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Technical Guide – Using Online Customer Reviews

I’ve written this article for web developers who are working to integrate with our new Online Customer Reviews. I’ll dedicate a separate post to the features available, why you would use the Online Customer Reviews, etc.

In order for a business to use our Online Customer Reviews they will need our Online Booking service. Once this is in place we will need to set up a few options within the Online Booking. They will need us to turn on the Reviews setting. They will also need us to set up the ReviewsNotificationEmailAddress setting with the email address for the person responsible for approving reviews. Finally, they will need us to set up the SalonEmail setting with the proper first part of the company’s spasalon.com email address (ex. ibcs for the email address ibcs@spasalon.com). Both of these options our done by Spa/Salon Manager technicians once we’re notified that the salon wants to use this feature – just make sure to get the notification email ahead of time so we can set it up correctly.

We built the customer’s part of the review process in to the existing Online Booking site. As long as you have a link for Online Booking on the web site customers will start seeing a review option on their main screen of choices – the Purchase History link will change to Purchase History / Customer Reviews. We also built the employee’s part of the review process in, this time to the Employee Access site. As long as you have a link for Employee Access on the web site employees with full access will start seeing a Customer Reviews option on their screen which will allow them to respond to reviews and approve them for showing on the web site.

The important part for web developers is the display of reviews on the web site. To do this you’ll place an iFrame in the desired place on the page and build a URL for the source of that iFrame based on the desired behavior and settings for the content. The base for this URL will be the same as the base URL for the online booking. For example, our sample web site’s base URL is http://spasalon.com/online/ibcs/index.asp. The /index.asp is normally left off but we need it in this project. We’ll need to add in a passwci value to that to tell it where we want to end up – the ShowReviews page – so the full URL for getting there would be http://spasalon.com/online/ibcs/index.asp?passwci=showreviews.

If you follow the last link you’ll notice that it actually works – it gives us a text-only version of the salon’s overall rating. We may not want to show that view on our page though. I’ve added many options to this page and am definitely open to adding more as needed – we want to give each salon and spa the exact look they’re trying to create when they display their customer reviews. Below is a list of all the options available along with descriptions of how they operate. Each option simply gets added to the QueryString above. For example, if we wanted to suppress the text above but show the image for the rating we would use the link http://spasalon.com/online/ibcs/index.asp?passwci=showreviews&showratingimage=-1&showratingtext=0.

Options Available

  1. FullTestimonialsPage – Shows a fixed number of random testimonials one after the other on the page formatted to look attractive as a part of a full web page. This option pulls all css and background settings from the Online Booking.
  2. Testimonials – This is the same as the FullTestimonialsPage only that it does not use css and backgrounds unless you turn on ShowRatingImage.
  3. OverallRating – Gives a total rating for the salon. Only uses css and backgrounds if you turn on ShowRatingImage.
  4. ScrollingMarquee – Displays a scrolling marquee that does not use css or backgrounds.
  5. SingleReload – Displays a single random review that does use css and background settings. This review is automatically refreshed periodically.
  6. SingleStatic – Displays a single random review that does not use css and background settings unless you turn on ShowRatingImage.

As I mentioned earlier this is something we want to make work for each salon and spa. We’ll work with you on fitting this in to your existing web page, extending functionality as needed, and explaining these options in more detail. My goal here is to empower our partners, make them aware of what options are available, and help them to develop the best possible web sites for our common customers – our salons and spas.

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