Do you remember the last time you went to a store where you had a truly great customer experience? Or where a staff member made your visit particularly memorable by going above and beyond? Well, if you’re struggling, you’re not alone. Not many of us get to experience such occasions.
I remember receiving a call early in the morning a few days ago. Firstly, it was an unknown caller ID. I hear a guy screaming down the phone, asking me to remove the negative review I had given for his restaurant the night before. I hung up on him right away. That definitely was not a great start to my morning; I was confused and taken aback.
I haven’t received any calls since that, but what I couldn’t help but think was why would this person try to get the negative comment off instead of investigating what went wrong and apologising to the customer who clearly wasn’t satisfied with the service provided? Feedback from your customer is absolutely necessary for your growth, be it negative or positive. The sooner we take this in a constructive manner rather than a destructive personal attack on our business, the sooner we will improve and nurture loyal and engaged customers.
Unfortunately the review space as we know it today is architected in a manner that incites destruction rather than solutions and progression. We are invited to leave reviews publicly and head to social platforms to vent our frustrations. We as business owners are in fact to blame. Why are we allowing such sites to get traffic? We should be providing our customers with an avenue to vent and discuss their disappointments with their experience with us. If we do this, our customers will feel valued and listened to – they won’t have the need to head to third party sites.
The facts are frightening. One disgruntled customer can do a lot more damage to your brand than 10 happy customers. It’s only natural we will let the ball slip occasionally – we are human! But it’s imperative that when such an instance occurs, we intervene to defuse the situation and recover the customer. Such a customer is then likely to change their review and tell others about the positive response received after the complaint.
Each time a customer shares a pleasant encounter they had with you, it all rolls into a powerful snowball of goodwill and positive sentiment for your brand. Other expensive advertising campaigns you run simply cannot rival the impact that such peer recommendation has in attracting new prospects.
Here are 3 reasons why reputation management is critical:
1) Trust and Credibility
Your customers can make or break you. It’s of utmost importance for your business to earn the trust of your customers. Once they trust you, they become walking and talking promoters of your brand. They start sharing their experience with their family, peers and with friends on social media. Just as easily as this can be a useful tool, the reverse can be fatal for a modestly sized business. Leaving one well known person in your community with a bad taste can lead to vast amounts of negativity being spread about your brand online. This can rapidly damage your brand, which is why it’s imperative that you are listening to your customers directly and diffusing such issues instantly.
2) Generate More Sales
Think about it. Before you make any purchase or visit to a store, what do you do? You head online and make a search! Yup, we all do it.
Now, if the majority of the reviews are not positive, are we still going to go ahead and take the risk? Unlikely. Whether we agree with it or not, we all listen to and make decisions based on reviews left online by strangers we have never met. It’s the only data we have before making a decision.
If you can pre-empt this behaviour and ensure your online presence is positive and attractive, you’re well on your way to pulling these prospects through the door of your business.
3) It’s your shop window!?
The internet is a shop window for your brand. It’s crazy how little some business owners maintain their window!
How would you like your brand to be portrayed? People are searching your brand every day. If you come across poorly through your online presence, you are not making a good impression with potential prospects. And yup, it doesn’t just stop with customers. We are talking banks, investors and suppliers! You want to come across like a legitimate, successful and professional outfit – we implore you to make sure your online “window” matches the image you envisage.
I know that was a lengthy read – but hopefully this has added value! It’s about time businesses take this seriously and it all starts with listening to the people who are keeping you in business – your customers. If you aren’t listening to them yet and are simply being reactive to bad reviews – this has to change!