Why Your Software Company Can't Ignore Online Reviews

A conversation with Claire Alexander, General Manager at Capterra

Online Doctor Review Value

Claire Alexander brings nearly two decades of experience in digital strategy, new product development, and go-to-market leadership across the media, clean tech, education tech and advertising tech industries. She sat down with SoftwareBusinessGrowth.com to discuss how software companies should handle negative customer reviews, how they can generate more reviews, and why B2B software buyers rely on online reviews when making purchasing decisions.

1. What mistake do software companies make when it comes to their profiles on review sites?

Buyers really want to know about features, pricing, and what other customers think about the product – so if you have outdated information, no user reviews, or are not including pricing data – your profile is going to suffer.

2. How should software companies approach negative reviews?

Let’s be honest, criticism is never easy to read. However, negative reviews provide opportunities to let customers know you care, and that you take their feedback seriously. In fact, our research has shown that 87 percent of respondents said they’d like to hear from a software company that they dinged in a review. Of even more interest to me is the fact that buyers are 52 percent more likely to believe the positive reviews if there are negative reviews in the mix!

We recommend preparing for these inevitable negative reviews by responding quickly and thanking the user for their feedback. Accountability can demonstrate your company’s humility and humanity, so it’s important to own and fix any mistakes. When appropriate, it’s also a retention opportunity, because you can point out new features that will improve their experience.

3. What can software companies do to get more customers to leave more reviews?

More than 80 percent of software buyers say reading user reviews influences their purchasing decision. This is reflected by the fact that software companies get 22 percent more traffic when high-quality, recent reviews are featured.

That said, it can be hard to develop a systematic reviews collection program. This is why we developed a free Reviews as a Service program for software companies on Capterra, where we’ll reach out to customers and generate fresh reviews. It’s a win for the software companies, and a win for the buyers.

We also like running charitable partnerships to help drive reviews – our most recent campaign to support Girls Who Code contributed $10,000 to the organization, $10 at a time, and helped fund STEM education opportunities for U.S. middle and high school girls.

Finally, creating custom nurture paths as part of your default account management function, and soliciting reviews at trade shows and conferences are great opportunities to collect user reviews. Do not underestimate the power of plush!

4. If you could round up all of our readers in a room and give them one take-home message about the importance of software reviews, what would that message be?

Software buying can be a confusing and overwhelming experience, which is why reviews are a vital part of the software selection process. According to Google, half of all B2B buyers are between the ages of 18-34, and many buyers won’t even consider a product without a review listed. My advice to software companies is to make sure you are regularly generating new user reviews on sites where buyers frequent.

5. Capterra recently announced a charitable partnership with Girls Who Code. How did this come about? Why should other software companies support this group?

I believe strongly that great role models and access to experiences that spark curiosity are vital for every person to fulfill their potential. Plus, right now, fewer than 20% of students in STEM fields are female! Girls Who Code provides STEM education for the next generation of female engineers, and support from software companies like ours directly helps expand our future talent pipeline.

Capterra first collaborated with Girls Who Code in 2016 with a donation for every review published, and based on that experience, we wanted to work together again. So, on Giving Day, November 27, 2017, launched another campaign to donate $10 for every review published. We collected $10,000 for Girls Who Code and are grateful for every reviewer who supported the cause.