Turn Customer Service Requests into Product Reviews

Let’s get one fact straight. It’s unlikely anyone will willingly give you glowing product reviews. The sooner you recognize this fact, the better it will be for your brand.

On the other hand, you can give them a concrete reason to write about your product or service. The uniqueness of your product offering and the delight your customers’ experience will make them eager to write glowing product reviews.

The experiences of others that have used the products and services of your brand can inspire you as a potential customer to try it out. This was further enforced by the words of Brian Solis when he said “welcome to a new era of marketing and service in which your brand is defined by those who experience it”. The pros and cons of experienced users will help one make an informed buying decision.

Effectively handling customer requests should be seen as a marketing investment in the long run and not a cost. When their requests are responded to on time, they feel valued and important. The key word here is the “timeliness” of your response within the time frame your customers will appreciate it.

Ensure your service delivery satisfies time utility and if this is continuously sustained over time, it will increase your market share and revenue. Every customer wants some form of assurance that their requests are handled in a way that is in accordance with their expectations. When their expectation is me

t and surpassed, the resultant effect is a glowing product review from customers that are brand loyalists, spreading a buzz to everyone about your product and service.

The more product reviews on a product, the better they will perform. This is because reviews generally give an idea of how the customers feel about your products and services. If the reviews are negative, it shows you your area of weakness as a brand and tells you to go back and adjust your process to deliver better experiences to your customers. on the other hand, if positive, you can capitalize on that area of strength and win the hearts of customers such that your brand resonates with your customers.

What customer service entails and handling customer service requests

When you talk about customer service, the endpoint is excellence in delivery and satisfaction of customers. Of course, meeting this goal begins with an innate desire to delight your customers and not just disposing of your products and services. This means you have to brainstorm and figure out ways your customers will have experiences that will turn them into loyal ambassadors for your brand.

As much as profits are highly important, it should not be gotten at the cost of satisfying your customers. There is thus need to build a long-term relationship with your customers which will positively impact on your reputation as a brand. Most companies acknowledge the fact that their products will not be a perfect fit for everyone and infuse allowances for refunds in their operations in a bid to sustain relationships with their customer.

If you had a memorable customer experience as a consumer, you will readily give the brand a repeat trial. Capitalize on this and pay attention to their needs as they will contribute a reasonable percentage to their sales. This begins by having an in-depth knowledge of your products and services to answer inquiries that are sure to be thrown at you.

I will always preach on open communication. Talk to your customers exactly the way you will want to be addressed. Once you get an understanding of this, your customer service will be more effective. How well did you handle the complaint of customer A? If you were the customer, will you be adequately satisfied?

Treating your customers with friendliness, respect and dignity will turn them into loyal ambassadors. Customer service also entails you responding to reviews on time and effecting changes where necessary. You can turn an online review into an offline conversation, making it personal and helping you resolve the complaint on time.

As a brand, prioritize the service requests you have received from your customers in their order of urgency with a time stamp showing their deadline. You will agree with me that some requests are more urgent than others while some will need more hands to resolve. All these should be taken into consideration when deciding on the request to handle first.

The importance of product reviews

Product reviews play a dual role. I mean, they are not only important to the buyers, they are also important to the sellers. There has been an increase in the views of product reviews published by e-commerce stores like Amazon, eBay and a host of others because customers are fast realizing how important product reviews are in influencing their purchase decision.

Every minute, millions of customers troop into sites in search of customer reviews before making their buying decisions. This goes to show that product reviews are an important part of your stores’ marketing and branding strategies; helping you set your store apart as a seller and increasing your credibility as a brand.

It will amaze you to note that customers are not only interested in the good aspects of your product, they also want to know both the bad and the downright ugly parts. Technology helps make this possible with ease for savvy shoppers who make their purchases solely based on reviews read online.

Through product reviews across social networks, your brand can get free exposure which helps to solidify your store’s online presence. I will let you in on a secret; the more product reviews you have as a brand, the more your customers are convinced they are making the right decision. People’s review of your product restores confidence in the minds of your potential customers.

Killer ways to get product reviews from your customers

You can simply ask 

You need something; all you can do is ask for it. Whenever customers use your product or service, ask them what they think about it and areas to be improved upon. This will point out key areas of improvement which can be affected, thus generating positive reviews about your services.

Customers will be quick to offer reviews for services that they enjoyed. So, next time a customer remarks on how awesome your product or services are, tell them you will appreciate it if they could leave an online review.

Do not make the review process unnecessarily complicated

 Make it easy for customers to send reviews. The easier it is, the easier it will be for more people to submit reviews about your products and services. Make sure it is a platform that is easily understood by customers to make the review process stress-free.

Attach incentives to spur action

Everyone will jump at the opportunity to win something, no matter how little. I feel like I should make a distinction here between incentives and bribes. Never pay customers for fake reviews because it is highly unethical. Instead offer incentives ranging from discounts off next purchase, store gift card, coupons and so on to customers who are willing to share information about their experiences with your product.

Follow-up on your customers through emails

Whenever there is a purchase made on your site, always follow-up through emails. The email addresses of your customers are gotten at their point of purchase, be it an offline or online store. Whenever your customers buy, quickly ask them for feedback on the purchase they have made.

Make it easy for your customers to get in touch with you

After a sale is made especially if it is offline, it can be quite difficult to get a review when your service numbers are not publicized for their use. Please, make it easy for your customer to give you feedback about your offerings by giving out customer service numbers, office address details, websites, email addresses among others. Each time a positive review is given, record it and seek the customer’s permission to publish it on your official website.

Ask the right questions 

Nothing can kill a review as not providing answers to core questions a potential customer might have with regards the product. Do not stop at whether a customer liked the product or not, go deeper. Ask them how they are using it if they benefitted anything from its usage and if they will easily recommend it to others.

While asking these questions, keep it short and simple. However, make sure that you cover vital information that will be needed to carry out an informed buying decision. Vital questions will make a product review more authentic. Make each review you have received count by using them to recommend other products the customer is likely to enjoy in the future.

Turning unhappy customers into valued resources

Personally, I believe that unhappy customers are great assets to a brand. Do not get me wrong. Having unhappy customers is not ideal for business but they can give deep insights into effective and efficient ways of delivering your product or service offerings.

Unhappy customers give bad reviews. The truth is that bad reviews can also be of immense benefits to the consumers. According to MIT Technology Review, it helps to serve as risk mitigators helping customers know the worst case scenario they are to expect from your products and services. The presence of negative reviews lends more credence to your brand’s authenticity.

At the end of the day, an unhappy customer impacts negatively on a brand’s reputation. This is because unhappy customers tend to spread their negative experiences faster than satisfied customers. The phrase “bad news spread like wild-fire” comes to mind.

Unhappy customers are directly related to your customer service. This means their unhappiness is directly related to how they feel about your service delivery. Is there a way to turn their dissatisfaction into a pleasant outcome? Can these customers be turned into valuable resources?

An unhappy customer can be transformed into your biggest asset if only you know what to do. With the following tips, unhappy customers can be turned into valuable resources for your brand;

Acknowledge the problem. For a customer to be unhappy, something that was supposed to happen did not happen. An expectation was not met and the resultant effect becomes an unhappy customer. The most honest person that can give you valuable insight into areas of lapses in your operation as a brand is an unhappy customer.

Try to listen to their complaints and make them feel heard. Do not get defensive but seek ways of resolving the complaint. I will explain further. When Dominos was heavily criticized for their pizza and how it tasted like cardboard, they responded to that by changing their pizza recipe which encouraged consumers to try it out. Their willingness and ability to take criticisms generated goodwill for Dominos and made people get onboard their train.

Make it up to them. Let us be sincere! You cannot fix all problems, sometimes the problem could be such that it cannot be undone. You can go out of your way by making it up to them and doing all in your power to delight them. When you accommodate their needs, it makes them feel special. Amazon understood and applied this by waiving shipping charges on a replacement of a customer’s Christmas package that was stolen from their apartment, even though it was through no fault of theirs.

Turning customer service requests into product reviews

Having looked at what customer service is all about, the importance of product reviews and the best ways to get these reviews, how then can we turn our customer service requests into great product reviews?

Leaving all the marketing terminologies aside, the relevance of a request is in the time it is responded to. The urgency you attach to a request goes a long way to influence customer’s overall satisfaction. The effectiveness of marketing embraces the research into the production and delivery of the right products to the right people at the right place and at the right time. Failing on one aspect is harmful to the growth of your brand.

With the presence of online mediums, customers can easily make their requests digitally without being physically present at your store. After this is done, they expect a timely response to the requests sent and not doing so can be quite disastrous. It is even more disastrous when dealing with the service industry.

To turn your customer service requests to product reviews, you should reduce your customer wait time. Customers should know your brand as one that delivers on time. If you have a lot of traffic on your site, your employees should be trained on serving customers in a quick way. Responding to their needs on time shows them that you are dedicated to resolving their needs, and that is a plus for your brand in their good books.

Furthermore, all inquiries should be treated as urgent to prevent the customer from feeling ignored. Looking to turn your customer service requests into products? Be responsive to their needs, even if it is just to say “we will get back to you”. It is more effective than dead-drop silence.

It is not just enough to ask for feedback through surveys, questionnaires, and others, use this feedback you have received. Make it useful to your overall business process and make changes where necessary. Excellent customer service does not come in a day; it is the totality of all the experiences you have delivered to the customer consistently. The word “consistently” is italicized on purpose to emphasize its importance.

Effectively handling customer requests should be the culture of every staff of the company. Your employees should be trained on how to effectively interact with customers and solve their problems. They are the bridge between the company and the customers, hence they play a strategic role.

Finally, when a customer feels satisfied that his requests have been handled effectively, he responds by giving reviews that will attract other consumers to your offerings.

Conclusion

As much as it is important getting product reviews, you should also know how to handle them and use them to package your offerings better. When people know you listen to their opinions and they see positive efforts being made, you gain more reviews. Proper handling of product reviews can help build customers’ trust and confidence in you as a brand.

This entails that you check your reviews daily, using notifications to alert you to new submissions. I bet you would be frustrated if you discovered your write-ups were ignored! In the same vein, customers can get frustrated too if they sense their reviews are not getting much-needed attention from your brand.

Utilize every opportunity to show your customers that you are responding to their submissions. Clarify areas that need attention, always thank customers for their reviews and apologize for errors made in the delivery of service to them. I know it is not humanly possible to respond to every review submitted but let them feel that you do take their problems seriously and you are willing to make positive adjustments.

It is not possible to only get positive reviews, even if you are doing everything right! Some shoppers are unnecessarily negative and may have high, unrealistic expectations. A site that has only positive reviews will raise red flags. This is because it is not possible to please everyone. Keep it real and publish all levels of reviews. It makes your brand authentic and people trust you more!

Use the negative reviews gotten to make your business processes and operations better than they were, rather than letting the comments get you down.

As a brand, keep encouraging the submission of product reviews. Remember, this is an essential process of doing business and they have the power to make or break a purchase deal. More importantly, encourage the submission of pictures or videos as they help tell a better story about your products than texts alone.

It is necessary to turn your unhappy customers into valued resources to protect the life of your brand. In this internet age, one bad mention does not only get to ten more persons, it goes to thousands of persons who send it to thousands more, creating a negative viral sensation. It is not only necessary to turn your unhappy customers into valued resources; it becomes critical and should be a strategic plan of action that becomes a lifestyle.

Once you turn an unhappy customer into a delighted one, the customer becomes more loyal than your satisfied customers, bringing in repeat purchases. Little wonder why the name “Zappos” brings smiles on the faces of their customer as they have attained a legendary status when it comes to excellent customer service delivery. Of course, this status has paid off for them as about 75% of their purchases can be traced to their repeat customers.

The secret to reducing complaints is for brands to be proactive than reactive in their dealings with customers. Proactively seek out feedback from your customers before they have a chance to complain. Remember, the watchword here is being proactive.

A Complete Guide to Product Sales in the Digital World

A Complete Guide to Product Sales in the Digital World

With digitalization, customer experiences are transformed by the creation of convenient self-service and escaping the hurdles of time-consuming transactions often associated with the traditional methods. As a brand, you need to strive to create a product that people would readily want to use.

Why should you read further? Maybe you have been operating in a local shop and you want to try to expand. Or perhaps you are looking to explore places that will offer your brand more visibility. Maybe you want to satisfy your curiosity on more digital channels that can be available to you even if you already have an online presence.

No matter the reasons you may have, you should read on. And if you still have no idea, I think the better question is “isn’t it time you actually took your business online”? Great digital products do not just appear out of the blues; they go through a process and create delightful experiences that continually keep their users coming back for more!

The world as it is today

I will be blunt with you here. The world has changed and this change is in a big way. This is because literally everyone is surrounded by screens. This has been fuelled by the advent of smartphones and the internet; making us all connected in ways we have never been before.

With this massive shift in our daily lives, it is no surprise to note that consumers have become more empowered and informed than ever before. Now, if a firm is not prepared to handle all these changes, the organization will be at a serious disadvantage which will lead to loss of sales.

So, if you ask me what I think about the world we live in today, I will say without missing a beat “it is a world immersed in technology”. Gone are the days of traditional and offline selling. Do not get me wrong; I am not against traditional selling. All I am saying is that organizations who want to grow to the peak have to digitalize their operations.

Offline stores should not compete with online stores but complement each other instead. What do I mean by that? Your brand’s website cannot be compared to the physical feel of your products and services, but through the website, you can gain wider reach than your offline store would have made possible.

With the click of a button from the comfort of your bed, one can make purchase decisions across different alternatives in existence. With websites and blogs analyzing products and making comparisons, your average customer engages with your store armed with information much more than your sales representatives. This is because a lot of research has already been carried out by your customers before they engage in your physical store.

For example, if your target customers are millennial, they are likely to learn more about your product from digital channels before they make a buying decision. How then do you utilize the digital world and make your brand the one that stands out of so many competing brands?

Rules you should never forget in product sales

Your customers are the reason for your existence in business. They are basically the lifeblood of your business and any marketing strategy you decide to adopt must be anchored around them.

First and foremost, you need to make a decision on what you want to sell. Is there any point moving ahead if you do not have an idea of what can meet the needs of your customers? A lot of online stores have their origin from the products of their owners. This does not rule out the fact that you can also sell the products of another party through your website and online platforms.

Trust me when I say that having a great product or dare I say multiple great products will lead you on the right path to success. You can also explore the option of digital products like eBooks, games, and online courses among others.

As a brand, you need to leverage on direct or indirect factors that are most likely to inform a purchase decision. I will explain further. You know there are some salient factors consumers watch out for before they select the product of a particular brand; product features, product reviews, price or an emotional connection. All of these can culminate in closing a sale if acted upon.

Marketing strategies to drive product sales in the digital world

Any product or service can be sold online; think of any and check it out for yourself. Online sales continue to be on the increase year after year. Now, it will not be wise not to take advantage of the channels you can utilize in the sale of your products and services. The selling process is pretty much the same.

Before you think of selling, you should have a customer target in mind and the customer experience should be consistent. At the forefront of your mind should be the fact that you exist to solve a problem and not merely to sell your goods and services. This is why the satisfaction a customer gets grows a notch when they get a product that is exactly right for them in the fulfillment of their needs.

With e-commerce, you spread your brand wings farther than your locality, reaching a global market, thus increasing your sales lead. Selling your product in the digital world makes you available round the clock and guarantees convenience to your customers. This is why you need to get onboard the online train fast!

The days of just building a website and sitting around for the traffic to come pouring in are over and gone for good. For a brand that is just starting out and yet to amass goodwill, it will require hard work, consistency and a lot of marketing strategies to get you to the top. As a brand, you can promote your online store using the following marketing strategies;

Social media marketing

Product Sales

According to a research by Pew Research Center, 95 percent of your regular American teens use the internet. This is a whopping figure and goes to show that of your target customers are teens, you are definitely going to have to become digital to capture their attention. Youths have become so dependent on internet and digital technology in this present generation.

With many social media platforms that enhance connection, it is no surprise to see the increasing number of users. Brands that want to stay proactive are taking their products and services to their customers in the places they are most likely to be.

If you are in the class of people that seems to relegate the social media platforms to the background, I would strongly recommend you have a rethink. Your social interaction does matter on social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram among others. If you are hoping to drive more sales to your store, social media can be a huge step in the right direction.

Research shows that about a whopping eighty-one percent of the buying decision of customers are influenced by a friend’s post on social media; little wonder why a lot of proactive firms are taking advantage of the opportunities these platforms present.

The digital world today has left a mark on in-store retail experience in remarkable ways. Through social media marketing, you can also extend your reach on a global scale. Furthermore, your followers can be encouraged to share their views about experiences had with your brand.

Social media also affords a brand the opportunity to closely communicate with their customers and build a good reputation. Imagine if a brand is quick to respond to inquiries made, what image do you think they will present to their customers? Without a doubt, it will show a brand that cares and appreciates all the inputs they make.

Blogging and content marketing

Blogs are becoming the in-thing these days. Through a blog, features of your products can be promoted and their benefits can be showcased. Want to keep visitors interested enough to stick around and become a regular visitor? Create attention-worthy content that can keep them interested enough to come back for more.

Always back your contents with visuals about your product. Product images and videos that are relevant will always engage people more than product descriptions in text only. Testimonials and tutorials on product usage can be attached to your content to make them rich and appealing.

Never forget the importance of connections in spreading your reach. Guest blogging can be engaged in to connect with other influential bloggers within your niche to help spread buzz about your products and services.

Search engine optimization

When you hear SEO, think of it as a technique of increasing the visibility of your website by improving its placement in search results on search engines like Yahoo or Google. Customers are quick to search for information on a search engine. Getting your website to be at the top of the search engine would improve your chances of being seen by a shopper.

Email marketing

As opposed to the old-school view email is looked on with, it is still one of the most effective tools that you can utilize to generate sales lead and pass information across to your customers.

With email marketing, your online store, website or blog can be promoted and discounts can be communicated to target customers. There are many email services that can be used like MailChimp, among others in order to stay in touch with your customers.

Pay-per-click advertising

As a result of cost implications, a lot of people avoid using this platform. However expensive it might seem in the short run, you can be assured of getting your revenue back in the long run and an increase in your Return on Investment (ROI).

Oops, I did not explain this better before yapping about its benefits. When we talk of PPC, consider it to be simply advertising on internet search engine. How does this work exactly? You could pay for your advert to appear whenever a particular phrase or keyword is searched.

The prices are however determined by your selected search engine and how competitive the phrase or keyword in question is. Whenever a shopper clicks on your advert, you get charged a certain amount that is fixed. With PPC, any demographic can be targeted and your website traffic can be increased.

I need to clarify here that the marketing strategies that exist are inexhaustive and only a few of them are discussed in the course of this article. There is much room for learning about each of them in order for you to select the strategies to be incorporated into your marketing plan. All that matters is that you select the right strategy that will be the best fit for your products and services.

Selecting an e-commerce platform for your product sales

If you want to take your products online, the e-commerce platform you select plays an important role. Some of these platforms are paid, some free, some simple while some downright complex. With a lot of options in the market like Shopify, WordPress, Ubercart, Magento, Volusion, BigCommerce and so many others, there are, however, some features to look out for in the selection of a platform.

How easy can it be integrated with the payment option in your country? Often times, businesses are quick to ignore this aspect forgetting that payments need to be accepted from customers in the course of business dealings with them. It is not every e-commerce platform in the market that is easily compatible with every payment gateway.

How easily can you create and manage your products and product content? You need a platform that lets you easily create pages, contact form, and attention-worthy advertising copies. You also need to check how many products a platform can handle to reduce response time. Nothing can be as frustrating as an unresponsive site, thus driving customers to that of a competing brand.

You need to know the hardware and software limitations of any e-commerce platform you decide to use as well as its ease of maintenance. The easier it is to maintain, the easier you can manage your e-commerce operations.

How secure is your store? When you hear technical phrases like PCI compliance or SSL certification, it is enough to make one dizzy especially if you are not tech-savvy. The PCI compliance are standards that are applicable to websites that accept and store payment information while the SSL certificates are data files that allow the processing of online purchases as well as other sensitive transactions.

With digitalization, one cannot ignore the importance of data, which means that data security is highly important. Customers need to be confident in your store. Some e-commerce platforms offer more security features and perks like fraud protection among others.

 Do they offer online support and documentation? You need to keep abreast with the support facilities an e-commerce platform can offer. Support like Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), audio and video guides, Q&A segments should be checked in any e-commerce platform you are considering.

At the end of the day, you will do well to select the platform that affords you room to grow as a brand and is peculiar to your needs. You should have the flexibility to add new features and extensions to the existing platform without the hassle of migrating to a new one. As your business grows, the chances of your brand outgrowing the functionalities offered by most e-commerce platforms are bound to increase. Hence, you need to select one that will offer a cost-effective solution for your expansion needs.

Establishment of a secure payment gateway

Of course, with selling comes the transfer of funds from buyer to seller. Think of your payment gateway like the regular hardware POS terminals that are used in physical stores. The basic function of a payment gateway is to verify the credit card details of your customers and ensure that you get paid for every sale made. They basically approve or decline transactions.

Before you confuse them with merchant accounts, let me briefly clarify. You already know what a payment gateway is all about, so I will just skip right to the merchant account. A merchant account holds your funds until you are ready to deposit it into your bank account. Their transactions charges are less than that of the payment gateways.

Some payment gateways like PayPal for example, can function without a merchant account and transfers the funds directly to your account from your customers.

Conclusion

With all these information shoved in your face, it can be a little bit overwhelming. The truth is that selling your products in the digital world is easy and not as complicated as it sounds. All it needs is one step and the next and voila! You are on your way to earning money round the clock.

For your website to occupy a distinct place in the minds of your customers, you need attention-grabbing contents and attractive images. Having your website increases your professionalism and people are quick to buy when they know they are buying from a professional. There are numerous website designs available on the web that can be customized to suit your needs or you can outsource the creation of your website to a third party.

Armed with images that just scream “look at me!” and captivating content, your website appears interesting enough to warrant attention. You can upload information on your site with regards to your product images, product description, pricing, and shipping. If you have a good e-commerce platform in your pockets, it becomes an easy step.

With this digital world comes the birth of consumers that are very strict with their demands for better services or the switch to an alternative brand is readily considered. This has led to an increase in the messages that are all competing for the attention of the consumers. This means that brands do not have captive audiences waiting around for brands; instead, brands have to be extra remarkable in order to capture the attention of the consumers.

Brands that have this idea and have implemented practices in place to guarantee customer delight on digital platforms are already reaping the rewards in huge folds with the explosive increase in product sales.

There should be a way to measure impact when entering the digital world. This will go a long way to show you how your brand is perceived by the consumers. This impact can be measured in terms of downloads, shares, views, followership, ratings, and reviews among others.

Your offline marketing should not be relegated to the background, even in a digital world. Your web address should be included in all printed advertising materials as they can help generate sales lead.

Finally, ensure that any contact with your customers ends in the creation of delightful experiences that will always keep them coming back for more. Adopting a customer-centric approach in your marketing approach will earn you loyal customers who will turn into brand ambassadors, creating a buzz that is sure to generate huge revenue in the long run.