Turning customer feedback into a marketing tool

Social media continues to have an increasing impact on businesses around the world. The number of social media users grows each year; 40% of the world’s population are active on social media for almost two hours a day. With such a vast audience and a stronger need for businesses to be digital and modern, companies need to be able to utilise customer feedback online. One of the primary methods of consumer interaction with businesses online is in the form of reviews.

Online reviews have the power to sway people’s opinions before they have even interacted with a business.  For example, a consumer viewing a hotel’s website that has a poor rating may be inclined to look elsewhere. According to BrightLocal’s consumer review survey, consumers read an average of ten online reviews before they can trust a business. Finding ways in which one can utilise the review system for promotion and return business is a handy tool that any company can have.

One priority is ensuring that customers have positive interactions with one's business—in-store or online. There is no chance that positive reviews will come if people do not have good experiences. An inward look at how the company is operating, and how the day-to-day interactions digress is the first port of call. If positive interactions are happening, one must encourage consumers to go public with their satisfying experiences. There are multiple ways in which customers can be encouraged to do this. Some of these include directing customers to review sites, a note on physical receipts, a business card, a direct link to a review survey following an online purchase—the possibilities are abundant. Furthermore, if there is an incentive for customers to post something, there is an increased likelihood that they will make their opinion known. Other ways in which consumers will be encouraged to leave feedback online is if the business has a strong online presence. This means replying to all feedback, positive and negative, posting across a variety of social media platforms regularly, and maintaining an easy to navigate and user-friendly website. All these things can be done relatively easily; it’s about maintenance and dedication. People will appreciate genuine interaction and chances are, spread the word if nudged in the right direction.

Perhaps the most crucial part of consumer interaction is making sure that other customers know about the positive experience your business offers. Taking customer feedback and using it as advertising is a good way in which you will motivate new customers to trust your business. Using punchy quotes from real people is one way that will generate responses. If someone has posted their appreciation online, asking them if you can use it for advertising purposes is an excellent way to form connections. First of all, this is likely to flatter to the person who left the positive feedback— “My feedback is making a positive impact,” and, using a real person’s feedback shows a genuine appreciation of consumer-supplier relations. The more your business can come across as relatable and friendly, the more likely it is that consumers will want to leave feedback and share their experiences with their friends and family. Keeping the messages short, using images, and having credibility for sources are all critical factors in these reviews, something that can be achieved with the right social media presence.

Growing an audience can be a daunting task for all businesses. Social media presence is something that can be very effective in the right hands. It is also something that can be relatively simple to maintain. Connecting with consumers is the best way in which businesses can continue to grow and keep recurring customers. Sharing real feedback, and encouraging consumers to interact with the company online is a great way to share a message to a broad audience and gain their trust.