Google makes it official: Customer service matters

For years I have been preaching the gospel of customer service:

Good customer feedback can increase loyalty and revenue.

But it’s easy to ignore this because customer feedback is often fleeting. Many businesses never get enough to make an obvious impact.

When a business lacks a steady flow of useful customer feedback , there are usually two culprits:

1. Customers have no reason to give feedback.

2. Giving feedback is too hard.

The first problem happens because customers have a forgettable experience.  They get what they expected. Or less. They are not thrilled. They are not overwhelmed. They get nothing that is worthy of comment.

However,  many customers get wonderful service from their favorite businesses. They get a friendly smile, a fair price, a knowledgeable employee who looks out for their interests. They get more (often much more) than they expected. And they’d love to tell the world.

But they can’t. At least they can’t do it with any ease or convenience.

Too many businesses (large and small) make this a game their customers can’t win.  They make it so hard or time-consuming to share good feedback that customers give up. Or they don’t even try.

Enter Google.

With their new HotPot service, Google makes customer feedback an easy and seamless part of the customer experience. HotPot combines the well known ingenuity and the massive presence of Google with a fanatically quick and easy way to review the places you do business with.

They have made customer feedback easy and convenient.

Google certainly isn’t the first kid on the block to have a shiny, new customer feedback toy. But it’s likely to be the most important. Because of Google’s influence and resources, HotPot has the potential to reach more people than the rest of its competitors combined.

HotPot is positioned with Google Places as a tool for local businesses to get found and get reviewed by their customers. And, because of Google’s reach in the mobile market, it will be in the hands and pockets and purses of millions of people, not just their desktops.

What does this mean for your business?

If your business serves local customers, it means you now have a tremendous opportunity to connect with them. Google has built a technology bridge between you and your customers. It enables you to communicate with them better than ever before.

It also means customer service matters more than ever. Because how you serve your customers will now be online for everyone to see. Do it well and you’ll attract more. Mess it up and you’ll send them away, possibly forever.

The article was written by Kevin Stirtz