Consumers are becoming smarter. Sucks huh?
Every one of your customers has Internet access, where there’s a world of information about your company and the customer experiences that it’s created. Consumers are putting in the time to determine what and who they’ll purchase from and a quick search of your company can bring up any press you’ve received, Yelp, Google reviews, the BBB and any consumer feedback oriented website. This is a significant new capability that your consumer never had before.
It used to be the case that as long as the marketing dollars were strong enough, a business could generate a new batch of fresh consumers because they could just make their place of business look attractive. One could say they offer the “Best Customer Service” and it could go largely unchallenged.
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Those days are done.
Today, one may feel the consumer has way too much power because word of mouth has been extended to people outside of a particular person’s network.
Of course, it can go both ways in instances of positive or negative feedback, but bad news spreads more readily as we all know the angry are far more motivated to share negativity than those who are happy to share positivity.
And no matter how good you are, we have all had that customer from hell. You know, the one that could not be made happy by any reasonable attempt? Yup, and now that person is free to drag the business and reputation you’ve built through the mud. They can file a complaint with the BBB, blog about their experience, write bad reviews on every review site they can find (which often rank well) and turn many of those research savvy consumers off of your product or service.
So what can you do? Be good and encourage the happy customers to speak out.
One of the first things you’re taught in sales school is to ask your customers for referrals, so why not ask the happy to leave a good review online and make this expanded form of ‘word of mouth’ work for you!
I’ll share a little tip I typically give to most of my clients. You see, although I’m probably a bit biased, my customers offer amazing services. So much so that often enough they’ll be complimented in person or on the phone for a job well done, but for some reason the client isn’t motivated to write good reviews all over the internet.
I suggested having a dedicated space in your lobby with a computer that encourages your customers to leave good reviews. Hell, you may even have something on the monitor that says ‘Like us on Facebook’ or ‘Share you experience with your friends’. You might even equip your staff with ipads and offer them an incentive to see who can get the most reviews. There are many ways to do this, but the point is to get them while they are in front of you when they are at their happiest. Otherwise they will go home and either not know how to write a review or forget to all together.
So what happens when your next prospect sees you’ve had a couple bad reviews? They’ll understand you can’t make everyone happy all the time. Shit happens and that’s okay because you have 50 other people backing you up as a great place to do business.
Thus, in order to look good you have to be good and you have to get others to share it.