The RATER system: Accommodate your online reviewers

The advent of online review sites such as Yelp and Google Places has given an louder voice to the consumer.

The advent of online review sites such as Yelp and Google Places has given an louder voice to the consumer. While this may benefit or hinder a company depending on how well their service is, increased feedback also allows businesses to more accurately engage in customer experience management and respond based on comments.

"Customer expectations of service organizations are loud and clear: Look good, be responsive, be reassuring through courtesy and competence, be empathetic but, most of all, be reliable," said Dr. Leonard Berry, Researcher at Texas A&M University, as quoted by Retail Customer Experience. "Do what you said you would do. Keep the service promise."

Berry and his colleagues devised a business philosophy they feel are the primary factors of service that customers evaluate the most, called RATER: Reliability, Assurance, Tangibles, Empathy and Responsiveness.

According to the news source, any one of these factors can be applied in a variety of scenarios, such a when an order is fulfilled on time, when an employee smiles at a customer, when a store is cleaned and looks presentable, or when a worker helps an obviously puzzled customer. It can also be used in conjunction with other customer experience measurement techniques such as mystery shopping