Customer Service, Online Reviews, and Your Business

For small businesses, a demonstrated commitment to customer satisfaction has always been key to building brand equity. But today, it’s more critical than ever. Social media platforms, along with dedicated websites such as Yelp, TripAdvisor, and others, provide consumers with new opportunities to bypass traditional marketing channels, seeking out unbiased reviews of businesses and sharing their own.

Market research illustrates the extent to which the social web’s robust marketplace of opinion has been a true game changer for small businesses. According to recent consumer surveys:

– 90% check online reviews before visiting a business
– 88% trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations
– 72% say that positive reviews make them more inclined to trust a local business
– 86% say they’ll hesitate to buy from a business that has poor online reviews

With this in mind, here are a few key points to consider:

There’s More to Your Brand Than Marketing – Good Service is Essential
Or, as one industry consultant puts it, “customer service is the new marketing.” A well-designed website, memorable logo, and crisp copywriting are all good things to have, but if you don’t follow through with a quality product and high level of service, all your best marketing efforts could be undone. Any discrepancy between your carefully cultivated brand image and customers’ real experience will be reflected in negative reviews and social media comments

Encourage Your Customers to Leave Comments and Share Reviews
While huge majorities of consumers may read online reviews, it’s only a small minority that actually write them. Fortunately, you have a wide array of tools at your disposal allowing you to solicit customer feedback, from social media posts to email marketing, and even dedicated software for online reputation management. So, if you’re looking to leverage the power of positive reviews, don’t hesitate to ask your customers for their honest opinions.

It’s Essential to Respond to Negative Reviews but Follow Best Practices
Even if you make every effort to provide terrific service, it’s likely that some negative feedback will eventually come your way. In the case of negative reviews, it’s best to respond quickly, own up to any mistakes, and never try to shift blame onto the customer. And while responding in a public fashion helps to project an image of openness and transparency, if lengthy conversation is necessary to resolve the issue, you should take it offline if possible.

The bottom line is this – the social web is built on conversation. And by providing great service, engaging with customers in an authentic way, and making a genuine effort to resolve any customer complaints that may arise, you can harness the power of that conversation to build trust, encourage brand loyalty, and position your small business for lasting success.

Need help with your online reviews? Let’s put our heads together – Contact us at Rosie’s Creative today.