From the June 2008 issue of Entrepreneur

James and Ann Scaggs, 27 and 26, respectively, know how hard it is for some people to part with their ailing iPods--even when sending it to someone who will make it well again. Hoping to ease that pain, the husband-and-wife co-founders of iPod repair and refurbishing company iRepair Squad searched for a way to reassure their clients, finally settling on RatePoint, a Web 2.0 system for collecting and displaying customer feedback. Because word-of-mouth is the company's best form of advertising, it was important to the Scaggses that their review-and-support system be highly credible to customers, capturing and displaying feedback from the online community.

After evaluating several technologies, they chose RatePoint for its efficiency and transparency. The service, which starts at $14.95 per month or $150 for an annual subscription, has a special security feature that provides a higher degree of validation for comments, reducing the potential for fakes.

It took less than a day to integrate RatePoint into iRepair Squad's website. The service has since improved iRepair Squad's close rates for online sales and helped the Peoria, Illinois, company address potential problems with its customer support policies. "One of the things we really liked about RatePoint is that there is a dispute resolution center," James says. If a negative review is submitted, iRepair Squad is alerted immediately and a resolution process is triggered. Merchants can earn a RatePoint consumer seal of approval if they maintain a positive rating.

One immediate result of adopting RatePoint was an 18.3 percent decrease in shopping cart abandonment, says James, who expects $17 million in sales for iRepair Squad this year. It has also helped minimize returns because the support team has been able to modify certain procedures as a result of reviewing the RatePoint information regularly.

Heather Clancy, a freelance journalist and consultant, has been covering the high-tech industry for close to 20 years. She can be reached at hccollins@mac.com.