People love to talk, especially when it comes to customer service. Today’s consumers are flocking to the web to discuss their experiences with companies—good and bad. In fact, 46 percent of American consumers say they always tell others about good service experiences; however, an even greater number (60 percent) say they talk about poor service experiences, according to the American Express 2014 Global Customer Service Barometer.
Whether it’s via Facebook or Yelp, buyers are giving brands their thumbs up or thumbs down, which has a direct impact on other consumers’ purchasing decisions. According to a survey conducted by Dimensional Research, an overwhelming 86 percent of respondents said their buying decisions are influenced by negative online reviews.
The rise of social media platforms and online review sites has made brands’ reputations more public and has given buyers a better sense of a business’s personality through the shared experiences of others. Several bad reviews can be detrimental to a company’s bottom line, while a number of positive recommendations can skyrocket sales—making word of mouth worth more than its weight in gold.
Given the powerful influence of consumer reviews, it’s important that companies deliver superior customer service. After all, how your customers feel about you and what they tell others about your brand can influence your revenue as shown in the research above. If you’re worried about what customers are saying about your brand, below are three tips and tricks to consider:
- Encourage customers to share their feedback: Consumers will often take to social media or online review sites to air their grievances about a brand because they don’t feel like they’re being heard. Encourage your customers to share feedback about the level of service you’re providing them, whether it’s through short surveys on your site or direct email. This way, customers will be able share their concerns in a controlled setting as opposed to online where everyone can see.
- Control the social media naysayers: It’s impossible to eliminate all negative social chatter; however, you can effectively control it by diligently monitoring social media channels—even the platforms you don’t use—for mentions of your brand. In the instance a consumer does indirectly or directly reach out, be sure to nip the problem in the bud quickly. Leaving negative comments or posts unanswered sends several bad messages to potential customers; for instance, that you aren’t responsive to service issues.
- Turn service interactions into relationship-deepening moments: In many cases, your customer service department is the one that interacts most with your customers. Therefore, be sure to turn every customer service interaction into an opportunity to deepen your relationships with your customers. Give your representatives the tools they need to effectively and efficiently address customers’ needs.
Consumers are going to talk about your service, one way or another. It’s up to you, therefore, to control the conversation so that they are speaking highly of your brand instead of bashing it.