Intro from Martin:
Over the past few weeks I've been receiving demos for a load of awesome reviews type software, as I am learning the ins and outs of this space.
I asked Reputation loop whether they would like to guest blog for the community, and here it is!
Great customer service:
Great customer service is often a must-have for consumers and businesses alike. Customers demand top-quality customer service and businesses want to attract and retain those customers.
Beyond retention, improving customer service and making a true commitment to enhancing the customer experience you has added bonuses. I’m in the business of five-star reviews and creating positive online reputations so let’s talk about how happy customers ARE going to leave reviews and spread the word, and prospective customers ARE going to listen.
Why Customer Service and Online Reviews Matter
When consumers are searching for the best place to spend their money, their buying decisions are heavily influenced by the experiences of previous customers. With online reviews having such a big impact, it is important that a business who wants to have a competitive edge do their best to please the customer, every time. That commitment is how you create a company culture where high quality customer is the norm.
Every Ford dealership in your town can sell you a brand new F150, and there isn’t going to be a huge difference in pricing. But which one makes it a no hassle, enjoyable experience? You and everyone else can find the answers to everything they want to know about a company or product in seconds online. In many buying decisions customer service is the differentiator, and the speed and ease of access to other customer’s experiences is why buyer research is so detailed and influential today.
Looking at the emotional side of buying, customers want to feel good about the money they spend. Are your online reviews and reputation giving the warm and fuzzies to prospective customers?
A Zendesk survey found that 82% of consumers have stopped doing business with a company because of bad customer service. So a better question is: Is your customer service scaring away customers? They need to.
That same Zendesk survey showed 40% of customers began purchasing from a competitor because of the competitor’s reputation for great customer service. If there are other options in your market, with better reviews and less complaints, you are at risk of losing customers daily. That is why improving customer service needs to be an area of concentration when building and nurturing your online reputation.
Improve Customer Service for 5-Star Online Reviews
What is your company’s commitments in the area of customer service? In today’s highly competitive market you need to exceed your industry’s standards of quality of service. Customers have high expectations when spending their money, and it goes far beyond a simple service or product in exchange for payment. They want fast delivery, competitive pricing and exceptional customer service.
Of the three, the most remarked upon in reviews is customer service because a review is just a recount of their experience with your business. How they “felt” about your business will be less about the product bought and more closely tied to the interaction with your company, the buying process and how the product or service improved their life.
Think about horrible reviews you have read. There had to be a truly negative emotional reaction tied to that experience to make a person go through the trouble of writing and posting such a passionate warning to others to avoid a business. Rarely is a negative review a simple “Product didn’t work” statement. More than likely you will find a lengthy explanation on how the business failed to fix a problem or make things right. Low one- and two-star reviews are usually a direct reflection of poor customer service.
The brighter side of customer service is that great customer service can trigger an equally as passionate positive emotional response in customers that inspires them to share their exceptional experience with others online. When you have high standards of customer service, customers are happier and getting those crucial five-star reviews are easier and more rewarding.
Consistently high ratings not only sets you at the top of review site listings, the highest rated businesses are now a major feature of first-page search engine results for local searches which translates into increases in online exposure, as well as customer trust.
4 Areas of Improvement for Better Customer Service and Better Reviews
- Control Customer Touch Points. A touch point is every opportunity a customer has to see or hear about your business. These include things like reviews, marketing, ads, logos, and branding, as well as every person online or in-person a customer interacts with throughout their buyer journey. Insist on clear and consistent messaging, be passionate and concise on where you add value for the customer, and ensure that promises are being kept. Fewer and fewer human interaction are happening, so customer service needs to be the shining star of your customer touch points.
- Website User Experience. People visit your website for very specific reasons. Dig into your website analytics and get a good idea of your buyer’s journey on your website. Whether it is for buying or directions, photos or instructions - pick out the top reasons for your website traffic and make it easy for your visitors to be able to find that information or perform that task.
It’s also now crucial that your website be optimized for mobile! According to a Federal Reserve survey 69% of shoppers who used their phone to comparison shop in a retail store changed where they purchased a product as a result. Your customers are using their smartphones to research decisions, don’t make them go look somewhere else.
- Prioritize Customer Service for You and Employees. Have a clear company-wide standard for customer service and ensure that your employees are aware of the high priority company leaders place on providing the highest levels of customer service. Employees will perform better when expectations are clear and stellar customer service is noticeably a part of the company culture and your commitment to your customers.
- By the Book – A saying you will recognize is, “Do it by the book.” Having written standards and expectations eliminates the grey area that separates a customer service issue from a customer service problem. You don’t need a full-length book (or even a whole handbook) to convey the standards and expectations of your company’s customer service. But written somewhere, and supplied to or readily available to your employees should be a document that touches on expectations in regards to face-to-face interactions, phone and email etiquette, and include company customer service commitments and timelines (such as email response within 1 hour). It should also provide branding and marketing resources such as logos, taglines, and messaging your employees should be using to create a consistent experience for customers.
How to Get Better Reviews that Drive Customers to You
When you start from a foundation of a good product and great customer service, getting positive reviews is not hard. But it’s also not automatic. There are a few things you can do to make sure that great reviews keep coming in and posting online where prospective customers are looking for them.
- Make Review Management Part of Your Marketing Plan. Make it a priority, budget for it, and you will be rewarded with an improved reputation, more customers and increased revenue. If you don’t have the budget to purchase systematic or automated review management service then set aside some time each week to monitor reviews being left on high traffic sites. Make immediate improvements in areas of your customer service that are reflecting negatively online to increase your chances of getting positive reviews in the future.
- AUTOMATE the Whole Process. Imagine how many reviews you would receive if you asked every single customer for feedback on their experience. There are services like Reputation Loop (affiliate link) that automate the review management process of gathering feedback and getting reviews posted online. With Reputation Loop’s intelligent routing, customer feedback that is less than stellar is sent back to the business for special handling, and positive reviews are forwarded to review sites for direct posting. Those five-star and four-star reviews are posted to your social media profiles, and the webpages that impact your business most.
- Ask for The Review. When you provide great customer service, there is no reason to shy away from asking customers for a review. When you let them know that you value their opinion and what they have to say will directly influence how you conduct business, they are happy to repay you for your great customer service by sharing their experience with others.
- Make it Super Easy to Post a Review. After the customer has paid you for a service or product, make leaving a review a fast and easy process. Smooth the way by being listed in major directories and on high traffic review sites that matter in your industry, and providing customers with direct links to your business profiles on those sites so they are never more than a couple of clicks from submitting a complete review.
Customer service has a huge impact on your company’s reviews, revenue and customer lifetime value. Studies have shown that nearly 90% of consumers have been influenced by an online customer service review when making a buying decision. If something is important to 9 out of 10 buyers in your consumer population, it needs to be very important to you too. You can’t force someone to buy from your company, but with a reputation for great customer service and positive reviews on customer experience you have a powerful influence over who they trust with their purchase.
Find out more from here! (affiliate link)