Every company seems to talk of “the customer experience” as their primary concern. After all, every customer fully expects companies to focus on their satisfaction with every transaction. But do companies focus on finding ways to improve customer service?
Running a small business requires flexible responsibilities to your employees, shareholders, landlord, financers, and family, but most importantly – to your customers. So, why not listen to what they need and let them help improve your customer service? It may be as simple as reading customer reviews online and responding to them.
- Track customer reviews
- Manage customer reviews
- Use online reviews to improve customer service
- Develop an online review strategy
- Drive data from reviews
Track Customer Reviews
According to a BrightLocal report, 98% of customers read online reviews for local businesses. That means if you have a business, you should be reading these reviews too. Tracking online reviews seems simple, but it may be hard to connect with consumers. To effectively track your reviews, you’ll need to monitor several platforms.
- Social media accounts. If you have a business account on a social media platform, you can expect consumers to interact with you. This is a good thing, provided you’re able to respond quickly to help customers.
- Review websites. There are many websites designed to help customers communicate with businesses about their experiences. It is important that you monitor those for negative and positive customer service reviews and respond to them.
Consider using a combination of social media management and using tracking software to notify you when your business name or target keywords are mentioned in online reviews. By registering as the business owner on the reviews websites like PissedConsumer, you will also be notified when customers post a new review.
Manage Customer Reviews
We’d love our customers to only post positive reviews. Still, negative reviews will appear as well. So, what do you do then? How do you help customers and your business at the same time? Put an effort into creating an effective management strategy for interacting with customers after they post a review.
According to PissedConsumer.com, 64% of companies on the site improve their customer rating by interacting with customers. Your brand reputation depends on how you engage with these customers in a public space.
To improve customer service, you’ll need to engage quickly with consumers when they post a public concern in a professional, supportive way. This is one of the ways how to publicly demonstrate better customer service.
Consider the following customer review examples. The company managed to improve customer service through engagement despite an initial negative review. First, a customer left a review about trying to return a purchase to a foreign clothing website. She was frustrated and couldn’t find a way to contact the company.
The company replied with instructions on how to log in and message customer service directly. The company’s response was timely and professional. It was written in a friendly tone and included clear directions on what the customer should do to resolve the issue.
The final update to the review shows the customer’s satisfaction with the outcome of the communication. She left positive reviews as an update to her original negative one. She also increased her rating of the company, showing others that the company stands by its customer service as promised.
Use Online Reviews to Improve Customer Service and Your Brand
Taking the time to focus on every review posted online can be hard but finding a way to make use of those reviews is powerful. The statistics show that 88 percent of customers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
Treat every negative review as an opportunity to improve your customer service protocols and your brand. This is your shot to improve customer service and your relationship with customers at the same time.
Start with developing a firm policy for the best ways to interact with online reviews. Have a look at one of the customer reviews examples where a company not only resolves an issue but also improves customer experience.
A customer complained that the installation service they paid extra for was poorly done. The exercise equipment was assembled incorrectly and fell apart when the reviewer’s wife stepped on a pedal.
The reviewer attempted to contact customer service, but wound up with three open tickets and spent hours on hold trying to get a response from the company.
The company replied within 24 hours as a comment on the original review left on a review website. In their response, they offered an apology, a means of direct contact, and an individualized case number to ensure the customer was able to get immediate action on the issue.
The company’s strategy worked, and the customer was pleased. He updated the initial review about the installation. In his final update, the customer explained that the company was able to fix the issue and that everything was now “fine.” They praised the new tech the company sent out as being “EXCELLENT.”
This is one of many satisfied customer reviews examples when both the consumer and the company received a positive outcome. The consumer enjoyed a rapid and respectful response from the company and quality service. The company benefits from the updated review, and the public display of its professionalism.
When other consumers read the abovementioned reviews, they will not only see the original negative review, but also the company’s public reply and the updated post on how everything turned out.
Interactions like this build trust with consumers. Invespcro.com reports that 72% of them will take action after reading a positive review – imagine the impact on customers when they see a real example of a company flipping a negative experience into a positive one.
Develop an Online Review Strategy
So, what are the steps that effective companies use when it comes to managing online reviews? As you build your own methods and protocols for handling reviews, focus on the following elements.
- Track reviews across multiple platforms. Find a way to consistently track reviews across social media and various review sites.
- Don’t make consumers wait. A negative review means an angry customer. Contact them quickly to help diffuse that anger and solve the issue.
- Apologize and take responsibility. If something went wrong, apologize. There’s no sense getting into a public argument. Let the customer know that your company bears responsibility for a faulty service. It will go a long way toward changing the tone of the interaction.
- Use a friendly and professional tone. Pre-maid response templates or autoreply are going to damage your online credibility and customer experience. Take time to write a personal comment to a review.
- Customize the solution. In the example above, the fitness company offered a personal case number and an email address to contact. Offering a customized solution shows customers that you care about their situation and you’re making an effort to address it.
- Take the complaint offline. Once you’ve responded publicly with a friendly, meaningful response, take the conversation offline by offering customers a phone number, email address, or other ways to contact customer service directly.
- Ask for an update. The last step in resolving an online complaint is to ask for an update. If a customer is satisfied with the solution, they will hopefully update their initial review to say so.
Drive Data from Reviews
Finally, improving reviews shouldn’t be the sole focus of your review management. You can also have an insight into customer behavior and wishes to better customer service by tracking online reviews. The above-mentioned Invespcro statistics say 31% of customers opt to spend more on a business with excellent reviews. So improving reviews and turning negative ones into positive ones is critical.
Both positive and negative reviews can show you progress with your products, services, and business models. Consider tracking keywords g across various review platforms to see what customers are talking about most. Use follow-up surveys to gather additional insight, especially at the end of an interaction with a consumer.
Customer service doesn’t need to happen behind closed doors. Online reviews create powerful opportunities for interacting with your customers in a public setting, showcasing your consumer connection, and improving reviews. Customers respond to a company’s integrity and professionalism online. Those are two of the most sought-after characteristics of a small business, and customer reviews are the perfect place to show off yours.
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