45 percent of customers say they’re more likely to visit businesses that respond to their reviewsOnline Reviews Survey
Between customer acquisition and customer retention, which is more valuable?
You could say that both are equally important because retention happens after the acquisition. The customer is at the core of any business. Therefore, brand loyalty is an essential factor.
Brand loyalty leads to higher customer retention and brand evangelism, which then creates brand advocates, leading to better growth for any business. But achieving brand loyalty is impossible unless you can effectively get through to your customers.
Here are a few ways you can engage with customers in ways that will benefit your acquisition and retention efforts, drive customer loyalty, and activate brand advocates.
Respond to Negative Reviews
With businesses going online, there are more channels than ever for customers to leave online reviews and share their feedback. Sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor, Citysearch, Google, and even Facebook (via Facebook Reviews) have become popular online platforms for the Voice of the Customer.
Reviews are the new personal recommendations, the new social proof, and the new word of mouth. People rely on them to guide their purchase decisions.
- Approximately 4 in 5 American consumers read online reviews before making a purchase decision. 79 percent do so to make sure the product or service is good, 61 percent read reviews to make sure the product or service works, and 53 percent read reviews to make sure that they don’t get ripped off. (YouGov)
- A strong positive review can sway a consumer to pay nearly 9 percent more for a product or service. (ShareThis / Paley Center for Media)
- 57 percent of consumers will avoid a business that has negative reviews and ratings. (Modern Comment)
- 51.7 percent of customers who post online reviews or feedback expect a response in seven days or less. (ReviewTrackers)
Your business growth depends heavily on how well you manage online reviews and handle negative feedback. Never be rude, careless, boastful, or hot-tempered when responding to your customers. When responding to negative reviews, stay cool, calm, and collected. At the end of the day, how your business responds to customer feedback can make a greater impact on your reputation than what’s being said by your customers in the first place.
Perform Customer Feedback Surveys
Customer feedback surveys help you collect important data and feedback, as well as demonstrate that your business cares about customers. Through customer feedback surveys, you can:
- Find out what customers really think and how they really feel about your company
- Achieve a more accurate and complete understanding of the customer experience
- Identify, manage, and resolve any high-impact issues and weaknesses
- Evaluate loyalty and satisfaction
- Identify brand advocates and promoters who are likely to recommend you to others
- Gain valuable insights essential to improving your product or service
Performing surveys can also make customers feel like they’re an inclusive part of your business, which is integral to driving loyalty.
Claim Your Google My Business Listing
Apart from being a search engine giant, Google is also one of the most important business discovery platforms and review websites today, thanks in major part to products like Google Search and Google Maps.
Simply put: your customers use Google in order to find great local businesses.
A claimed and verified Google My Business (GMB) listing improves your local search authority and visibility. Your verified listing also enables customers to leave online reviews and valuable feedback on Google, creating structured opportunities for you to build and retain a community of loyal customers.
Build and Grow a Facebook Community
Facebook is one of the most powerful social media platforms for building and engaging with an online community.
Create a business group there and connect with the customers. You can build a Facebook community for all the social media followers and customers. Choose to keep the group either private or public, and an essential element is to keep the group active. Keep in mind, though, that Facebook is not the place to pitch shamelessly; the agenda is to create a flourishing community, not to promote or generate sales.
Reward the Customer
Why should a customer become your brand advocate? What’s in it for the customer?
Brand evangelism should be a win-win relationship. To propel your customer relationships in the right direction, you need to reward the customers with discounts and gift cards, to name a few. You can offer cash back on purchases or a certain commission for referrals. Encourage the brand advocates to participate in community discussions and promote them to become community managers.