Successful business owners understand the importance of keeping customers happy.
Many use innovative approaches to creating a culture that focuses on customer service and has a strategy for customer satisfaction.
However, many organizations are disconnected from their customers and are often unaware of unresolved customer issues.
The internet has changed the game in customer satisfaction, and understanding how your customer uses the internet to share their experiences, is an important part of a customer service strategy.
5 Ways to Learn What Your Customers Think About Your Products or Services
1. Use Search Engines
A customer will use search engines to find information about your organization – so you should too.
Go to any search engine, Google, Bing, or Yahoo and type in the search bar, “your organization name – customer reviews”.
This is a great way to find chatter about your organization that you may not be aware of.
There are also websites that angry people frequent to vent their frustrations about businesses that they are unhappy with.
Whether the issue is legitimate or not, is irrelevant, (because often they are not), the point is to know what people are saying about your business.
2. Become Familiar With Yelp
Yelp is how people find businesses and services in their neighborhood and select those services and businesses based on feedback from other consumers.
So whether your business is food service, health care, or a hair salon, understanding what people in the community are saying about your business – is important.
Reading these kinds of reviews can also help you identify ways to improve what you are doing or how to market something you are doing well.
3. Angie’s List
Angie’s list advertises reviews of local businesses. It allows you to search for a business and see what other customers say.
Customers who use Angie’s list post reviews, so it is important to find out what those customers are saying about your business.
4. Home Advisors
Home Advisors is another resource customers use to find dependable businesses and to share their experiences.
There are countless businesses that bid for jobs on these sites and customers then give feedback on how well the contractor or business did.
5. Better Business Bureau
The BBB has been around for decades and has been extremely successful at resolving customer disputes.
What I like about the BBB is that they notify you if a customer complains about your organization and helps you resolve the issues with the customer.
You should spend some time searching for your business on their website so you can see what consumers see when they look for your organization.
A side note, I’m also a big proponent of businesses that are BBB accredited.
The BBB Accreditation Standards help businesses create a structure for business success and helps them maintain processes that support a great customer experience.
Having the BBB seal of approval on your website gives consumers confidence in proper business management practices.
6. Set up Google Alerts
Google has a great free tool that alerts you when certain keywords are used.
For example, you can set up an alert for your business name and you will receive notifications whenever that keyword shows up in search results.
Setting up Google alerts is easy and is a great way to find out what people are saying about your organization. Set up an alert with keywords that would point back to your business.
So what do you do if there is a negative comment about your business online?
There are several things you can do if you see a negative review.
Try to identify the customer (I’ll bet you know who they are already) and reach out to them to try and resolve the issue.
Often times it is a misunderstanding or miscommunication that leads to these angry tirades.
Sometimes this means swallowing your pride and appeasing a difficult customer, but if you consider the long term impact it is often beneficial to just resolve the issue.
Most review sites allow the business owner to respond publicly to the issue.
You don’t want a public debate, but what you do want, is to communicate that you acknowledge the issue and that you have an interest in getting it resolved.
Don’t get into a debate over who said what, simply put your contact information out there and ask the customer to contact you for resolution.
This communicates to other readers that you are taking steps to get this issue resolved.
The unfortunate part of the internet is that it is there forever.
There is not much you can do about that but what you can do is be proactive with your customer service strategy and train your employees to exceed customer expectations.
If there is an issue, resolve it quickly and try to learn from the experience.
Create a process to manage customer complaints and incorporate what you learn into planning improvements for your products and services.
Use customer feedback as a launching point for all improvement activities.
I, like all customers, use the internet to check out businesses and when I find a business that has a negative review, I look for a follow up with the organization to see how well they resolved that issue.
I’m reasonable and if I see that the organization reached out and tried to resolve the issue, it communicates to me that they cared and wanted to do what was best for the customer.
We all know that you can’t make everyone happy, but it is important to know who is saying what about your organization and to make every effort to turn the angry customer into a happy one.
If you can successfully turn the situation around, the end result will be a happy customer.
And a happy customer will result in more business. And isn’t that what it is all about?
How do you manage negative online comments?