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How Review Data Guides Rural King in Creating a Beloved Store Experience

online reviews

Interpreted by Customer Experience Analytics technology

faster review responses

Rural King’s average response time has been reduced to 1.49 days

average star rating

Across 128 locations (84% of all reviews have 5- or 4-star ratings)

Mattoon, IL


Number of locations


Make sense of unstructured data and textual information found in over 253.6K reviews

Monitor and respond to online reviews of 128 Rural King store locations across multiple business review sites


Leverage ReviewTrackers’ Customer Experience Analytics technology to analyze review data, pin down customer sentiment, and discover high-impact trends and patterns in the customer experience

Utilize ReviewTrackers’ review and keyword alerts, Google integration, and intelligent review response workflow to act quickly and respond to customer feedback


Rural King Combines Product Leadership with Customer Experience Excellence

Family-owned and -operated Rural King — a leading farm supply store headquartered in Mattoon, Illinois — carries a broad range of over 100,000+ essential goods, food, feed, seed, and farm and home products. 

With 128 stores in 13 states, the company is recognized as an industry leader in product knowledge for the farm and home retail category. 

Beyond its product expertise, Rural King is also known for consistently delivering experiences that customers love and connect with. It welcomes store visitors with a time-honored tradition: “Enjoy a free bag of popcorn and a cup of coffee on us”: an offer characteristic of the company’s commitment to service and customer experience management

Rural King is attuned to its customers because it listens to them. The company partners with ReviewTrackers in order to manage all of its stores’ online reviews and customer feedback — as well as to discover actionable insights that help the company pivot its store experience.

Using Review Data to Define the Customer Experience

Rural King is using ReviewTrackers to analyze massive amounts of unsolicited feedback and unlock the potential of all its stores’ review data.

So far, ReviewTrackers’ Customer Experience Analytics technology has analyzed over 253,600 reviews of Rural King stores.

“We are hearing directly from customers about the store experience as well as pricing and product challenges,” says Kirk Waidelich, VP of Marketing for Rural King. “This allows us to narrow in on the stores that are experiencing issues — and to target and understand these issues versus simply guessing.”

What Does It Mean to Analyze Online Reviews?

Whenever customers review a business, they are sharing textual information that’s often more useful than what users ever get from numerical star ratings or satisfaction scores. 

For companies with hundreds of business locations, it’s challenging to “manually” analyze and make sense of this information, especially when the data is coming from hundreds of thousands of reviews, such as in Rural King’s case.

We use customer comments from reviews to pivot our store experience. With ReviewTrackers, we have learned more about why customers love Rural King. 

Kirk Waidelich
VP of Marketing for Rural King.


This is where proprietary natural language processing technology by ReviewTrackers comes in. It crystallizes information into insights — helping Rural King achieve a more accurate, complete, and unified view of the customer.

  • The Keywords Dashboard brings to the surface the most relevant keywords used by your customers in their online reviews — and analyzes the customer sentiment associated with these keywords. 

(It comes to no surprise that there is a great level of enthusiasm from Rural King customers about “popcorn”: more than 2,400 reviews talk about the free snack in a positive light.) 

  • The Experience Analysis Dashboard is an artificial intelligence-driven keyword tool that analyzes customer sentiment across major customer experience categories, such as product, service, location, value, and customer.

“Comments from customers are so valuable. With ReviewTrackers, we have learned more about why customers love Rural King,” says Waidelich. “We now use these data points to pivot our store experience, operations and cleanliness, product stocking, and staffing.”

Simply put: ReviewTrackers enables Rural King’s entire team — from marketing, operations, customer support, and merchandising to business development, HR, finance, and the C-suite — to capture the Voice of the Customer and discover the trends and patterns that define their experience. It helps the company find meaning in online reviews and customer feedback.

See how ReviewTrackers elevates your reputation strategy

Pinning Down Customer Sentiment Data Through Review and Keyword Alerts

Review alerts are a fundamental feature of ReviewTrackers as a reputation management software platform. When customers review a store location or product, Rural King is immediately notified so they can act quickly and respond to customer feedback.

To keep the fingers of stakeholders and decision-makers on the pulse of the company’s online reputation, Rural King has a total of 23 users signed onto the ReviewTrackers platform. Each receives a unique set of customized review alerts — the company has created over 86 alerts in total — which deliver timely email or SMS notifications on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.

Rural King has also set up over 23 Keyword Alerts in order to track and get notified of reviews that contain specific keywords. These notifications pin down customer sentiment, letting users know whether the keywords were used in a positive or negative context.

For example, a business development executive for Rural King is alerted every time a new online review mentions relevant keywords like “parking,” “dimly lit,” “bathroom,” and “lighting.” 

In time, Rural King aims to add keyword alerts for actual product items in its stores so that teams — product and merchandising, for example — can track customer sentiment around these items. 

With 98% of Rural King’s reviews being posted on Google, it makes sense for Waidelich’s teams to connect the company’s Google My Business (GMB) accounts to ReviewTrackers and respond quickly to Google reviews — without having to manually log into GMB or risk losing unanswered reviews in the shuffle. 

“Our goal is to improve the dialogue we have with customers, and to react quickly and learn from these conversations,” says Waidelich. “ReviewTrackers helps us keep customers happy while we listen to the challenges they’re facing.”

This proactive approach to online review management is paying off. In the last 6 months, Rural King posted 59% faster review response times: an average of 1.49 days. The company’s 67% response rate marks a 36% improvement and compares favorably against the retail industry’s average of 47%.

Across major review and reputation metrics, Rural King is surpassing industry benchmarks. Based on customer experience analytics technology by ReviewTrackers, customer sentiment for all store locations — across multiple experience categories such as product, service, location, value, and customer — is consistently positive. 

The company’s 4.32 overall rating is also much higher than the retail industry’s average of 3.75. And 84% of all of Rural King’s reviews are rated either 4 or 5 stars.

Take the Guesswork Out of Your Customer Strategy

The worst way to learn about a customer is to guess. With ReviewTrackers as its technology partner, Rural King is able to capture the Voice of the Customer and truly understand customer needs and desires. 

Online reviews of store locations are particularly crucial — they deliver important benefits to retail brands. For customer-focused organizations like Rural King, reviews serve as a valuable source of information essential to delivering experiences that reflect the lives of their customers.

(Image credit: Herald and Review)

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