Yelp hit a milestone of 100 million registered users at the beginning of 2013. Not all business owners take online reviews seriously, but prospective customers certainly do.
Before someone decides to use your service or product, it’s likely he or she will investigate your online reputation. Feedback can generate positive or negative conversion trends, so it’s crucial for your company to monitor feedback, reach out to customers, and connect with their online communities.
Below are five reasons you should do so.
1. Customer service
Online review platforms offer businesses a unique look at customer opinions. While polls can serve as a window into customer satisfaction, you have to convince people to fill out your poll.
Online reviews are different: customers voluntarily share this information with their peers. They instigate the feedback process. Since review sites like Yelp also double as social media platforms, these customers are motivated by their desire to share great businesses with their friends and warn peers away from unhelpful ones.
Your customer service team can build stronger promoter connections by thanking customers who leave positive reviews and responding actively to complaints. You may quickly turn a detractor into a promoter by giving the person a direct line to your leadership or customer support team.
Some online review systems allow you to post a private message or leave a comment in response to a review. Don’t let negative posts fester on review pages, when your customer service team has an excellent opportunity to respond.
2. Product and service improvement
Examine your online product and service reviews, and keep an eye out for recurring struggles and complaints. You might even want to chart customer feedback, noting how many times people bring up battery issues, poor phone support, and other concerns.
These reviews can give your company real-time suggestions on how to improve products and services. Chart the most common complaints and deliver them to your project managers and product developers to address in future updates.
3. Improved workflows
Sometimes customer feedback can highlight problems with processes and workflow. For example, people might become frustrated with a glitch on your website that causes their shopping cart to empty itself. This issue can easily lead to a decline in web sales. You might discover glitches like these faster by paying attention to your company’s online reputation and reviews.
Online customer feedback also helps you identify workflows that are operating properly. Customers might leave favorable reviews, and mention a specific phone representative who helped them resolve an issue. If possible, connect with the employee and learn about what made that interaction successful.
4. Find new audiences
You can key into new audience demographics by watching online reviews for your business. For example, you might notice an influx of students commenting about your product, even though your company usually targets retirees in its marketing campaigns.
These students may have discovered a new way to use your product, with benefits and challenges that haven’t been identified before. These discoveries can lead to new marketing strategies and product development.
5. Keep an eye on the competition
Forget your online reputation for just a second. Have you ever wanted an inside look into your competitors’ business? Just take a look at their employee and customer reviews!
You can use business directories like Forlocations to see which establishments are in your region. See what people like and dislike about competing businesses in your industry. Your company can woo potential customers away by providing excellent support in the areas that your competitors struggle with.
User-generated reviews and feedback provide customers with a truly democratic approach to selecting their products and services. Through online review and reporting websites, consumers can find companies that best suit their needs. Web feedback can help your company identify opportunities, watch the competition, and gain new audiences.