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.
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.