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Customer Feedback

In today’s age when customers can quickly become online critics, we applaud business owners who understand the value of collecting and listening to customer feedback. Sure, it can be scary to think that customers would have something negative to say about their experiences, but feedback is a great tool and can go a long way in helping local business owners gain an advantage over the competition.

Obviously, feedback comes in many forms, but today we’d like to focus on two ways that you can listen in to what your customers really think: online reviews and surveys. 

(Check out: “Need Feedback? Here’s a List of 6 Terrific Online Survey Tools for SMBs”) 

We understand that many business owners prefer surveys, just so they can keep all customer feedback internally. And they steer away from encouraging customers to post online reviews for fear of these reviews being bad. Sometimes, though, customer feedback that’s kept internally may not have the same impact as feedback that’s generated and published online. Indeed, there are tremendous benefits to having an active online review community – of getting your happiest customers to post public reviews and ratings of your business on sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor, Google, and Facebook Reviews, among others. Here are some of them:

Reviews are great for local search. This means that reviews can help people find your business more easily whenever they search for information online. By asking your happy customers to publicly share their positive experience across online review sites, you’ll be better able to provide consistent and relevant content for both search engines and potential customers to learn more about your business other than what they can already find on your website or paid advertising efforts.

(Check out: “Ethical Ways to Generate More Positve Online Reviews”)

Unlike surveys, reviews can actually boost your SEO performance. Don’t get us wrong: customer surveys are great for generating feedback. But reviews can hit two birds with one stone because they can boost your SEO (search engine optimization) performance. Active review profiles that are consistently updated with new reviews (even if some of these are negative reviews) can significantly boost your local business’ search rankings on Google and review sites, which can then result in driving more awareness among potential customers.

High ratings and positive reviews can boost sales. Not only do reviews help you gain higher visibility; they also have a direct impact on the bottom line. According to a Harvard Business School study, a one-star rating increase (on online review site Yelp) can boost your local business’ revenues by 5 to 9 percent. Don’t miss out on these opportunities! 

Reviews help you gain credibility. If you are active in managing reviews (responding to, analyzing, and generating new reviews), people will see that your business truly values customer feedback. They’ll see you as more trustworthy, and you’ll gain more credibility in the eyes of review readers.

Consumers trust user-generated reviews. Internally kept results of customer surveys won’t be seen by anyone, whereas reviews can serve as effective marketing tools when leveraged properly. In fact, according to a study by Forrester Research, consumer trust in online reviews is on the rise. They even trust reviews more than natural search engine results, advertisements, and direct marketing messages.

Generating feedback in the form of new reviews mitigates the effect of negative reviews. Genuine online reviews tend to steer in the negative direction, but you can minimize the impact of this by driving your happy customers to share their positive experience online – instead of simply answering surveys.

Meanwhile, if you’re looking for a great tool to help you monitor and manage online reviews across all major review sites, give ReviewTrackers a try. Our award-winning software platform is designed to serve the needs of business owners in multiple sectors and industries.

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Crystal Shuller

Crystal is the Director of Customer Happiness for ReviewTrackers. She's known around the office for E-mails that make everyone smile, and she has a bag of tricks and tips to help businesses solve their problems and delight their customers.

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