AT&T has joined the handful of companies enabling consumers to submit product ratings and reviews through Facebook. The new capability, shared by Microsoft, Adobe, Benefit Cosmetics and a handful of others, is provided through customer feedback specialist Bazaarvoice.
AT&T customers can now choose from a dozen products featured on the brand's Facebook fan page to rate on a scale of zero to five stars. They can also write a review that they can choose to share with friends, and can comment or "like" someone else's review. Some reviews collected on AT&T's Facebook page will be exported to the company's brand site following moderation.
The idea is to try to harness some of the customer opinions about AT&T already being expressed on Facebook.
"The problem today is that any comment a customer makes about AT&T on Facebook has limited use," said Gerardo Dada, Bazaarvoice’s senior director of product marketing. "Once it goes through the news stream it is pretty much gone forever."
But "by bringing AT&T's catalog to Facebook," Dada continued, Bazaarvoice "enables customers to read, write or share reviews with friends, and it's all connected through the social commerce platform that AT&T has from us."
Customers can access the reviews or write their own by clicking the "ratings" tab on AT&T's Facebook fan page.
User reviews are increasingly important to retailers looking to lure consumers to their brand sites and increase conversions. Ninety-two percent of U.S. Internet users said they read customer product reviews online, and 46 percent said those reviews influence their purchases, according to an eMarketer report from August. Seventy-two percent of online retailers had already begun offering Facebook Connect on their sites as of Feburary of this year, also per eMarketer.
But higher conversion rates are only part of the reason companies are looking to harness more customer reviews, according to Dada, who said Bazaarvoice developed the Facebook feedback capability about six months ago in response to client demand.
"What's more interesting is that it's not only about how you display content and protect the brand," he said, "but you can take the reviews you're getting on Facebook and analyze them for feedback to AT&T on how they can improve their services."
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Douglas Quenqua is a journalist based in Brooklyn, NY who writes about culture and technology. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Wired, The New York Observer, and Fortune.
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