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Customer Social Listening Programs Can Pay Off For Partners

Pizza review on smartphone

Brooke CadeHow mature are your top customers’ online and social presences? We live in a world where people go online to read reviews about products, services and experiences other consumers had before they make any spending decisions. And it’s not just the hospitality vertical that needs to pay attention. Every organization, from health-care practices to service providers to government agencies, is under the microscope.

Businesses that aren’t engaging with consumers – or worse, are ignoring feedback – are at best missing out on potential sales. They may even be losing customers. Partners can help clients that shy away from online engagement and customer reviews.

First, Make the Sale

Millennials are naturals at giving feedback, whether about a positive experience or a negative one. But it’s not just Gen Y consumers who want their suggestions and desires to be heard. To drive this point home to customers, consider the following examples:

  • Popular review website Yelp has logged a staggering 95 million reviews in the last seven years. Types of businesses reviewed range from shopping and restaurants to beauty and home services, auto dealers, event venues and more.
  • One reason for Amazon’s huge success is its integration of customer ratings and reviews into each product page. If a product doesn’t have any yellow stars, it may as well not exist.
  • Type the word “review” into the YouTube search bar and you’ll get some 132,000,000 videos. Even children are earning income by creating their own toy, makeup and movie reviews.

Most reviewers are college educated and earn an average-to-high income. Almost every country is represented.

Make a Plan

So what’s the best way for a partner to help customers gather feedback from their customers?

  • Reviewers are now using their mobile phones slightly more than desktop computers. This means a feedback system needs to be smartphone-user friendly.
  • Provide online Live Chat support. You can set this up with WebRTC.
  • Include a feedback form or suggestion box on the customer’s public webpage. Better yet, help create a dedicated online community or forum.
  • Implement an automated system to send a follow-up email survey when a customer service ticket is closed. And ensure that someone reads the results.
  • Help them monitor social channels, including at a minimum, Facebook and Twitter. Again, there are automated systems to help here.

**Editor’s Note: Our free report on web presence opportunities for partners runs down many tools and techniques.**

Cover the Psychology

A study by CX Trends found that 48 percent of the time, consumers “want to be or feel valued” by a company for being a contributing customer, and 53 percent of the time they want to “provide help to the brand” they are reviewing. Four out of five customers who leave feedback do so because they want to make a difference.

In the study, 37 percent of reviewing consumers said that their feedback tends to be negative — but they believe they are providing useful and relevant information that will ultimately help the brand. Unfortunately, for those who left negative feedback, 72 percent received no response.

For those reviewers, this says the company did not value their time, experience or opinion.

The lesson: It’s easy to thank reviewers who rate products and services positively. But businesses shouldn’t view customers who leave negative reviews as enemies. Seeing them in such a way will negatively affect how staffers treat those who offer complaints and criticisms. This will inevitably lead to poor experiences and fewer return customers.

Instead, when faced with an unsatisfied customer, a person of authority should personally respond via phone call, email or letter stating how valuable the feedback was to the company and what is going to be done to improve the situation in the future.

Remind your customers that when they respond to feedback, they are creating an environment of mutual respect and encouraging ongoing investment. In addition, when a company is aligned with its customers’ expectations and perceptions, it’s better able to predict what the consumer wants and how they will respond to certain products and services. This leads to five-star reviews — and the income to invest in new digital products and services.

Brooke Cade is a freelance writer who’s committed to helping businesses and sales professionals build stronger connections with their customers. In her spare time, she enjoys learning more about InMoment.com — her CX platform of choice, reading books/articles on industry news, engaging on twitter, and exploring her local neighborhood coffee shop.

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