­­If Amazon ruled the world it would be an orderly and peaceful place. It would also have star ratings on everything. Reviews help brands track a customer’s journey by evaluating elements like service efficacy, delivery times and product quality. For in-app sales platforms like Apple’s App Store and Google Play, reviews mean the success or imminent failure of a product.

Amazon has brought that methodology to product sales. While most shops try to stand behind the products it sells, Amazon enables its users to honestly review its retailer’s products, creating invaluable user generated content in the process.

Exhibit A – Amazon Answers

ama-2Soon after ordering from Amazon, the company sends a push email asking a basic question about the product ordered thereby prompting the purchaser to provide an answer. This approach lets users challenge a product claim or refute a brand promise. It is like Quora, a user generated experience forum, but for products.

This is effective for two reasons:

1. It feels personal, “Amazon is asking me a non-generic question, wowzers!”

2. The question is easy to answer, yes or no. That’s a very low barrier for entry to engage in the process.

Exhibit B – Product Review Email Push

amazon-1A few days later Amazon sends a second email asking for a review of the product or at least a star rating. An email about a product you buy isn’t as intrusive since you’ve already shown enough interest in the item to purchase it and helps the brand build a two-way conversation about the product with the end user.

For Amazon the benefit is clear and immediate. Good products get promoted and bad products get buried deep within the platform’s algorithm, just as a lackluster application is lost within the furthest recesses of the App Store.

User generated content is gold.

Anytime your customers can provide testimony to the quality of your services, or answer questions about your products for other consumers, you are building a community. In Amazon’s case, it is designed in a way that provides transparency in the quality of the products it sells – it owns that communication transaction and shares it publically.

Think about how your brand collects and shares customer feedback. If you aren’t asking for reviews and sharing them, consumers will post their thoughts elsewhere on a third-party like Yelp, G2 and even Google Maps. By owning that communications transaction you build two-way communication with your end users and it gives you the first chance to respond to and fix problems as they arise.

Learn how Cision’s social media monitoring capability can help you monitor your brand online.

About James Rubec

James Rubec is a data geek, a former public relations lead and journalist with a love of content and advocacy. Ask him anything @JamesRRubec and be sure to follow @Cision_Canada

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