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Customer Service Ratings Can Help Boost AdWords Performance on Your E-Commerce Site

Melissa MacAlister

Customer service has become a key factor in the online shopping experience, particularly as retailers can no longer compete on price and selection alone. In recognition of that fact, Google and other shopping engines including PriceGrabber have begun to give consumers easier access to customer service performance data in order to create a more transparent online shopping experience.

Now that customer service data is making its way to the forefront of the shopping experience, it’s important that advertisers are aware of where this data comes from, why it’s included and how it can best serve them in optimizing campaign performance.

Starting last year, Google began to license data from the company I work for, StellaService. We provide e-commerce customer service analytics, which Google is integrating into products including AdWords, Google Trusted Stores and Merchant Profile Pages.

StellaService collects objective data including dozens of operational metrics in key areas such as chat, email and phone support, as well as shipping, returns and refunds. This data powers StellaService ratings, often seen in the form of the StellaService Seal, a badge awarded to online merchants with Elite or Excellent customer service.

These ratings are of particular interest to search marketers, as Google has opened up a new type of AdWords Extension that enables advertisers to tout third-party reviews. Google notes that reviews included in Review Extensions should reflect “your business as a whole, as opposed to a review about a specific product or service,” and says that Review Extensions can boost campaign performance by up to 10%.

Since StellaService ratings reflect the service performance of retail companies, they’re a great fit for inclusion in AdWords Review Extensions. Dozens of retailers including Mr Porter, Scottevest and SonicElectronix have already jumped on this opportunity to tout their high customer service ratings, and have reported that they’ve seen nearly immediate increases in click-through rate. Mr Porter experienced a two percent lift in click-through rate, which is attributed in full to the use of its StellaService Elite rating in the ads.  Other appropriate sources for third-party reviews include leading publications and Consumer Reports.

Mr. Porter Site Screenshot 

Advertisers are not charged for clicks on reviews, and are charged simply the standard CPC rate when the ad itself is clicked on. As Review Extensions offer the opportunity to type free text, different iterations can be tested to maximize results.

While StellaService rates thousands of companies each year, it’s worth noting that achieving an Elite or Excellent rating from StellaService is no easy task. Less than half of the stores evaluated by us have qualified for the award.

For those companies who do qualify (you can search eligibility here) and would like to call it out via Review Extensions, here are a few tips:

1) Review extensions can be set up at the Campaign level or at the Account level. It is recommended to add your StellaService Rating to review extensions at the Account level, so they flow through all of your campaigns. 2) Be sure to carefully adhere to Google’s policies for review extensions, as failure to do so could cause your ads to be rejected. For example, select the “exact quote” option only if you are actually quoting text that appears on your StellaService profile page. 3) In the “Source URL” field, include a link to your StellaService profile page. This is located at www.stellaservice.com/profile/YOURCOMPANYNAME.com 4) When using a rating in AdWords, you may only use the rating for that specific URL, not a sister site or other affiliated entity.

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Melissa MacAlister is the Director of Partnerships at StellaService, a provider of customer service analytics. She works with online retailers to help them leverage the power of customer service ratings and data. Connect with Melissa on Twitter.
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