Whatever business you’re in, if you can’t keep your customers happy, you’re going to struggle. Customer satisfaction is a big deal: 81% of consumers are willing to pay a business more for a better customer experience. While you might think your company is meeting your customers’ needs, they may not think so. While 75% of businesses believe they are customer-centric, about 30% of customers agree. That means you could be doing more to deliver outstanding customer service.
Today it’s easier than ever to leave a review of a product or service online – good or bad. Use those customer reviews (yes, even the bad ones) as a chance to learn more about your business: what your customers want, what you may need to change, and where your business is thriving. Then, use that information to help improve your customer service.
1. Understand what you’re doing right
The term “customer service” might make you think of negative reviews or dealing with angry customers. But that’s not all there is to it! Part of good service is simply listening to customers. What are they saying about your service or products? Your brand in general? Are they recommending you to their friends and family? What do they want or need?
Think about how easy it is to write a negative review when you had a poor experience with a company. You want to vent about your experience, warn other customers about this company, or simply get your problem solved. In comparison, how often do you take the time to leave a positive review when you had a great experience? Reviews are a great platform to understand what your company is doing right.
When someone leaves you a stellar review, you can glean a lot of helpful information from it. Maybe it was a particular product or employee that made their experience memorable. And if you get multiple positive reviews, you can start to identify trends. Are there specific employees who are going above and beyond with customer service? Which products or price points do customers seem the happiest about? Are customers praising the quality of what you’re selling, how you respond to reviews, or how you communicate with them in general?
2. Know what you need to tweak
When you use customer reviews to identify what you’re doing right, that can lessen the sting of learning what you need to do better. Remember that a negative customer review doesn’t necessarily mean you did something wrong, or that you’ve lost a customer forever. Look at it as a chance to improve.
For example, let’s say a clothing brand has been getting a lot of 2 and 3 star reviews online. They’re not 1 star reviews, which would normally catch the attention of the staff right away. These reviews all say similar things such as, “this shirt fits me well and looks good, but the color is way off from what it looks like online! I wish I knew before buying it.” Most of the customers that bought the shirt returned it because it was not what they were expecting. In this case, your product wasn’t the problem, but rather your website. Or the way you photographed your product. Or the way the photo was edited.
3. Chart trends and identify opportunities
As you start to collect and respond to reviews, you might begin to notice patterns about what your customers are saying. Perhaps the majority of your positive customer reviews are about shipping: your fees are kept low, things arrive on time, and if what they buy arrives damaged, you’re quick to replace it. That’s great. In comparison, most of your negative customer reviews are about a specific line of faulty products or a clunky website design. Or they come from customers who had a small issue that were never approached by someone from your company to solve it. These kinds of reviews need to be replied to and the issue fixed right away.
Whatever the case may be, analyze your feedback and start doing something about it. Figure out who and what needs to be involved to fix the problem, and put together a plan of action. Don’t forget to respond to the individual reviews, too! When you find a negative review that needs a response, explain what happened and apologize for any mistakes your company made. Keep it short, sweet, and professional. Assure them that their feedback helped them identify a problem, and it’s being fixed. If you have to, take the discussion offline. For positive reviews, at the very least, thank them for taking the time to leave a review.
4. Encourage client feedback
Feel like your company could be doing even more? Encourage and empower your customers to leave you reviews! Add a comment box to your website. Send short email surveys. Send follow up emails after a customer buys something from you. Stay active on social media. The more you encourage feedback from your customers on different channels, the more you’ll be able to use reviews to improve your customer service.