February 19th, 2020
How to manage your customer reviews and feedback
15 Jul 2015 Dominic
Customer feedback is becoming essential for many small retailers for a number of reasons. By listening to your customer problems you will be getting a valuable insight into how your products and services are being experienced by your customer base. Not only that but adding these reviews can enhance your brand presence not to mention your paid search activity.
Not only that but if you are serious about continuing to improve your offering then having the ability to work with key online partners such as Feefo or Trust Pilot will only help you improve your service. In addition you could be working with Google to add a Google Trusted Store badge to your site – all these badges not only enable you to track and improve your customer service but are direct levers to improve your conversion rate by adding what I refer to as “Badges of Authority” to your site.
Getting it right can really change unhappy consumers into supporters; get it wrong, and not only is that person not likely to purchase from you again, but using social media they can also influence the opinion of many other consumers.
How you choose to respond to your feedback is of the utmost importance. You must remember that your reply is not only going to be read by the person that you are responding to, but also by potential customers researching your business.
Your brand is being represented here, and the public image that you choose to portray may well be the first impression received. The ramifications of how you address the feedback is actually far more impactful than having received the negative review in the first place
Responding to negative feedback
In business communication it is vital to learn how to respond positively to negative feedback. After all, any type of business feedback can help you improve the success of your business, and become a platform for better customer relations.
Consumers are savvy enough to understand that mistakes, miscommunications and administrative errors will inevitably occur from time to time. In fact, a business that has a few negative reviews that have been dealt with in a professional manner, may actually create a more trustworthy online presence than one that does not appear to have any negative feedback.
One of the biggest misconceptions companies have about online and social media is that any and all negative reviews and comments should be completely ignored. The idea seems to be that if you ignore the negative response from customers it ‘goes away
Customer reviews drive loyalty
A recent survey found that 68% of customers who left a negative review, and who got a response, felt a positive outcome had been achieved: 33% turned around and posted a positive review and 34% deleted the original negative review.
Of these customers who saw their negative interaction transformed to positive through feedback interaction, 18% became loyal customers.
I would recommend three guidelines that will ensure the customer feels that their complaint has been taken seriously:
- Thank the customer for taking the time to provide feedback.
- Provide your understanding of the problem that has occurred, and whether you can accommodate a ‘solution’ to their grievance.
- Ask them a further question about their experience to prove that you listen.
The key point to understand is that the negative comment/review isn’t the most important thing, how your company responds to that review/comment is far more important, so we suggest
Respond as quickly as possible
Be thankful, polite, and respectful of your customers – Common courtesy goes a long way. You have to understand that the customer believes they are right and you are wrong. Be polite, respectful and listen to what your customers are saying
If your customers have inaccurate information, feel free to correct them – This often happens, and again, another way to minimise this happening is to respond quickly
Tell the customers how you have addressed their complaints, and what the next steps are – Let them understand that you take their complaints seriously, and that there is a plan in place to handle their complaint.
Remember that many customers are watching the interactions that you and other customers are having. The bottom line is that companies that respond to negative feedback online, and do so quickly and appropriately, see huge benefits.
My top tips
- Use the word feedback rather than review
- Avoid repeating the company name or product name unless you are stating what the current positive rating is, e.g. “We’re surprised to read this as we are currently rating 95% positive for this service/ item”
- Only apologise once
- Avoid the use of “Don’t hesitate to contact…”
- Try to state or encourage future orders
- Always address the issue raised in the negative review head on, e.g. if they say they are never going to buy again… Address that point!
By listening to your customers and using one of the many partners out there who can help implement customer reviews, you will be going a long way to both improving your overall product and service offering
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