Don’t Run from Customer Reviews


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Social media has elevated the power of customer reviews to a whole new level.

In digital world, thoughts and opinions are processed at lightning speed, so with the very real possibility of a customer’s negative experience going viral, businesses are making exceptional (and proactive) customer service an operational necessity.

The combination of advancing mobile technology and social media has businesses enlisting employees to monitor their brands and listen for signs of discontent, according to Consumer Reports Senior Editor Tod Marks.

Don’t Ignore Negativity

Being in business today means knowing what people are saying about you and preparing for all kinds of possible problems in order to take action and extinguish negative discussions before something goes viral.

The Marketing Zen Group CEO Shama Kabani says engaging with online critics and poor reviews is an opportunity to engage constructively with consumers and the public. He explains that people are looking for sincerity and understanding and a business’s thoughtful response to even harsh criticism makes it a more personal experience; it’s humanizing.

A polite reply, a sincere acknowledgement of the problem and a clear appreciation for the customer’s business are crucial pieces to maintaining a good rep after a poor review. Kabani reminds people that negative comments and complaints are actually opportunities to highlight your business offerings and solutions while engaging the audience and providing solutions.

Keep an Eye on Big Retailers

Retailers must pay attention to customer service, as the power of customer reviews is nothing to take lightly and major retailers face serious backlash if problematic customer service and quality issues go unacknowledged.

Lululemon Athletica

Yoga-wear retailer Lululemon has wrestled with this for several years on various fronts, from investigations into claims of whether or not there was seaweed in its line of seaweed fabric to too-thin fabric that raised quality and fashion concerns.

So to combat the negativity, Lululemon opened a dialog with customers on its website to offer proactive information and resolution suggestions, explaining its commitment to making it right with a recall of affected clothing.

Best Buy

Best Buy takes customer reviews and customer behavior seriously and uses the insight to improve business on several levels. Scott Durchslag, Best Buy’s E-Commerce & Marketing president, made some key changes in response to customer discussions and reviews to improve service and consumer experience.

The big box retailer is cutting marketing spending to move away from TV and focus efforts online with targeted email campaigns to personalize the customer relationship. Best Buy plans to expand its interactive reviews through a mix of expert reviews, crowdsourced reviews and traditional reviews, and sees Twitter as important in this process, says Durchslag.

Oriental Trading

Oriental Trading specializes in party supplies and novelties and uses customer reviews to make positive changes to its products through, a service that enables businesses to proactively manage the customer review process with responses to consumers via social media.

Bazaarvoice services help businesses connect with customers by encouraging reviews, questions and stories and curate reviews.

Respond to customers ASAP

Everyone knows how fast an angry rant can be posted, seen, liked and shared; they also know that once it’s there, it’s there.

If you’re faced with a negative review, the best move is to immediately open the doors of communication and apologize whether via social network, email or personal phone call. Then, do something to make it right; offering a refund, store credit or coupon is usually well received.

If you want to go a little more outside-the-box, sending a gift basket of just about anything (food, flowers, clothing, chocolate, etc.) to a customer who’s had a disappointing experience is a personal way to send apologies and show appreciation.

Doing something special, outside of the normal business interaction shows the business cares about providing the very best customer service experience and does wonders to create and maintain a positive reputation with customers.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Flavio Martins
Flavio Martins is the VP of Operations and Customer Support at DigiCert, Inc., a leading provider of enterprise authentication services and high-assurance SSL certificates trusted by thousands of government, education, and Fortune 500 organizations. Flavio is an award-winning customer service blogger, customer service fanatic, and on a mission to show that organizations can use customer experience as a competitive advantage win customer loyalty. Blog: Win the Customer!


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