Nowadays, technology dominates our lives. People turn to the Internet and tools like social media for a variety of uses. Social media is very popular. In fact, 79 percent of the public using it for an average of two and a half hours per per person per day. So how to turn customer feedback into great social media and convert this opportunity?
This article is NOT about online, web feedback, as this delivers comments way too late for the business to take action. Rather it is about getting real-time on location feedback, and using it to create great social media to elevate a business. Here is the premise:
- Social media is highly popular
- It is used to review businesses and to share reviews
- Negative reviews have a bad impact on the business
- Reviews delivered online, after the experience are meaningless. The business cannot react in time to correct the problem
- It is better for the business to have a method for on location feedback
- This means the business can preempt the bad experience ever going online
- And encourage a positive customer review in a social media post
How Important is Social Media for a Business?
Customers (actual or potential) use it to find out more about a product or service before purchasing it (48 percent , to be exact). They will ask:
- How many customer reviews?
- Does the business have negative feedback?
- What caused the poor experience? (and is there a direct message or two?)
- What is the response time to an issue?
- Is there any positive feedback?
- Do the customer stories warrant a visit?
So these online reviews become the social proof for any decision the potential customer makes. Furthermore, they also share their feedback and experiences with other potential buyers, and so the social media monitoring cycle continues. This is disastrous for businesses with unhappy customers , yet hugely beneficial for those with happy customers – a real platform of business opportunities. Consider this from the Harvard Business Review:
“A one-star increase in Yelp rating leads to a 5-9 percent increase in revenue”
What is Customer Feedback and How Can It Benefit Your Business?
Consumers or users giving an opinion on any aspect of the offer (pre or post purchase) is deemed “customer feedback”. This usually takes the form of both structured data (ratings) and unstructured data (comments). This data, with appropriate metrics is precious to any business as it delivers a performance indicator to business owners to guide positive change.
Why is customer feedback so important? These are the significant reasons customer feedback benefits your business:
- You learn what your customers like and don’t like about your business (even if the opinion is from a satisfied customer, delivering a positive review).
- You can use this information to adapt your business to provide a more apt offer.
- It makes your users feel like they’re important and valued.
- Asking for feedback makes your customers feel that you appreciate their thoughts, which will, in turn, create repeat customers and loyal subscribers.
- Feedback will continuously give you ways to improve. Your business can be as close to perfect as possible, but continual improvement is always necessary. By listening to them on what is and isn’t working, you’ll be able to continuously adapt, leading to more sales and an improved customer experience.
Why Traditional Feedback Programs Fall Short
There are numerous tools to collect feedback from users, but some programs are better than others. Traditional feedback programs, like paper comment cards and online surveys, fall short in terms of the number of benefits you can reap from them.
Here’s how they don’t measure up to the feedback you receive on social media:
1) Online Feedback is simply to late
If a business only hears negative feedback AFTER the event, without an immediate opportunity to correct, the feedback value is limited. We have suggested before that social listening by a business has huge flaws if not supplemented by instant on location feedback and alerts.
2) It Takes Time to Analyze and Find Patterns in Responses
When businesses collect feedback using comment cards, surveys, and other review forms, they don’t typically analyze it until they have enough to look for trending insights on areas in which they can improve. And this takes time. Have you ever tried sorting through stacks of comment cards or straining your eyes reading the spreadsheet results of an extensive survey? Furthermore, how many businesses have the skill set to develop a good survey question and then analyze it?
3) Valuable Responses May Not be Received
Many people only take surveys for an incentive like a coupon, which often means they won’t be entirely honest with their feedback. People with an incentive might rush through the survey and not thoroughly think about their responses, ultimately losing value in the input.
Furthermore the business might not receive enough responses. A low number of responses could lead to skewed results.
4) There’s No Real Interaction with the Customer
The most significant difference between traditional feedback programs and those in real-time is the customer’s lack of genuine interaction. Sure, cold-calling meant speaking with someone who bought, and you can ask for an email for a future follow-up, but the interactions can’t be as sincere as with feedback delivered as the service is being experienced.
With the technological revolution, customers can publicly share insights, and businesses can respond publicly. On location feedback programs embedded into a business can help the customer in “real-time.”
What Do We Mean By “Real-Time?”
People can give online ratings on companies through numerous platforms and review sites, including Google, Yelp, Facebook, Twitter, and many others. While the business may be able to respond to those comments, it will always be significantly after the event so not quite as valuable as in real-time. Plus, a potentially lost customer will share their experience with others, further tarnishing your brand particularly if it is about a critical issue. The full process to turn customer feedback into great social media is shown below:
What Are the Benefits of Getting Feedback in Real-Time?
Real-time feedback comes with various benefits and efficiently measures customer feedback and demographics, and helps companies understand connections. These are just a few of the great benefits you can reap with a real-time feedback program.
1) Address Customer Needs Quickly Before it Gets Out of Hand
Real-time feedback allows the business to address customers’ grievances before they go public. Suppose they can efficiently resolve a customer complaint before it hits Yelp, Google or Tripadvisor. In that case, they will save the initial customer’s business and potentially avoid losing other business that a public review would have caused.
You’ll also build loyalty with your customers. A business taking immediate action gives it the chance to make it right with the customer before they leave and defect.
2) Preserve Your Brand Reputation
As stated above, negative reviews posted on social media accounts can have detrimental effects on business and its reputation. A positive review has the opposite effect. Immediate feedback alerts warn of dissatisfied users. Moreover, this type of platform allows the instant fix to the problem before they give a bad review on a poor customer experience. A bad review will cause potential customers to choose a competitor – a business that has a higher star rating and customer reviews showing postive feedback.
It may even satisfy the customer so much that they will write a positive review. The new review will further enhance your brand and invite new customers to look at what you offer. You can also use the feedback you receive to customize your social media. Let people know of things they might’ve missed out on, or assure followers that you’re there for them.
3) Direct Only Happy Customers to Social Media
On location feedback via cell phone, means being able to nudge just the satisfied customers to deliver their positive experience to social media. Unhappy customers are not prompted in this way – rather are contacted directly to fix their issue. This is a big win win, for it means the business benefits from real data and success stories that will influence others and allowing actionable feedback.
Make the Most of Real-Time Feedback
The digital age has provided many opportunities for customers and businesses alike. Real-time feedback from customers allow you to respond immediately. No more comment cards or feedback forms. You’ll be able to fix issues and satisfy customers, before they appear as complaints on Google, Facebook or Yelp.
How to turn customer feedback into great social media? Forget online surveys or post event requests for feedback, but use on location feedback to take action on those who are unhappy, and for those that are satisfied – ask them to give a review online. All done via the cell phone with sensible connections to the social network.