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Customer feedback is an important tool for growing a business in the right direction. While negative feedback is common, customers should also be encouraged to share positive experiences they have had with a product, service or representatives of a company. If your customers are able to give you the right feedback that is accurate and timely, you as a business person will be better equipped to improve on weaknesses in your business operations that affect the way customers relate to your business. The customer reviews strategy therefore involves collection of feedback as well as taking action on the feedback obtained.
Collection of feedback
The first thing that should be considered in this step is how to get customers to leave feedback so that you can have data to work with. Most customers are not sure if to share their experiences of the products or services of a certain company because they might have encountered resistance and opposition in the past. It is therefore important to let customers know that their feedback is as important as doing business with you.
Create the space
By providing the platform and mode with which customers can give feedback, they will be willing to review the service or products they have bought from you. Since you have taken the initiative to ask for it, some of the reviews may be too honest almost offensive. Develop a hard skin for these knowing that this is a learning process and a valuable learning opportunity that will grow your business. Employees should also be trained on how best to request for feedback especially after the deal has been concluded. This can either be done face to face or over the phone after a follow up call. Make sure that this feedback is recorded on feedback logs to aid in future referencing.
It is important to remind customers all the time that you are in need of their feedback. One way that works every time is the use of incentives like the chance to win great prizes with every review posted. Most customers are keen on making a bargain for their purchases and so the possibility that they will get something free of charge is bound to be encouraging. It is fair to the customer who posted the review and potential customers that all kinds of feedback are posted on the business website. This gives confidence to the reviewer that their contribution is taken seriously and helps future customers to make decisions based on real customer experiences. For reviews that are made in other forums other than the main business website, linkages can be provided to redirect interested customers.
Offer free samples
One of the most successful strategies to use for collecting honest reviews is in the free samples segment. Consumers have nothing to lose and they may not have any loyalty to you since you are new and this makes it easy for them. Product testing is very common in the software and applications industry whereby developers make the main version but still create a trial version that expires after a certain time period. The advantage of free samples to a customer is that they will get to use the product without any financial obligation. If the product is meant to serve a certain crucial need then it may be hard for a customer to do without it after its time have elapsed, resulting in actual sales.
Social media is a powerful force to reckon with as customers feel less visible but more confident when they are behind their computer screens. The fact that you may never be able to link a face to a certain comment made about your product or service makes it a great avenue for collecting honest reviews. The feedback that most consumers share on social media is not what they would share through direct company channels.
Taking action on reviews
Customer reviews must spring you into action but not until you have considered a significant number of the feedback. Before you can change your line of business, overhaul your staff or invest money into a major advertisement campaign, there should be no reasonable doubt that the customer is unhappy with the services or products you are offering.
All customers’ reviews must be responded to in the most civil manner. You will encounter a lot of negative feedback in the practice of doing business but you cannot afford to be negative. Being rude, defensive and cold towards a reviewer will only succeed in getting more negative feedback. By taking the time to respond to a customer’s feedback, it shows that you value and respect the opinion of your clients and at the same time provides an opportunity to dialogue with the customer. This forms a good ground for fostering strong business relationships which your business could benefit from.
It is not just enough to take feedback because the purpose of the feedback in the first place was to help you better the business. The action taken in relation to customers reviews may vary depending on the nature of concerns. Products that are reported as hard to operate may require a modification of the core design while feedback that highlights the incompetence of the sales of customer support team may require performance review audits of individual worker in addition to trainings to sharpen delivery skills.
If customers feel that they are treated as part of a brand or business, then they tend to be loyal to the products and services offered. This loyalty can be taken a notch higher by involving locals in implementing the customer reviews strategy. Now that you have gathered information on what people are saying and you have thanked all reviewers personally for taking their time to share, what is next? A big plus to this process is involving the customer in perfecting the business. Invite customers to give ideas of what they would want to see improved and you will be amazed at how the needs of customers were either off course or totally different from what you were offering.
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