Reviews Are A Business Strategy, Not Just A Marketing Tactic
April 21, 2020
Running a business is difficult. Having customers give you their opinion on your business can both be rewarding through great 5-star reviews and challenging when you receive a 2-star review. We get it, it’s not fun to have missteps or issues in your processes pointed out. However, getting honest feedback is the best way to correct your mistakes so you don’t make them again.
Whether it’s 1st-Party reviews your customers share directly with you or 3rd-Party reviews on sites like Google and Facebook, your business should be putting systems in place to collect your customer’s opinions in a structured format like reviews. These reviews can be helpful in so many ways, opening your eyes to the amazing and lackluster parts of your customer experience.
With these types of benefits, it’s easy to see that reviews should be part of your business strategy, not just your marketing strategy.
Process Management and Improvement
Even in the most successful business, there are likely areas where you can still improve. But what part or function of your business needs to be improved first? Where do you start? If you’re collecting reviews, the answer can be incredibly clear. Looking through the textual feedback you receive can highlight the quantity and trends in specific themes and topics your customers care about.
Maybe customers complain about long wait times for a response or return call. Even worse is a prospect who’s call is not returned at all.
Now you know to take a look at the processes, and procedures in reaching out to new calls and prospects. It could be as simple as sending an automated message that your team is looking into it, providing a buffer and communication so the customer knows they’re in the right hands.
Reading and understanding what your customers think allows you to start to ask “why” they feel that way and can you do something about it.
The Ability To Train and Reward Staff
You can use feedback and reviews to benefit your team too. If a member of your team is called out by name in a review, share it with the company internally! We do this at GatherUp and it never fails to bring joy and passion to our team. In truth, this really builds a team’s belief in themselves and their mission.
Positive reinforcement of exceptional experiences provided by a team member models this for others on your team and it also allows you to look at how to ensure your processes and training support this in all team members.
You could even choose to use review and feedback collection as a way to encourage or incentivize your team to provide an outstanding customer experience. The first member of your staff to be mentioned in ten 5-Star reviews could win an extra day off.
Reviews can also provide insight into areas a team member needs to improve on. Learning that a customer’s experience fell short from a lack of communication, knowledge or variating from standard process provides training opportunities. Knowing that something went amiss offers a valuable opportunity to address it and work to improve the next interaction.
Managing Customer Expectations
A big part of owning and managing your customer experience is the ability to “under-promise and over-deliver.” Asking for your customers feedback will help you find the sweet spot of their expectations AND how well your company lived up to them. Knowing this information will help you produce better forecasts, proposals, processes and fulfillment.
Customers with less than 5-star reviews will often share what contributed to their less than perfect experience.
Getting a 3-star review outlining that things fell short for a customer can bring to light a way to better serve your customer. Our example above shows that long lines for checking out at this grocery store could be addressed to improve and earn higher ratings. Finding out where you can meet or exceed expectations is important so you have the chance to over-deliver is super valuable.
Read your competitors reviews and see if you can determine where they are falling short with their customer’s expectations. This competitive research can show you areas your customer cares about as well as how you can outshine the competition when a prospect is looking to choose a provider.
As you repeat this review cycle with your customers, you’ll start to mine the golden nuggets that are higher-rated reviews with rich, contextual information. It’s in these reviews where you can really differentiate yourself from the competition. The best part as you gain these wins is this information displays your true competitive advantage on your review profiles and on your own website.