The importance of customer feedback cannot be overstated. Customer reviews—especially online reviews that are visible to people searching for products and services—can drive traffic to your website or retail store and grow your small business. Consider this statistic:
97 percent of people use the internet to find out more about local businesses.
By soliciting customer feedback in the form of online reviews, you can be sure that when potential customers search for your business, they are greeted with an abundance of positive reviews that will persuade them to do business with you.
This article will discuss customer feedback in-depth, explaining why it is so vital for small business owners and what you can do to solicit customer feedback that gives your company a glowing online presence.
4 Benefits of Customer Feedback
Here are just a few reasons why it is beneficial to solicit customer feedback regularly.
1. Customer feedback allows you to improve your products and services.
When you bring your product or service to market, you understand your customers’ needs and pain points through market research. However, after your customers use the product or service, they can tell you if you’ve hit the mark and what you can do to improve. With customer feedback, you’ll learn how they use the product/service, how it benefits them, its flaws, and ways to make it better.
2. Customer feedback is a measure of customer satisfaction.
How do you know how well your small business is doing? One way, of course, is by looking at your financial performance. However, you can also get insight from customer feedback. Moreover, if you make it a practice to regularly solicit customer feedback, you’ll be able to identify dips in satisfaction (and fix the problem) before it impacts your bottom line.
3. Customer feedback shows you appreciate and value your customers.
When you ask your customers for feedback about your business, you tell them that their opinion is important to you. You demonstrate that you are a brand with customer needs and satisfaction in mind. You show that you want to build a relationship with them, and you want to work with them to create the best products and services that will help them achieve their goals.
4. Customer feedback helps produce brand advocates.
When you solicit customer feedback, you give customers time to reflect on their experience with your brand, which they may otherwise take for granted. They have time to think about the emotions and specific words they associate with your brand and using your product/service. This trains them to speak about your brand and can help them become brand advocates, sharing their thoughts and emotions with friends and family through recommendations.
3 Benefits of Online Reviews
In its most helpful form, customer feedback happens through an online review that is made public to others who are searching for your business, products, or services. Here’s why it’s beneficial to fill the web with reviews of your small business.
1. Online reviews are free advertising.
Online reviews are customer testimonials, which in a way, are free advertising for your business. There are various review sites, so when people take to the web to review your business, it allows your business name to pop up on multiple websites, thus increasing your exposure.
2. Online reviews are viewed as trustworthy.
Here’s a statistic for you: 79 percent of shoppers say they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Yes! Customer feedback from strangers has a significant impact on new buyers. If your business doesn’t have online reviews, customers may not want to take a chance on you.
3. Online reviews boost search engine results.
A search engine considers how many times your business name is mentioned in reviews. Because when it comes down to it, search engines work on algorithms, which is a numbers game. The more reviews you have, and the more times you are mentioned on various websites, the higher you will appear in search results.
How to Solicit Customer Feedback
Now that you understand how important customer feedback is, especially in online reviews, it’s time to dive into the nitty-gritty. Here we will share eight ways to solicit customer feedback (the right way!).
- In-Person: After your transaction or encounter with a customer, close by asking them to review your business. Be specific – for example, you may ask them to post a review on Google. Train your staff to always ask for reviews too.
- On the Phone: The same strategy can work for phone calls. Near the end of the call, ask the customer to share a review. You may even call past customers specifically for this reason.
- Text Message: If you have the customer’s phone number (and permission to text), send a quick SMS message thanking them for their business and leaving a link to review.
- Email Campaign: Follow-up emails should be a routine practice in every business. Within 48 hours, send a thank you email and a link to write a review.
- Social Media: You can periodically post on your page to ask for customer reviews. You can also solicit customer feedback when you respond to those who tag you (especially those sharing positive experiences) and ask them to share their review on Google.
- Receipts/Invoices: You can encourage more reviews by leaving a link or URL on all receipts and invoices. Train your staff to mention it either in words or by circling/highlighting it before handing it to the customer.
- Surveys: If you are looking for customer feedback that doesn’t have to take the form of an online review, create a survey and email it to your customers.
- Provide the Means: In-person stores can solicit customer feedback by providing the means to give feedback right in the store. Either have paper forms ready or set up an iPad station where people can post an online review before they leave.
Customer Feedback Is Valuable!
Every small business owner should learn how to solicit customer feedback because of the many benefits for growing your brand and attracting new customers. A whopping nine out of ten consumers read reviews before making a purchase! Follow these tips, and you will fill the internet with raving reviews about your business.