It would be difficult to understate the impact that the sudden rise of the social internet has had on our collective lifestyle and how loudly it has amplified the voice of the customer. As global peer-to-peer communication infiltrates every corner of our world, it has become less like a landscape dotted with large, isolated cities and more like an old-fashioned village.
If a traveler from New England suffered a breakdown in Denver, she might have once simply called the first mechanic in the phone book. Now, as if by magic, she can conjure up lists of the most respected mechanics in town. She can get advice from Denver residents and shop like a local.
What was once called “word of mouth” is now digital, and it’s more influential than ever. Everyone knows everyone else’s business. Including yours. If you interface with your customers at all – and, let’s face it, you practically have to – loyalty marketing isn’t just a nice add-on. It’s essential.
There has been no better time to be a consumer. When browsing for products, we were once forced to make do with promotional ad copy. Not anymore. Today, if we’re interested in something, we can easily find customer feedback on it across the spectrum, and tap into the voice of the customer nearly in real time.
Customer feedback builds trust with new and potential customers. According to recent statistics, 82 percent of consumers trust user-generated reviews. And, contrary to pessimism, they don’t want only the bad news.
75 percent of customer feedback posted on review sites is positive.
This positive customer feedback generates trust that no ad agency can provide. Customer feedback tells you, in your customers’ own words, what you’re doing right.
Although they can be frightening in the short run, negative or critical customer reviews can be even more healthy for the growth of a business. Taking a cue from the startup world, even the largest corporations have tuned in to the voice of the consumer and are able to reach out to dissatisfied consumers, adjust their practices in real time, and become more valuable and trusted members of their communities, simply by paying attention and observing the laws of loyalty marketing.
The voice of the customer will only gain more leverage with time. If it’s out there, your prospects will find it. To ignore it is to amplify it. Cultivate the ability to address customer feedback proactively, and it bodes well for your future success.
Despite the power of large review sites such as Yelp and Amazon, there is no central hub for customer reviews. Google, Twitter, Youtube, niche message boards, and even company websites themselves are all burgeoning venues for loyalty marketing.
It would be easier to have it all in one place. The challenges of keeping up with it are daunting and have created new demands in the business world.
But that is no excuse to let the voice of the customer go unheard. Through the filter of loyalty marketing, customer feedback creates powerful metrics that can alert you to issues as they arise, brings you closer to your community than ever before, and gives you unprecedented power for future growth.
Tune in to the voice of the consumer today.