Many agree the customer experience is everything. When a product or service exceeds expectations, we often share a positive sentiment with others about the company.
For marketers, this is the most prized form of advertising, as word of mouth carries a degree of trust along with it. But it isn’t a campaign you buy into, it’s earned.
“70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated.”
With the modern consumer, their journey often begins online. Either they’ve heard of a product or service of interest, or they’re in research mode for something they’re considering. It might be lunch, shoes, or something else, but most go online as the start of their customer journey.
Over half of search is now related to local, and 97% of consumers use internet when researching local products/services (BIA/Kelsey) to get answers. Once the consumer starts their quest, it’s often Google My Business, Yelp and online reviews that dominate the search results.
There’s a disconnect or short sightedness for some about how customer service can benefit a business. It’s clear that it can create word of mouth referrals, and there’s an additional opportunity to be had that helps to increase visibility and drive sales.
When you have a happy customer, it’s an opportunity for businesses to develop a relation, and also to ask for a review so that other consumers are able to discover local options to fill their need. About 9 out of 10 trust reviews as much as personal recommendations.
By asking those customers to provide a review, your visibility increases, which will bring more customers to your business. This provides another opportunity to exceed their expectations and ask for additional referrals, so that others can discover you and send business your way. It becomes a cycle that you can grow, scale and manage, with a direct impact on revenue.
As you build more momentum and continue to get more reviews the benefits become obvious, while growing through word of mouth, reviews and local search and improve your marketing efforts.
The customer experience is the starting point of a strategy towards earning mentions and referrals, with online reviews extending the reach, along with sharing on social media.
Aligning the customer experience with their journey helps to address their needs, build a relationship and eventually solidifying a sale.
Not only does this help differentiate your brand, it creates an enormous opportunity that isn’t easily replicated by competitors. About 86% of buyers say that will pay more for a better customer experience, but only 1% of customers feel that businesses meet their expectations.
If you’re not managing your reviews and reputation, to say this is foolish is an understatement. Considering most consumers looking for solutions online are influenced by reviews and results, then ensuring your business appears in a positive light is not only an obvious marketing channel, but also a revenue stream. But if it isn’t managed, it’s a missed opportunity.
About 87% of people say that a business needs a rating of 3-5 stars before they will use them, and 68% say positive reviews make them trust a local business more.
With insight like this, it’s easy to see the larger picture for how online reviews and customer experience can work together to improve your business and increase your sales.