What do you like best?
My company's products are sold by a huge range of retailers/dealers, and we've long recognized the value of having a presence in product reviews. Bazaarvoice's format makes responding to product reviews a much simpler and more efficient process. Reviews are fed to you in a work list, so you don't have to visit each retailer's website to respond.
Branded responses to reviews (and product questions) also makes them standout so customers looking for the most informed response can quickly spot it.
BV's support path (Spark) is a good resource, though it does make the process feel a bit impersonal. That said, as impersonal as your support tickets begin, it's great to see exactly what progress has been made and all the communication you've received about the issue.
What do you dislike?
Bazaarvoice does suffer from some deficits. Filtering for reviews and questions is virtually worthless if you're trying to zero in on a specific product or group of products. The best you can do is filter by product ID, but different retailers will have different IDs for the same product, so even that is not intuitive or effective.
Speed of the product is slow on the average day, very slow on a bad day, and slightly better than slow on a good day. Loading more questions/reviews or refreshing a view can be time consuming.
Bazaarvoice's reporting is severely lacking. I need to use reports to track my team's responses for quality purposes. I also use this data to gauge productivity. However, report filtering doesn't allow you to filter by response date...only the date on which the review was posted by the customer. Although the spreadsheet you get DOES include the response date, this is inexplicably missing from report filters.
Thinking back on speed, reports take a VERY long time to pull, even when your date range is small and recent.
If you have multiple users who respond to items, there's also no user differentiation in reports. So unless you have your team members sign/initial their responses, there's no way to tell who wrote what when you look at a response report. This seems like an oversight since every user has their own unique login credentials.
Finally, you should consider what your retailer network will REALLY look like. My company has 1`5 retailers activated on our network, but more than 90% of our reviews come from just two of those dealers. Responding to questions is free with BV, but reviews require an upgrade to Connections Premium, so it's a good idea to check all your retailers' sites to see how many reviews they house and how active users are before paying for the upgrade.
Recommendations to others considering the product
The free version allows for product Q&A responses, so that's worth it. As I mentioned elsewhere in this review, you should visit retailers' websites to see review volume and activity before springing for an upgrade.
If your products don't receive many reviews, or if you only sell through one or two dealers, it may be more cost-effective to respond on the native site, though you'll be losing out on the visibility that a branded response affords you.
What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?
As many companies (especially those in the tech industry) are aware, many critical reviews can be attributed to product misuse or misinformation. Responding to reviews (and questions, for a more proactive approach) helps solve that by educating consumers who overlooked a feature they claim is missing or who simply don't want to use an owner's manual.
But responding to reviews is just as beneficial to potential customers as it is to the customers you're technically replying to. People shopping around for products frequently read through critical reviews to see where products fall short. Seeing a branded presence shows that you care as a company, but it also allows you to clear up misconceptions. Potential buyers have the opportunity to weigh other customers' complaints against the company response, which can mean the difference between a new purchase and a lost sale.
We've seen many product reviews upgraded after we respond. Users really appreciate that we are monitoring and educating.