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 may think your business is meeting the needs of your customers, they may not think so. while 75% of companies believe they are customer-centric, around 30% of customers agree. that means you could be doing more to provide great 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 an opportunity 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 are doing well
The term “customer service” can make you think of negative reviews or dealing with angry customers. But that is not all! 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 bad experience with a company. You want to air your experience, warn other customers about this company, or simply solve your problem. By 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 business is doing right.
When someone leaves you a stellar review, you can get a lot of useful information out of it. perhaps it was a particular product or employee that made your experience memorable. and if you get multiple positive reviews, you can start to spot trends. Are there specific employees who go above and beyond with customer service? What products or price points do customers seem to be most satisfied with? Do customers praise the quality of what you sell, how you respond to reviews, or how you communicate with them in general?
2. know what you need to modify
When you use customer reviews to identify what you’re doing right, it can lessen the pain of learning what you need to do better. remember that a negative customer review does not necessarily mean that you have done something wrong or that you have lost a customer forever. see it as an opportunity to improve.
For example, let’s say a clothing brand has received many 2- and 3-star reviews online. They are not 1 star reviews, which would normally get the staff’s attention right away. all these reviews are saying similar things like, “this shirt fits me and looks good but the color is way off from what it appears online! I wish I knew that before I bought it.” most of the customers who bought the shirt returned it because it was not what they expected. in this case, it was not your product that was the problem, but your website. or the way you photographed your product. or the way the photo was edited.
3. trace trends and identify opportunities
As you begin to collect and respond to reviews, you may start to notice patterns in what your customers are saying. Perhaps most of the positive reviews from her customers are about shipping: her rates are kept low, things arrive on time, and if what they buy arrives damaged, she quickly replaces it. that’s great. by comparison, most of their negative customer reviews are about a specific line of faulty products or clunky website design. or they come from customers who had a small problem that was never addressed by someone from your company to resolve it. these types of reviews should be responded to and the issue should be fixed immediately.
whatever the case, take a look at their feedback and start doing something about it. find out who and what needs to be involved to solve the problem and develop an action plan. Don’t forget to respond to 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. reassure them that their feedback helped them identify a problem and that it is being fixed. if necessary, disconnect the discussion. for positive reviews, at the very least, thank them for taking the time to leave a review.
4. encourage customer feedback
Do you feel 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 surveys by email. send follow-up emails after a customer buys something from you. Stay active on social media. the more you encourage feedback from your customers across different channels, the more you can use reviews to improve your customer service.
See also: Reviews FAQ – Caring.com