left us four stars, we try to open that up for feedback to see what we can do to get that fifth star.
If it’s a negative review, we try to gather more information about what occurred during their experience. We try to identify the problem and take steps to resolve the issue so it doesn’t affect future customers.
Often, customer service has already dealt with whatever specific problem there was, but maybe we gave them less than stellar customer service, so it’s another chance for us to try and make that right. We respond to everything no matter what, even if it’s going to be painful.