How to use Customer Feedback as a Driving Force
You don’t need to be a high-pitch entrepreneur to understand one simple golden rule behind successful businesses, big or small:
“If you are not delivering what the customers are looking for, you will always be replaced quickly by a more capable competitor.”
This insight is enough to understand how important customer feedback is. What’s left to talk about is:
- What are the most reliable ways to collect reviews?
- What to do with the feedback once you have it!
We will share this with you in this article, so sit back, grab a coffee and read through the best guidelines on using customer feedback as a driving force for your small business.
Customer Reviews and Strong Business Setup: What’s The Link?
The business landscape has evolved tremendously over the years, but the one thing still holds true is that customer satisfaction is the key to success. Whether it's a large multinational corporation or a small startup, a business's strength depends on the satisfaction level of its clients.
In today's fast-paced and competitive world, customer reviews have become the primary driving force behind the services and products offered by a brand. The significance of helpful feedback, whether positive or negative, cannot be overstated, as it can often help fill the gap that exists when customers are not getting what they desire.
However, one crucial point to consider regarding customer reviews: running away from bad reviews will do you no good. Some small setups believe that negative feedback can ruin the reputation they are trying to build. But you can work towards improvement without knowing what you are doing wrong.
It's a well-established fact that all successful businesses spend years engaging with their audience to shape their products and services in the best manner possible. They understand that customer feedback is not just about gathering information; it's about using that information to improve their offerings, thereby creating a more satisfying experience for their clients.
But more than a mere collection of feedback is required. Responding to the comments in an encouraging tone is equally important so that the users feel comfortable reaching back with their reviews in the future. A prompt and friendly response to a negative review can turn a dissatisfied customer into a loyal one.
According to recent surveys, the impact of customer reviews is enormous. Almost 97% of consumers read reviews before purchasing, and 93% say online reviews influence their buying decisions. And that's not all; businesses that respond to customer reviews generate 106% more revenue per year per location than those that don't.
4 Ways To Use Customer Feedback
Customer feedback is important for future product development, improving the customer experience and overall customer satisfaction levels.Intercom
In today’s digital age, social media has become the primary platform for users to provide feedback and share their experiences with services and products. However, relying only on these channels may not be enough. Customers who have a mediocre or neutral experience may not be motivated enough to leave a review or comment on these platforms. This often results in a lack of insights into the customer’s overall experience, leading to missed opportunities for improvement.
Statistics reveal customers are likelier to share feedback when businesses proactively ask them. A recent survey suggests that 68% of customers will provide feedback if requested. Therefore, it’s essential to provide easy and accessible avenues for customers to share their thoughts and opinions on their experiences with your products or services. It’s equally important to understand that different customers prefer different feedback channels, and hence businesses should provide a mix of these channels to cater to all their customers.
Feedback forms, surveys and emails are traditional methods businesses use to collect feedback. However, these methods rely heavily on customer initiation, and response rates can be low. In contrast, newer channels such as chatbots, live chats, and interactive tools can help prompt customers to share their feedback, leading to a higher response rate. These channels allow businesses to capture immediate customer feedback and take quick corrective actions when required.
Moreover, each feedback channel has its advantages and disadvantages. Social media is popular, but reviews can take a lot of work to manage on these platforms. Feedback forms are simple and structured, but customers may not always have the time to fill up lengthy forms. Emails are personalised, but customers are less assured of reading them.
In today’s hyper-competitive business world, providing a customer support portal has become essential for businesses. With customers expecting real-time support, companies need to offer channels that are always accessible, regardless of whether the customer is visiting their website, browsing social media or using mobile apps.
Chat widgets are one of the most effective ways for businesses to offer real-time support. Many companies have already introduced live chat widgets on their web pages, which enable customers to ask questions at any time and leave feedback at the end of the conversation. This provides a convenient means of customer communication and helps businesses improve the quality of their customer support services.
In addition, businesses can leverage blogs to share updates about their products and services. Blogging helps to humanise your brand, establish your expertise on topics of interest to your customers, and provide them with valuable insights. Moreover, blogs can provide a platform for customers to leave feedback through comments, helping businesses better understand their needs and preferences.
But what happens when customers leave negative feedback?
It’s important to remember that negative feedback is equally valuable as positive feedback. Therefore, businesses must act promptly in addressing their clients’ concerns. One way to go about this is by using communication software, such as HelpCrunch, that allows businesses to automate messages and save chat history for reviewing later. This way, companies can work towards resolving the issues promptly and improving the overall customer experience.
When customers rate your services well on-site, it’s an opportunity for businesses to encourage them to share their reviews on third-party platforms. While research suggests that customers are more likely to leave reviews after a positive experience, companies can employ follow-up emails or reminders to customers who are good reviewers. According to a recent study, up to 68% of customers are willing to leave a review when asked, which makes it an effective strategy to boost your brand’s online reputation.
Understanding your customers' thoughts about your service delivery can make a difference. That’s why conducting a scoring survey is crucial to encourage customers to share their satisfaction levels when using your services. Opinions shared via scoring surveys represent a decisive contribution to enhancing your brand’s image and driving customer satisfaction.
A scoring survey usually comprises a 1-10 ranking scale on your website or social media page designed to give your customers a platform to review your business. This type of survey provides an excellent opportunity for companies to engage with customers and discover what aspects of their services require improvement.
However, not all scores are good scores. Suppose a customer leaves an abysmal rating (2 or 3). In that case, it would be best to immediately reach out to them and get to the root of the problem to prevent negative reviews from appearing on your page. Customers appreciate when their complaints are addressed promptly, and this can be the turning point for customers who might have given up on your brand otherwise.
Conversely, when a customer leaves a good rating (8, 9 or 10), it’s time to encourage them to leave more detailed feedback on third-party review sites to promote brand reputation. Positive reviews are invaluable for attracting new customers and building trust with existing ones.
Acquiring customer feedback is at the heart of any successful business, and third-party review sites are the go-to destination for clients to leave their opinions on businesses. While customers may not necessarily leave a review on a third-party site, it still presents an excellent opportunity for businesses to reach out and attract more clients. According to research, companies with an average rating of 4 or more stars on a third-party review site are 61% more likely to rank higher in local search results than their competitors.
For example, if you plan on starting a compatible router brand, going through competitor reviews on various web platforms can give you insights about market feedback and analyze areas where you can improve to attract more customers while maintaining the pricing structure.
Choosing the right platform to host these reviews is crucial because it is not just a matter of collecting feedback; it’s also an image of your brand. Prospective clients may often visit the third-party review site to understand your company’s reputation before trying your services/products. It’s essential to ensure that your chosen platform has a solid reputation and fair policies to avoid unscrupulous practices like fake reviews, which can ultimately damage your brand’s reputation.
While it’s important to have reviews on third-party sites, it’s equally important to be selective about the areas you choose. Indiscriminately suggesting customers place thoughts on multiple websites where your business is listed can lead to them not leaving reviews. Research shows customers are likelier to leave reviews on sites like Yelp, Facebook or Google. Therefore, focusing your efforts on these reliable platforms is imperative rather than overburdening customers with multiple requests on lesser-known sites.
Here are a Few Trustworthy Websites for Customer Feedback
Google My Business
In the vast universe of online reviews, Google My Business has emerged as one of the most sought-after platforms, making it a go-to destination for businesses to enhance their online presence. Initially developed as a map listing service, the effectiveness of Google My Business in adding value to businesses is undeniable. According to research, companies that have claimed their Google My Business profiles are two times as likely to earn consumer trust and receive 70% more visits than those that haven’t.
In addition to its robust review system, Google My Business offers many features that businesses can explore. One such feature is the one-click calling option, which allows customers and potential clients to contact your business directly from your Google listing with a single click. This simple yet effective feature can lead to higher conversion rates, more in-person visits, and, eventually, happier customers.
Another exciting feature of Google My Business is its built-in Google Maps feature, which helps customers effortlessly locate your business. This is particularly helpful for local companies trying to attract customers in the immediate vicinity. According to Google, 90% of consumers use Google Maps to find local businesses. More importantly, roughly 88% of those searching for a local business on their mobile device will call or go to that business within 24 hours.
Having a robust and well-managed presence on Google My Business can significantly impact your business, providing numerous benefits that make a meaningful difference in the success of your online ventures. From improved search rankings to reaching a wider audience, Google My Business is a valuable tool that is an essential component in any business’s online marketing strategy.
Yelp, a popular platform dedicated to connecting businesses with potential customers, was born with the chief goal of helping small companies to grow in a world dominated by corporate giants. Since its inception, Yelp has become the go-to destination for people looking for distinctive, unbiased insights into businesses' products and services.
According to recent surveys, it's been discovered that almost 82% of buyers worldwide consider Yelp to be a trustworthy platform for evaluating businesses before making purchasing decisions. This figure underscores Yelp's growing influence in shaping consumer behaviour, as they increasingly seek authentic and reliable reviews to base their decisions. When we consider that more than half of Yelp users intend to purchase from the businesses they find on the platform, it's clear that positive Yelp reviews can significantly impact a business's viability and growth.
But the numbers don't stop there. Did you know that Yelp achieves more than 178 million visitors monthly? This staggering number is a testament to the platform's effectiveness in providing customers with the information they need to make informed purchasing decisions. These visitors could transform into loyal customers of businesses with overall positive and authentic Yelp reviews, solidifying Yelp's status as a trusted source for both customers and companies alike.
As we rely increasingly on digital sources to inform our choices, platforms like Yelp will become vital for businesses looking to establish a foothold in the marketplace. By harnessing the power of the Yelp community, small businesses can get their name out there, attract and retain customers, and grow their brand exponentially online.
G2, the website dedicated to analysing business software and services, takes its review process to the next level by implementing a more technical and intricate system than other review sites. G2's unique approach ensures its users get the most comprehensive and insightful reviews, allowing them to make informed decisions before purchasing any business software.
One of the most notable differences is that a customer can post a review on G2 but must create an authenticated account. This step eliminates fake reviews, ensuring only trusted accounts can leave a review. Additionally, comments and remarks will not show up immediately after posting. Instead, publishers must approve them, ensuring the reviews are authentic and reliable and provide the most accurate information possible.
But that's not all. G2's review process goes beyond conventional review sites by requiring users to answer at least 40 questions before completing a review, which can take around an hour. This level of detail ensures the program's strengths and weaknesses, highlighting both the strengths and weaknesses of the program. While this may initially deter some users, the remaining ones that complete the questionnaire are all the more valuable, providing a more robust review pool.
If you're searching for dependable reviews of business software like marketing solutions, Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), or the best online payment solutions for your company, look no further than G2. Thanks to its most intelligent algorithms for reviews, you can rest assured that you'll have access to insightful, reliable, and comprehensive reviews, allowing you to make informed decisions regarding your business software needs.
Capterra, another review site dedicated to businesses and software, takes pride in its complex validation system, like G2. Capterra's review process ensures that only credible, insightful, and reliable reviews make it to the platform, making it a trusted and dependable source for businesses looking for software solutions.
But Capterra continues beyond just validating accounts. They take further steps to guarantee that the reviews are from legitimate users, not affiliated with brands or competitors. Capterra accomplishes this by confirming the reviewer's identity and running thorough background checks, ensuring the person writing the review is genuine, impartial, and trustworthy.
This involved validation process ensures that only reliable, accurate, and thorough reviews make it to the platform, providing users with valuable insights into different business software options.
When selecting the right software for your organisation, it's essential to have the most comprehensive and reliable information possible, and Capterra's rigorous review process ensures that you get just that. So, whether you're looking for a specific software solution or just browsing for options, Capterra's validated reviews give you unparalleled access to what real users think of different software programs, helping you make informed decisions beneficial to your organisation's long-term success.
2 – Devise Strategies To Find Out What They WANT vs What They NEED
Business operates on a fundamental premise; satisfying the customer’s wants and needs. The customer’s buying patterns and preferences are central to the workings of companies. This is where the concept of “consumer behaviour” comes into play.
Every customer has an array of needs regarding services they are interested in. If you fail to deliver, they will find another competitive source in the market that will satisfy their requirements. Analysing and catering to these needs can win customer loyalty and lifelong patronage.
At the same time, some personal preferences are categorised as “buyer’s wants”, which may vary from one customer to another. For instance, a thirsty person on the street may buy Coca-Cola, but a few will prefer plain water. Thus, consumer behaviour has both emotional as well as rational elements. By understanding these emotional and rational factors, businesses can design their products and services to cater to customers’ diverse needs.
Why is it important to look into the customer’s wants and needs? Well, these measures are essential when designing effective marketing campaigns. Well-thought ads can play a pivotal role in promoting a product. They can be used to portray how your services will cater to different needs and wants of society. Thus, businesses must identify their target audience and create campaigns tailored to their needs and preferences.
Making sure your ad targets, the right-aged audience is also essential. For instance, you don’t want to sell security cameras to teenage people. The adolescent generation is still studying and does not even have the money to buy a house. And if they do, security cameras would hardly be their main priority.
However, there is more to this than just simple maths. Campaigns can trigger a societal need that only a few customers point towards. A “unique” product has more chances of success than changes the customers “thought” they wanted. For example, a crispy tortilla wrap was an unheard-of concept but a massive success. More often than not, unique products command higher success rates than products that merely rehashed updates of previous offerings.
On the other hand, Macdonald’s McLean low-fat burger was apparently “wanted” by many. Still, it was a flop once launched. Therefore, conducting market research from a Research and Development perspective is essential. Businesses need to analyse market trends and take proactive steps to identify emerging trends or demands in the market. Then, they can work on creating innovative and groundbreaking products.
Finally, giving too much attention to customer feedback can lead businesses to only introduce minimal improvements without product innovation. Thus, conducting thorough market research, aligning business goals to consumer needs, designing tailor-made marketing campaigns to attract the right audience, and creating innovative products are all essential aspects of a robust Research and Development process. Businesses can attain loyalty, success, and growth in the highly dynamic business world.
3 – Social Influencing Culture Is Here To Stay
Reviews are the lifeblood of any business. Reviews provide credibility and enable brands to connect and engage with their audience. But what is the most effective way to gather reviews? It's simple – Social Media!
Fun fact: More people leave their opinion on Facebook pages instead of review sites such as TrustPilot or G2. Thoughts on social media generate higher engagement and can have a broader reach than traditional review sites.
Therefore, building a robust social presence on platforms like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn is vital for businesses. This can be accomplished by creating informative content, engaging with customers, and providing high-quality customer service.
But that's not all; getting social influencers to review your product or services can be powerful. According to a study by Influencer.co, 86% of women turn to social media before making a purchase, and 71% of consumers are more likely to purchase based on a social media reference.
Reviews from social influencers can be provided in various forms, such as blog posts, YouTube videos, posts on other social platforms, etc. By collaborating with influencers who align with your brand values, businesses can increase their reach and gain valuable insights to improve their products and services.
Social Media Marketing, including influencer marketing, has become one of the most effective marketing strategies in recent years. According to a report by Hootsuite, the market grew from $1.7 billion in 2016 to $9.7 billion in 2020 and is today (2023) a massive $16.4 billion industry. This indicates a rapid shift towards social media marketing strategies as businesses leverage social media platforms' power.
The growth of social media users presents businesses with a massive opportunity to tap into a broader audience and attract potential customers.
4 – Negative Feedbacks Are Often More Helpful! Listen Closely
Negative reviews are a crucial part of any business’s growth strategy. While we all love to receive positive feedback, negative feedback often provides a more genuine brand reflection.
There are two types of negative reviews that businesses often receive. Firstly, some customers leave nasty comments after having a short or inadequate experience with the service or product. Secondly, some loyal customers are disheartened by something unsatisfactory and leave a negative (yet sincere!) opinion.
Paying attention to the latter is vital for these two types of feedback. These clients knew of your services, were happy with their experience until something went wrong, and felt compelled to leave a negative review.
Ignoring negative reviews is not a solution to the problem. The first thing to do is to thank the customer for their honest feedback. Secondly, the business should apologise and promise a better experience next time.
Once the primary tasks are handled, it is essential to analyse what went wrong and rectify the situation immediately. Customers appreciate it when businesses exceed their expectations to fix a problem.
Surprisingly, customers who receive effective responses or resolutions to their complaints are likely to become more loyal than those who don’t have a negative experience in the first place.
Another statistic to remember is that 95% of customers who have had a bad experience said that they would give the company providing that experience with another chance if their issue was resolved quickly and efficiently.
Therefore, businesses should never ignore negative reviews. Instead, using them as opportunities to make things right for the customer and learn from their feedback is imperative. Responding skillfully to negative reviews can help retain and attract potential customers.
To say that customer reviews are of utmost importance is an understatement. They are the lifeblood of any business. Gathering customer reviews transparently should be at the top of every business’s priority list.
When it comes to customer feedback, the more, the merrier! Collecting reviews from third-party sites and social media pages can be daunting, but it’s necessary for directing small businesses in the right direction. With so many platforms out there, it’s essential to ensure that each platform that hosts customer reviews is accessible and transparent.
At the same time, businesses should never underestimate the importance of negative feedback. Negative reviews can be alarming, but they truly reflect how a product or service looks to the general pool of buyers. Ignoring negative feedback can be detrimental to your business’s growth. Address negative feedback proactively and make necessary changes. A constructive approach to negative feedback can help transform an unhappy customer into a loyal one.
In line with this, innovation is essential when implementing changes. Customer satisfaction should be a priority, but it should not hinder businesses from launching innovative products or services. A new product or service that an ordinary mind might not have thought about could be a game changer.
To sum up, collecting customer reviews transparently and addressing negative feedback proactively are essential for the growth of any business. Businesses should also consider innovative ways to enhance customer satisfaction while at the same time remaining competitive in the market. Customer reviews are an integral part of any business, and it’s crucial to keep collecting them.
So, what do you think? Do you have any insights to add to the value of customer feedback for business growth? Drop your opinions in the comments section below, and we look forward to hearing from you.