Whether you are a small online store starting out from your garage or the world’s biggest retailer, there’s always someone else vying for your most prized asset: your customers. So how can you keep these customers happy? Well, simply listening to their needs and opinions is a great place to start. Below, we'll explore the benefits of listening to your customers, and how this helps you become more competitive.
Measure business performance
Customers can act as the barometer for how you are performing, and that’s why consumer testimonials are such a useful tool for measuring your business performance. Customer reviews can sometimes be disheartening and negative, but consumers will also tell you when they are happy and why they love your products or services.
Reading positive feedback can give you a morale boost and affirmation that you are on the right path, but both positive and negative reviews can play an important role when dissected and studied in more detail. If you consider all the customer feedback you receive, then you can gain an edge over your competitors.
Identify all the platforms where your customers will be leaving reviews of your business, such as Google and other search engines, as well as social media channels such as Facebook and dedicated review platforms. Don’t neglect any of these platforms; you need to be reading all of your reviews in order to gain a clear picture of what your customers think of your brand and service.
Identify your pitfalls
Once you’re listening to customers and you’ve got a lot of feedback, you need to turn this information into something actionable. If you analyse a customers’ opinions of your business, then you can see where you can improve. If a customer says they are happy with the product, but it was late or took a long time to arrive, then you need to focus on shipping. Likewise, if they say the product broke after a short period of ownership or a common part was missing or faulty, then you could have a quality control issue.
Whatever the issue, however trivial, if it matters to the customer enough for them to write about it, then it's important. You can learn a lot about improving customer experience by hearing the customer describe the experience in their own words.
A powerful marketing tool
Most customers rely on reviews when making a purchase. Reviews give them some insight and help in the decision-making process. People trust other people’s opinions, particularly when it comes to organic reviews, and research from Spiegel Research Centre found that 95% of customers read reviews before making a purchase. This is why identifying issues from consumer reviews and addressing them will give you an advantage over your competitors who take little or no action.
Identifying which areas of your business need to be improved should help you eliminate the problems. Moving forward you’ll find that you’ve solved your customers’ concerns and you’ll be in a stronger position to grow your business now that you’ve ironed out any issues.
It’s worth noting that 89% of consumers read businesses’ responses to reviews, so responding to your customers is also vital. It’s reassuring for customers to know someone at your company cares enough to answer. A simple apology can mend a broken consumer-business relationship. Demonstrating that you’ve taken action to fix the problems will do wonders for your customer service experience.
Whatever the product or service you provide, the importance of listening to the customer reviews and essentially walking in their shoes through your business has the potential to not only entice new consumers but also retain them. Word travels fast, and in the age of the five-star review, this has never been as relevant.