“As most merchants know, you rarely hear from a happy customer,” says Mary Hubbard, the new Head of Online at customer rating system TruRating. By asking a single question at the end of the business transaction on topics ranging from customer experience to product quality, TruRating helps merchants engage their customers better and gather ratings for service.
Hubbard’s curiosity led her to the Atlanta-headquartered startup from Silicon Valley, where she worked within eBay and Walmart’s e-commerce divisions. While at eBay, she was doing research on e-commerce operations, including customer experience, and she came across an interview with TruRating CEO Georgina Nelson.
“I realized the power of the brand. They can actually get real-time customer feedback in a store for how people are appreciating their products, how people are using them, what the experience was, especially for a luxury brand,” says Hubbard.
After meeting with Nelson, her experience in big brand e-commerce and online customer experience fit the bill to come on board as head of online experience at TruRating. The company, which also has offices in the UK, is already seeing success with in-store integration across the globe and has passed the 20 million reviews milestone.
Nelson told Hubbard that they aimed to expand the product to have the ability to tie online and in-store user sentiment to a transaction.
“This can really identify blind spots that they, merchants and retailers, don’t even realize that they have,” says Hubbard. “Because the technology is so new, and being that we are the only one globally that does it, we find ourselves educating these merchants that everything that they’re doing to design their website today is based on assumptions.”
“That online experience sits on the backend of the check out flow, normally on a confirmation page, so it doesn’t interrupt any type of check out for the merchant themselves.”
Hubbard shares that many online stores will send surveys to customers via email following a purchase up to 24 hours later. However, capturing feedback in real-time tends to be 40 percent more accurate, according to her research.
“It’s the true understanding of customer sentiment,” says Hubbard. “The upset customers are more likely to tell 10 to 15 people. So, using this product, we allow for a baseline to where you understand right out of the gate where your business fits.”
“You could tell that customers who are regulars actually spend 5-10 percent more than your everyday Joe and they rate you higher. We provide actual rating data. We’re right on the payment terminal; we get that immediate impact.”
The new online integration will help big box retailers cater to online shoppers so they are able to make direct changes in operations, product availability, and product assortment — all based on the one question asked at the end of the check out.
Hubbard sees this new integration as an opportunity for both small businesses and large retailers to understand the voice of the customer, especially when it comes to the UX of their site and the customer experience.
“When it comes to online, I think merchants tend to forget that online is extremely high touch. What merchants do is sometimes they roll out prematurely and are not prepared to provide that high level, high touch. I think there’s a common misconception that online is just put it up there and it’ll go. And that’s not necessarily true,” says Hubbard.
“You don’t want to come off as unresponsive; you don’t want to come off as not caring for your customers because you can drop in search a lot faster than you can rise up it.”
She applies this same philosophy to her personal career in technology. Hubbard advises those in the technology industry to never be afraid to ask a question and remain authentic, something she also advises retailers to do.
“It’s one of these things that you have as a child and then we lose that along the way in our career,” says Hubbard. “We think we have to be subject matter expert, but that’s not true. You should always be learning. You should always be asking these questions. Authenticity can take you a long way.”
“When you think about managing people or even think about working cross-functionally or collaboratively, whether that’s global when we work with the UK staff, whether it’s in India through a third party, people want to work with people who they feel that are authentic,” says Hubbard.