The beauty of the internet, and in tandem the brutality, is the access to everything all of the time. Retail, information, stories, images, film, markets, maps, games, ideas….. There is literally no end to the vastness of the thing. Your website or social media presence is therefore open to anyone looking for your service or looking to find out about your service. And this is where the brutality comes in. The slightest flaw in a customer’s experience is more often than not, plain to see in a customer review. Companies live and die on site like TripAdvisor.
The problem with a bad experience and the internet is that people are more likely to vent their negativity via a keyboard where they can safely retreat to their real world after their outburst. Chances are they will not use your service again. So it’s no skin off their nose or they will come heavy-handed looking for a deal the next time.
So, as social media matures along with our use of digital, we can collectively see the patterns of behaviour by people who are serial negatives and trolls. It becomes clear in the language, tone and lack of depth. As such we are becoming adept at sorting the wheat from the chaff when it comes to reading testimonials and reviews. And this is very important as far as your business is concerned because customer reviews are fast becoming a currency all of their own. Providing a real value layer to retail and purchasing. So, are reviews and testimonials important? 100%!
Further to this, how you as the customer service agent (one of your many hats as a small business owner) deals with both the positive and negative reviews, comments and suggestions you get left across all the customer access points to your business is of vital importance. New customers read everything these days, especially a customer review. Particularly if the item in question is of significant value either as a cost or as an emotional purchase. There is a careful, intuitive weighing-up process going on in their minds as they make their decision.
Therefore, the key element in your responses to the customer review is to be even-handed across the board. New customers eye consistency of message and service, alongside quality of product, and want to feel reassured. Everyone understands that from time to time things can go wrong. However unlikely that circumstance may be, they want to be insured against that event in a fair and reasonable fashion.
In conclusion, encourage conversation. Build trust and community. However geographically far apart your customers are, the community aspect will win over physical distance every time. That is why people travel far and wide for conventions of all kinds. That’s why having a trusted community will ensure customers will return and also refer your service to their hearts’ content.