What is Customer Satisfaction?
Customer satisfaction is a measure of how products and services supplied by a company meet or surpass customer expectation
These days, customer satisfaction is mirrored in online customer reviews. To capture raving customer reviews and positive word of mouth, a business owner has to go the extra mile and do so with consistency.
Why is Customer Satisfaction important?
Customer satisfaction matters because it still costs more to get customers than it does to keep them. Most recent studies say it costs an average of 5 times more to gain a new customer than it does to grow an existing customer – and more in some industries.
In today’s online mobile world, customers share their levels of customer satisfaction with their friends, their family AND with millions of total strangers.
Many are more likely to share negative experiences than positive. Pete Blackshaw’s new book says it all: Satisfied Customers Tell 3 Friends, Angry customers Tell 3000.
Negative or positive word of mouth expressed in online customer reviews greatly influences potential customers by either pulling them in or pushing them away.
Does this really happen?
Oh yeah. Take my word for it.
In the last two weeks, I went online to find an appliance repair company, a hotel, a plumber, a new dry cleaner and a restaurant. In all of my searches, I was strongly influenced by the online customer feedback and reviews. Chances are you do the exact same thing in your online searches.
Plus after several days in Canon Beach, OR and visiting several restaurants, I’ve written one negative and one positive review.
Research by Local Viewpoints shows that customer feedback in the form of online reviews can make a BIG difference to the bottom line: (Infographic is below this post).
- More than 7 out of 10 consumers:
- say online customer reviews influence their purchase decisions.
- read up to 10 reviews before choosing a local business.
- say they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
- Companies with positive reviews can convert 183% more new business than companies with negative or no reviews.
- Only two percent (2%) are likely to use a business with no reviews or ratings.
If you need more convincing, take a look at these facts I found from VentureBeat.com.
- A one-star increase on Yelp leads to a 5% to 9% increase in revenue (source: Michael Luca, Harvard Business School).
- 70% of global consumers trust online reviews, an increase of 15 percent in four years (source: Nielsen).
- 80% of consumers change their mind after reading a single bad review (source: Cone Communications).
- One negative review can cost you 30 customers (source: Convergys).
- 7 in 10 who read reviews share them with friends, family & colleagues thus amplifying their impact (Deloitte & Touché)
So how does a business owner capture positive customer reviews?
The first step is to make certain your customers are happy with the product and level of service you are providing so they have something glowing to share. If this isn’t the case, you have some internal work to do.
The next step is to encourage those who are satisfied with your product delivery to produce online reviews for you.
That isn’t easy given that 90% of the people who use reviews to make their buying decisions yet only 6% actually write a review (refer to infographic below). Customers think reviews are too boring to write or they simply forget about providing online feedback.
While some business owners may be purchasing online reviews (that’s a No No), I wanted to provide you with some ideas as to how you can collect more positive customer feedback for your business.
1. KISS IT
You want to have a profile on all of the major review sites, (e.g. Yelp, Google, Trip Advisor, Urbanspoon, Foursquare, etc.) so when your customers are moved to give you a review, they don’t have to waste time creating your profile.
2. Ask nicely
Sometimes the direct approach is the best and most effective. After a purchase or after a project, ask the customer how satisfied they are. If they are pleased, gently encourage them to provide an online review for you.
3. Email Follow-up
Use email follow-up after a visit or purchase thanking your customer for their business and again, asking if they would be kind enough to provide you with some customer feedback. Provide them with links to whichever review site fits your business.
4. Customer Review Thank You
Give a surprise thank you in return for a positive review (e.g. a Thank You card, a discount, reward, recognition of some sort, etc.). People like being acknowledged for their efforts and it will encourage them to do it more often.
5. Popularize Other Customer Reviews
If you already have some positive customer reviews, create a chart, an infographic or a local area map of the reviews and post it where other customers will see it. Here’s an example from Yelp. Just seeing what others have to say, can help get other customers motivated to add their own comments.
6. Review Section / Links on Website
Let your customers provide you with a review on your website or have links to the major review sites where you have created profiles so they can easily access them.
7. Free Samples or New Product Trials
Be upfront about your desire for customer feedback in return for the free sample or trial of new products or services. You won’t get 100%, but you’ll get more than you might imagine. Plus, if they don’t like your new product or service, you’ll get some valuable research.
8. Zero-in on your Advocates
These are the folks who already love you. If you don’t know who they are, ask your email subscribers or those on your social media sites to give you a rating of your service or product performance. Those who give you the highest rating are your advocates. Ask the advocates if they wouldn’t mind sharing their experiences with others and provide them with review links to do so.
9. Knock their socks off
Perhaps the best and easiest way to collect great reviews is to make certain you deliver the highest customer service each and every time. Impress them and they’ll look for ways to rave about you to others.
Caution: You never want to be pushy about asking for customer reviews as it could backfire. You don’t want to be seen as desperate or needy. So, be nice and gentle in your requests.
What are your ideas / experiences in capturing online customer reviews?
What is your customer satisfaction rating?
How much business do you receive from positive online reviews? Do you know? Shouldn’t you?
What tips can you share about how you capture customer reviews?