There’s a lot of talk these days of new Web tools that help us communicate with customer better. Websites like Yelp, CitySearch, Google Places and HotPot, Angie’s List and Judy’s Book all provide easy platforms for customers to tell us what they think.
And we should be glad they do.
One of the best ways to attract and keep customers is to give them what they expect and more. When you do this, some of your customers will be thrilled enough to tell others. And most will consider returning, because they know what to expect.
Online review sites and tools simply amplify this effect. They take old fashioned word of mouth and crank it up exponentially. It’s the difference between a string quartet in the park on a sunny summer day and a rollicking Rolling Stones concert at the local sports arena.
A lot more people will hear the ‘Stones than the string quartet.
This new reality is with us to stay. With mobile computers outnumbering desktops, more customers than ever will look to these online review websites when they seek a new restaurant, hotel, store, salon or whatever. And the customer reviews they read on these websites will play a starring role in helping them decide where to do business.
To make sure your business is on the “A” list when it comes to online reviews, here are three things you can do.
1. Let your customers know what to expect
People do business with you for a reason. You help them accomplish (or avoid) something. And you give them a certain experience. If you’re an accountant, maybe you help them minimize their taxes. And you give them peace of mind, so they worry less about a run-in with the IRS. And if you return calls promptly and are knowledgeable, you help them feel good about doing business with you.
This goes to the core of WHY you are in business and HOW you do business. You should be able to communicate this clearly to anyone at any time. When you let people know why they should do business with you, more of them will.
2. Deliver that plus more
This is Customer Service 101, but it still matters. Whatever you tell your customers to expect, you need to deliver it and more. If you deliver less, they’ll feel cheated, or at least disappointed. This is a guaranteed recipe for negative feedback in your online reviews.
But when you deliver everything you promise and more, you give customers plenty of reasons to praise you. You increase the likelihood they will rave about you online, earning you more points in the search engines and in the social media world.
3. Make feedback easy and convenient
This is where the new web tools help. In the past we might have used comment cards or surveys or phone calls. We still can. But it’s better if we let our customers know how easy it is to review our businesses online. This helps because a positive review on Yelp will be there forever. It will keep working for you month after month, year after year.
So find ways to let your customers know how they can offer feedback by using these online review tools. Put signs in your store, on your receipts, on your menus. Make it obvious to them how they can review your business.
When you tell your customers what to expect, give them more and make it easy to offer feedback, you setup a perfect storm for getting positive online reviews. You give your customers a good reason to talk about your business.