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    Is feedback a part of your customer experience?

    There’s a reason why restaurant staff ask about the quality of your meal during and at the end of your visit. It’s so they have the chance to make a less than perfect experience into a positive – or even memorable one. In a competitive market, the cost to acquire new customers is a huge expense, and when trying to maintain repeat business and ongoing profits no one can afford a bad review. In fact, a recent poll showed that restaurants with a rating of under 4.5 stars don’t even get a look-in when people are choosing a new place to dine! Data also indicates that 57% of consumers prefer buying from a business that has at least a 4-star rating. (HubSpot)

    Social proof enhances and grows your online presence. By creating a process to collect constructive comments as part of your customer journey, you’ll have instant insight on how to ramp up those star ratings. The best way to work out when and how to ask is to create a customer journey map.

    Why it matters.

    If you think gaining new leads and customers is a hard and expensive process, the cost of losing one is even more.

    Statistics show that acquiring a new customer is five times more expensive than retaining an existing one. Increasing retention by just 5% can boost profits from 25% to 95% – a significant difference. Overall, selling to retained customers has around a 60-70% success rate; while selling to a new customer is between 5% and 20%.

    Alarmingly, dissatisfied customers typically tell nine to 15 other people about their experience, and some tell 20 or more. That’s the kind of PR you don’t need.

    Testimonials work.

    Take a look at these social proof statistics that show how important and powerful testimonials are:

    • 97% of consumers look at reviews before purchasing.
    • 50% of consumers visit a company’s website after reading a positive review. (HubSpot)
    • Testimonials can increase conversion rates on sales pages by 34%.
    • A single good review can increase conversions by a whopping 10%!
    • Improving star ratings from 3 to 5 increases organic clicks in Google by 25%. (BrightLocal)

    If testimonials and reviews are not currently part of your marketing strategy; they should be. Perhaps the idea of tackling an unsatisfied customer’s poor review is causing you some stress. Here are three steps that will help to implement strategies that work, and nurture a consistent five-star profile from gratified clients.

    Encourage customers to use your website for reviews.

    One. Catch dissatisfied customers before they post online, and do it easily by adding a feedback section on your website. You’ll have a clear path to convert your customer privately and avert any possible disastrous reviews that could seriously affect your business.

    Create a page on your website that allows people to quickly identify how they felt about their experience. Add links to favourable online reviews from clients, and incorporate a way for people to vent any frustrations. A form containing a scale indicating good, neutral or poor will give a clear response that can be addressed by you or a team member. Make room in your business to keep returning customers reassured.

    Two. Follow through. Once you’ve made the final sale, do you follow through to check how everything went and say thank you?

    Whether it’s at the end of the day, week or month, creating a process to thank your customers or clients will make them feel appreciated, and help prompt them to respond authentically. You’ll capture any unhappy customers before the word spreads, and give you an opportunity to grow online reviews and elevate your social proof.

    If your business provides a service like a trade, follow through with a phone call from the office to check that everything went well. Not only will your client feel they matter to you, but they’ll also know their opinion counts. And it does!

    Three, add in the ever-important call to action to get in touch! It’s the most efficient and effective way to gain testimonials and reviews as a part of your customer journey.

    Need proof? In one case study where we incorporated this process, there was an increase of Google review ratings from 4.1 to 4.8 stars within four months. Addressing a less than perfect response and converting it to a positive one, meaning that an unhappy customer was less likely to spread bad news to their standard network of 15-20 people. A very big win for your business reputation.

    Not receiving the kind of feedback you would like? Stay strong, these insights give you a valuable opportunity to improve and provide a better service. Show prospective customers that you’re serious by being helpful, professional and responsive, it makes all the difference to your PR. If people see that you’re open to giving them a positive experience, they’ll make their own judgement. Give your customers what they want and they’ll keep coming back!

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