Customer feedback in the form of reviews has become an extremely valuable asset for the success of your business. Encouraging and harvesting customer feedback should be an integrated part of any corporate communication strategy.
No matter if it’s positive or negative, customer feedback can be turned into a driving force for business development, content marketing, and even for your ranking in the search engines. A systematic process for collecting and handling customer feedback will provide you with the most valuable information for your internal and external communication.
Customer feedback provides you with invaluable data for your corporate communication
Above all, customer feedback contains content that might just be considered a virtual treasure trove of information for your company. It helps you to best understand how happy your clients and customers are with your products or services. Positive feedback also helps you understand those things which your customers particularly like about your company. More importantly, complaints show what you can improve and turn into further develop your products and services. They also provide ideas for valuable content to use in your marketing and your social media strategy.
If you set up processes to encourage, harvest, and process your customer feedback you will be able to turn your customers into consultants, partners, and an engaged community. If you encourage your customers to leave feedback, review your products, or get in touch with you directly to share their opinion, you can turn this feedback into valuable parameters to optimize your products as well as your services.
Why reviews are important
One of the most essential kinds of customer feedback is reviews and ratings on your company or your products. Product reviews, ratings, or testimonials can be a strong marketing and sales tool.
In order to get good reviews and ratings, naturally, you have to offer products and services that will ensure a great customer experience.
However, no product and no service can be 100% perfect all the time. But even if a product or service does not deliver as expected, you will still be able to provide professional customer service. Great customer service can even turn annoyed customers into avid fans of your brand.
If you make sure that your business policy puts your customers first and if you train your staff to handle the customer feedback in a professional way on all touchpoints, your customers will value that.
6 Strategies for corporate communication to encourage customer feedback
1. Provide multiple options for your customers to leave feedback
If you want to encourage customers to leave feedback, reviews, and ratings, provide multiple places for your clients to get in touch with you and to review your business and products.
First of all your website. Make sure to provide options for your customers to get directly in touch with you, like email or chat. This prevents unhappy customers from turning to public channels to let out anger and frustration.
However, with reviews on third-party platforms, you will reach more people to know about your service and products. There are many trusted third-party platforms. Make sure your business is registered and up-to-date on these platforms. For example Trustpilot, Google My Business, Facebook Capterra, Business, Golocal, Yelp, G2Crowd, depending on your industry and the products or services you offer.
And don’t forget to make your social media channels. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram should be easily accessible for your customers to reach out with comments and questions if these are their preferred communication channels.
2. Ask your customers for feedback
The most obvious way to get feedback or a review is by asking them to do so via email. However, make sure you prompt at the right time. This very much depends on the products or services you offer. You should give your customers some time to engage with your product or service. However, the purchase should be still on their minds.
Other options to collect customer feedback is:
- Review buttons on your website
- Call-for-reviews on invoices or receipts you use for corresponding and communication.
- Adding feedback links in your emails as well as your newsletters.
When asking for a review, always make sure to direct your customers on the right path. Catching a complaint, before a customer leaves it on a public platform will save you from jeopardizing your reputation and downgrading your rating. Let your customers know where they can turn to with any issue they might have, before stating their opinion publicly. For example, ask them for a positive review, if they are happy with your service or otherwise to contact you directly with any issue they might have via email or chat.
To encourage your customers to leave positive feedback, show them how much you appreciate their feedback.
For example by offering bonus points for a customer loyalty program, a discount for their next purchase, an attractive price, or award to win.
However, you can encourage your customers, but never offer a real payment for leaving a positive review or a fake review.
Other options to encourage customer feedback are customer referral programs or contests for user-generated content (UGC).
3. Promote your best ratings and testimonials
Handling positive feedback is easy. However, it should not be taken for granted. Always say thanks to your fans, engage with them, and check, if you can make more out of their feedback, for example, a personal testimonial for your website or a case study.
A case study from an influential customer in a specific industry can have a tremendous impact on other customers in this industry and it will add valuable content for your marketing and PR strategy.
Show off your best testimonials on your front page and within your sales process, for example:
Dedicate a special page on your website to display your best reviews, ratings, and testimonials, for example:
Add a strong call-for-reviews button or widget on this page to collect even more positive reviews.
Promote your raving fans
Whether you received a glowing review, or a case study, present your best testimonials with the name and brand of your reviewers on your website or on your corporate blog, in press releases, in your newsletters and emails, and even cross-promote them on all of your social media networks.
Most fans will be flattered when getting promotion from you, for example:
Send a general “thank you” to all your customers and fans from time to time by highlighting one of your best reviews. This will encourage more customers to leave positive reviews, for example:
4. Reply with empathy to negative feedback
Responding to your customers’ reviews is an important way to show to your customers that you care about their opinion, no matter if it’s good or bad.
However, handling negative feedback needs a decisive strategy. Ignoring unhappy customers will not help to ease the pain.
Always say thanks to your customers even if they give negative feedback and apologize honestly for the bad customer experience. A response which displays empathy will help calm down angry customers and soothe even the most aggressive of complainers.
Negative feedback can be a real treasure trove for your business. Try to get as much information from your complainers as you can. Take complaints as a chance to be educated by your clients. If you show that you truly care about their opinion and take an interest in what they have to say they will value that.
Responding to negative reviews on third-party platforms can have a strong influence on new customers. According to Bazaarvoice’s research 71% of potential customers actually changed their perception of the brand after seeing them publicly respond to a review that was negative. Potential customers who actually see a company respond directly to negative reviews reported an increase of 116% in purchase intent.
If the complaint is justified or if you see similar complaints from other customers, assure your unhappy customers of your commitment to fixing the issues they raised. If you involve your clients in the process of solving the issue they might even feel flattered if they can contribute with their experience and expertise.
If you are unable to solve the problem, a generous amendment can ease the pain, for example, a replacement, an upgrade, a refund, or a discount on their next purchase.
Professional handling of complaints or compensations can turn disappointed customers into raving fans.
Our experience is that complainers eventually edited their negative reviews or raised a 1-star rating to 5 stars after the problem was solved.
5. Turn your customer support into a valuable marketing resource
The premier place for processing customer feedback is your support or customer service team. Training your customer service staff well for handling feedback and complaints in a coordinated and professional way helps you to govern the customer experience on all touchpoints.
Set up a process in which you are certain to ask the customer for a hopefully positive review when service or a support case is complete. If your employees asks the customer directly for a good rating, this will delegate additional responsibility to your own employees for providing a great customer experience. It will also strengthen a personal connection with your company.
A personal request also gives the customer another reason to leave feedback. A positive customer experience provided by your employee will encourage and increase the chances of that customer leaving a positive review.
Use your support database for content marketing
Helping your customers with troubleshooting is one thing, but very often these solutions are hidden in support databases or they are even not saved anywhere but in the heads of your support staff. Once, the information is sent to the customer it will vanish in emails, phone protocols, or chat.
By involving your support staff to collect the most frequently asked questions and solutions for the most common issues, you can set up an FAQ section or troubleshooting page available to every new customer. This will enable your customers to easily find solutions for known problems and common issues they may come across before they even turn up in your customer service.
Collecting the pains and issues of your customer will also provide you with ideas for your content strategy. Complaints reveal the issues and challenges your customers are struggling with. If you listen to your customers you can generate the content your customers and targets are really looking for. Guidelines and tutorials, solutions for common issues, and answers to frequently asked questions will serve as a valuable resource for your customers as well as for your targets. These contents will enhance the overall customer experience and it will also strengthen your reputation as an expert in your industry or niche. Repurpose these contents for cross-promoting them on all your social media and marketing channels to reach out to your customers as well as to your targets.
Content generated from customer feedback can also boost your ranking in the search engines. When you provide valuable solutions for common issues and answers to frequently asked questions these contents will likely turn up whenever a user enters these questions in the search engines.
Testimonials and positive reviews are tremendously important to create trust and credibility in your business or brand. To ensure great customer experience you will need a quality brand and a compelling service. With a decisive strategy for handling customer feedback, you will be able to encourage and steer reviews and ratings in the right direction.
Hero photo by henry perks on Unsplash