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Why is Google Trusted Stores No Longer Using Feeds?

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# 1
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When my site first went through the Trusted Stores Validation process, I'll admit, it was a bit of a pain getting it to work with our shipping software. Nevertheless, once it was working, it was a very reasonable and ACCURATE measurement for our order coverage and on-time shipping rate. We averaged 99% on-time shipping and delivery which is something our customers really care about.

 

I also thought the Google Trusted Store Badge on our site was great because it gave customers our on-time shipping and order coverage stats. All of these stats were based on feeds coming directly from our store and our various carriers. These were not opinions...it was reality.

 

So naturally I was troubled to discover a few weeks back that Google Trusted Stores was going to rely SOLELY on customer feedback to determine a stores order coverage and on-time shipping. In just 3 weeks my "on-time" shipping stats have gone from 99.5% to 92% because we've now made "on-time shipping" a subjective matter??

999 times out of 1000 when FedEx says a package has arrived on-time, it has. Why is Google now taking an accurate data point (one that we rely on to remain a "Trusted Store") and asking a customer if their package arrived on time in email survey?

 

One doesn't need vast amounts of psycho-graphic data to come to the conclusion that Google is now getting less accurate information on my store's on-time shipping.

 

Can someone please tell me why this makes sense and how this helps Google determine whether or not a business is satisfying its obligations for order coverage and on-time shipping?

 

When I ship Priority Mail to a customer which promises to delivery in 2-3 business days, there's a lot of room for interpretation; naturally someone who received their product on day 3 could easily suggest that it was late. Many times there is no distinction between "late" and "later than I wanted it". It's not as if our shipping procedures have changed in the last 3 weeks and I just do not understand why Google has decided to use a more subjective measurement on something like shipping when 99% of the time tracking information is correct. Yes, I'm suggesting that online tracking info from USPS and FedEx is more reliable data than someone filling in an email survey.

 

Now, instead of valuable and accurate information, my prospective customers just see more stupid star ratings which have become as reliable and ubiquitous as the weatherman nowadays. 

 

The fact that Google Trusted Stores relied on real data as opposed to opinions or suppositions from customers was what made it valuable and unique.

 

I don't understand why Google has seemingly taken a step back as opposed to a step forward in the evolution of its Trusted Stores Program; it's one that is now far less valuable to me as a business and for my customers.

 

If someone has a counterpoint, I'd be eager to hear it.

1 Expert replyverified_user

Re: Why is Google Trusted Stores No Longer Using Feeds?

[ Edited ]
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# 2
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first, the switch from feeds to code-snippets directly on the website
was considered an overall improvement in data collection efficiency.

transaction-volume, customer-escalation-rate, and delivery in a
timely-manner that meets customer-expectations, are now metrics.

transaction-volume and customer-escalation-rate metrics are rather objective.

timely-manner and customer-expectations are subjective measurements --
google seems to consider these metrics important with respect to delivery.

customer-feedback verses more objective-measures have long been debated.

however, community-members do not have access to google's
internal business decision processes; each merchant will likely
need to decide if their customer's subjective feedback coupled
with the objective-measurement requirements are offset by the
perceived and actual long-term benefits of the program.

 

Re: Why is Google Trusted Stores No Longer Using Feeds?

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# 3
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Hi Celebird. Feeds versus code snippets are semantics for me because once up and running, the feeds were maintenance free in my layman experience.

What I am suggesting is that anyone who ships product knows that "delivery in a timely manner" and "delivery that meets customer expectations" can be two entirely different metrics. There are many customers who can be unreasonable and even delusional about when a product will ship and when it will arrive. I'm acutely aware of this because we give 100% refunds for late shipping; even if an A.M. overnight arrives in the afternoon. Our shipping is of a time-sensitive nature, so we take it seriously because our customers do.

I've had customers who order at 10pm on a Sunday and expect it to arrive the next day! Again, anyone who owns a business that ships product deals with unrealistic shipping expectations on a daily basis. Tracking information doesn't lie and on-time shipping and delivery are NOT subjective measurements; although now Google has inexplicably made them so.

No matter how many disclaimers and shipping estimates you give, there are customers who select USPS Priority Mail (2-3 biz days) and want it the next day. It's human nature. When they get the survey from Google, some will suggest that a delivery is late even if it isn't. In the 9 months leading up to this new policy, I averaged a 99.5% on-time shipping (i.e. order coverage) and delivery. It has now been two weeks and my on-time shipping has dipped to 92%.

I'm not a statistician but if I fell from 99.5% over the course of 9 months to 92% in two weeks then that would mean that almost all customers surveyed felt their package arrived late...and I can tell you that is not true because less than 1% of my orders are delivered late. And lets not kid ourselves; many people who take the time to fill out surveys are those that are unhappy about something.

If it is Google's intent to identify (and recognize) "Trusted Stores" it would make sense use metrics that are accurate and dispassionately measured by a 3rd party (in this case FedEx, USPS et al.). Of course, both carriers make mistakes and tracking issues happen but in my experience, it's a small percentage of total orders.

Since Google certainly wants the customer to give feedback on their experience, it seems adequate to continue to allow them to provide star ratings and comments if they wish. They also have the customer protection plan which will most certainly be affected by shipping claims. It's in Google's best interest to make sure it has the facts it needs to determine the outcome of a claim.

This may sound like I don't care about my customer's perception of their shopping experience... which is far from the truth. I get great feedback already from the Google Trusted store reviews. The great thing about the Google Trusted Store feed was that it provided impartial data on businesses which made it unique from any other "ratings/review" platform. Just seems like this was a step in the wrong direction.

Ok, now someone can come in and give me a link to the Google Trusted Stores Policies page...

Re: Why is Google Trusted Stores No Longer Using Feeds?

Top Contributor
# 4
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i believe the feed consideration was more on google's side --
the code-snippets will likely allow for more merchants
(on the order of millions) to particpate in more countries.

all your points are well articulated and many may have been
considered by google before the decision was made; though
we do not have access to internal business discussions, google
reads the forums and typically does consider such feedback
even after a decison has been made.

the general augument for customer surveys is that the
gap between expectation and experience is quantitative --
and that gap is a critical measure to all but a very few
companies who operate in fields with limited competition;
see parasuraman, zeithaml and berry, et. al.

even fedex has used customer-surveys -- they are directly involved
in delivery and shipping, likely understand customer-bias in surveys,
and more than likely have enough quantitative, objective, statistical
research to forgo such a measure.

the policy pages are here:
https://support.google.com/trustedstoresmerchant/answer/6063050

the changes are outlined here:
https://support.google.com/trustedstoresmerchant/answer/6156342

google may be contacted directly here:
https://support.google.com/trustedstoresmerchant/answer/6156342#contact=1

Re: Why is Google Trusted Stores No Longer Using Feeds?

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# 5
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I cannot believe you actually gave me links to the policy pages...wow.

I never suggested or even intimated that customer surveys are unnecessary; you completely missed my point or chose to ignore it. I'm talking about methodology. Ah forget it.



Re: Why is Google Trusted Stores No Longer Using Feeds?

Top Contributor
# 6
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the assumption was the policy request was not facetious.

if the point was missed and the concerns are mainly the methodology
then the best likely course would simply be to contact google directly;
especially for "Why is Google ..." types of questions.