We are in a unique situation as a global community. The world has not faced a pandemic in over a decade – but that has now changed with COVID-19. No doubt you and your team are feeling the effects of doubt and uncertainty this situation has created. Here at ReviewTrackers, we are too. We want you to know that above all else, we are here to help support you however we can – we’re just a quick email or phone call away.
These are ever-changing times, and we’re not going to pretend we can predict what’s going to happen next, but in addition to assisting you, we have created a list of quick-reference resources we’ve put together covering some free tools we think may come in handy so that you can maintain a strong online brand presence and business operations during these uncertain times.
Prioritize Your Customers
In times of uncertainty…. loyalty means everything. Prioritize your customer. Those who are customer-obsessed will thrive.
Prioritizing the customer takes form in different ways, and it all starts by keeping your online listings up to date and keeping an open line for communication. Doing so reduces customer stress as they prioritize new daily routines and provides solace with a supportive brand experience during these times.
Here is a quick 5-step checklist you can follow to make sure your online profiles are up to date to reflect any changes in business hours and operations and provides a way to contact you.
Even in these times, customers will still rate and review the goods and services you provide. Once again, communication is key, even if it’s a five-star rating. Over 53% expect a response to their review within seven days so make sure that your team is aware of best practices when responding.
It’s easy to just say “thank you” and move on with each review, but you and your team can take things one step further to show people their review was noticed. Note something specific about their order or ask them to think of you again when they need a similar product or service.
Learning how to respond to negative reviews (or any reviews, for that matter) takes some time and patience. When it comes to negative reviews, it helps to have a calm demeanor before responding and thank them for taking the time to write a review. Sympathize with their complaint and try to find a way to resolve the issue. A carefully-written response to negative feedback shows that you care about the satisfaction of every customer.
Finding the right words to say to a positive or negative review can be difficult. To get the ball rolling, here is a free, easy-to-use review template that any business can download and tweak to meet the needs of their valuable customer base.
Reviews are one of your best business tools because of their high value as social proof, and 92% of consumers use reviews to guide their purchase decisions. Asking recent customers for reviews not only helps your online presence, it tells other consumers that people continue to use and trust your brand. (A note: while Google is slowly restoring review functionality, you can use these tips for the future, as well as for other review platforms and for your own website).
Based on our research, the best times to begin asking for reviews from customers is around 2-3 p.m. or 6-7 p.m because this is usually when they’re settled and thinking about their recent experience with you.
Fortunately, digital innovations make it easy for you to ask for reviews. The most popular way to send requests is through email or a tool like the Ask Tool. Another option is to send them a message via text/SMS. In both cases, keep your requests short and personalized. People want to leave feedback, but not if it drastically interferes with their daily lives. The message should be direct and empathetic such as:
“We know times are tough, and thanks for choosing us. Can you tell us how we did today so that we can improve tomorrow?”
By keeping it short and sweet, your customers will appreciate the message while also giving your team the feedback you need to improve the experience and cultivate loyal fans.
To make the review request process easier for you we provided a handy downloadable template full of different ways to ask people for their feedback across any industry or platform.
Ask For Feedback
Reviews aren’t just useful for your future customers; they’re also beneficial to finding ways to improve your team’s operations and communication efforts, both of which are essential to building your online presence, especially in uncertain times.
For instance, closely monitoring negative reviews can yield valuable insights. Specific phrases or keywords that appear in these reviews can reveal a pain point in the operation, and asking the right questions to customers can further pinpoint the issue. You should also implement negative feedback as part of your customer feedback system, which should yield more than enough information to make operational changes.
Breaking Down First Vs Third Party Feedback
Specifically, brands should gather both first and third party reviews on their websites. Both provide valuable operational insights, improve brand trust, and are the social proof needed for prospective customers to convert. However, both review types also have their own unique benefits to any business as evidenced by the infographic below.
There are plenty of industry-specific third party review sites for every business that carry weight when customers visit them for reviews. Displaying those sources, in addition to first party reviews, can increase exposure and bring more customers to any brand.
Tips for Gaining and Implementing Feedback
- Find the most valuable channels to gain customer feedback you can use to adapt your operations. Read more
- Ask customers these questions to get insights that will help you quickly improve products and services. Read more
Social media is also another effective tool to reach people. Your social team can use it to showcase rave reviews from loyal customers, which serves as another piece of great social proof. However, it’s also important to use social media to comfort and inspire people during this time. Showing your team’s perseverance to provide and please customers in times of need not only helps your online presence but also increases loyal customers and attracts new business.
Here are some posts that highlight ways to take advantage of these channels to make sure you are doing everything you can to communicate with customers, ask for/implement feedback to improve evolving operations, and set your business up to hit the ground running once things settle down.
Tips for Utilizing Social Media
- Get a quick overview of how to use social media to connect to customers and engage your community. Read more
- Engage your healthcare community and navigate tricky social media best practices in a regulated industry. Read more
- Help your restaurant social media profiles stand out online with these content level-up tips. Read more
- Check out General Motors’ example of using customer listening to amplify the customer experience in any industry. Read more
- Apply simple tips for leveraging social proof to create loyal customers. Read more
Turn Customers into Advocates
Through the integration of customer feedback and audience engagement tactics on social media, you will be able to effectively turn your customers into advocates. Research shows 67% of consumers say a good customer service interaction changed their future buying behavior by recommending the product or service they experienced to others, which aligns with a famous Maya Angelou quote: “People will forget the things you do and people will forget the thing you say, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
For more information, download this quick-reference mini guide on 4 tips for turning customers into advocates.