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Consumers today are shopping for much more than a product or service – they’re shopping for a satisfying customer service experience. Which is where online reviews come in.

Research shows that 79% of customers would take their business to a competitor following a poor experience. In other words, regardless if you have the “best” product or the most “unique” service available, you won’t be making many conversions if you can’t attract or retain customers in the first place. And we can all see how this can quickly escalate into dire consequences for your business.

So how do you provide customers with a more satisfying experience? How do you earn their loyalty for future conversions? And how do you turn them into advocates that will attract new customers?

No one is better qualified to answer those questions than your customers, of course!

Customers want to share their feedback with you. They want to tell you ways you can earn their trust, earn their loyalty, and turn them into advocates for your business. And chances are that you already have a wealth of information available to you. You just need to know where to look.

Online Reviews Consumer Websites

Websites such as Yelp or Google are a great resource for businesses who want to see candid reviews from customers. With over 1.4 million unique visitors each month, Yelp alone can be a great source for customer insights. Unless your business has been around for only a few months, it’s likely that there are a number of reviews about your business already available. If you haven’t begun the process of monitoring these sites, it’s time to start.

Every business should regularly monitor their online reviews. Aside from the immediate benefits of finding out what your business does well and what it needs to improve, it also gives you the opportunity to respond to questions and concerns raised by your customers in a timely fashion. Customers will likely appreciate you taking the time to respond to their feedback and potential customers will also see that you value customer feedback.

Depending on your business, you may also want to become familiar with industry-specific sites such as Zomato or Trip Advisor. When it comes to posting reviews, customers have many options available to them. While it may seem overwhelming to keep up with all of this information, the quality and scope of what you can learn from these sites can be invaluable.

Monitor Social Media

Whether it’s in a public post, a comment left on your page, or a direct message to your business, customers turn to social media each and every day to voice their experiences with your products, services, and business. When it comes to social media, it’s important to keep in mind that customers can still talk about your brand regardless if you have a presence on the platform or not. Has your business explored Pinterest, Instagram or Google+ lately? If not, you’re likely missing out on a number of discussions about your brand.

Properly tracking mentions about your brand across an ever-expanding sea of posts take a significant level of dedication. Aside from the obvious demands of time and effort, this process often requires a degree of familiarity with social media platform you’re tracking information on. Once you begin researching what customers have to say, though, you’ll find that it’s well worth the effort.

Read Discussion Boards

In a bygone era, consumers would turn to their neighbors for their recommendations about a product or service they received. Whether it was a washing machine their neighbors purchased, a grass-cutting service they received, or a wide variety of other commodities, consumers placed a high value on what their neighbors had to say.

Today, that practice is alive and well – albeit in a slightly different way. Discussion boards, such as Reddit, act as hubs of information for consumers who want to ask questions, make recommendations, and share their experiences with their “neighbors” around the world. With 84% of people trusting online reviews as much as a personal recommendation, discussion boards have become a vital asset for consumers. Of course, this also makes discussion boards another source of information for learning what current and potential customers expect from your business.

In Conclusion

Studies show that it takes 12 positive experiences to make up for one unresolved negative experience. With 79% of customers being quick to jump ship after just one poor experience, it’s unlikely that you will even have 12 opportunities before your customers move on to your competitors. In other words, you have to get it “right” the first time. Another thing to take into consideration is to provide poor customer service as JitBit talks about in their 11 Ways Bad Customer Service Is Burning Your Bottom Line post. Taking the time to research what that means for your particular customers will help ensure that you are providing the best service possible.

Have you looked at your reviews lately?

Keeping up with customer feedback, especially if it’s a practice you’re not accustomed to, is both a time-consuming and labor-intensive process for any kind of business. Does that make customer insight any less valuable? Certainly not! webFEAT Complete can provide the social media management and reputation management services you need to stay on top of what customers are saying about your brand. We’re eager to help you retain and attract new customers!

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