From the consumer’s side of things, being able to interact online and to voice an opinion with some degree of anonymity is the best that it can be. The customer can say whatever they wish without any consequence. It is a wonderful situation for that person.
Benefiting from the freedom of the InternetAs much as customers benefit from the freedom that they now have because of the Internet, on the other side, marketers can derive a great deal of benefit as well. Marketers can learn a lot and achieve positive results in the same environment. As a business person, it is very important for you to recognize that online feedback is the pearl in the oyster! The feedback teaches you that what you are doing is beneficial or it is not. The feedback steers you in the best possible direction and allows you to understand where you went wrong, if you did. In short, it allows you the opportunity to improve upon what you have already shared and gives you the opportunity to do it better the next time around. It absolutely behooves you and your business to pay close attention to the online reviews that other people are taking the time and making the effort to post for your benefit.
If you and your business are not taking advantage of online reviews yet, there are a few things that you can do to get started. You will see before too long that it is more than worth the effort to take those reviews seriously.
- Don’t be afraid of negative reviews: When it comes to sharing online reviews for your business and your brand, you shouldn’t be afraid to embrace the negative ones. In fact, you will see, in many cases, that you learn more and you benefit more from the negative than the positive reviews. The negative reviews will force you to really look carefully at what you are doing. Although the positive reviews will make you feel really good about what you are accomplishing, they generally will not help you to advance and to improve your products and/or services. If you happen to be in charge of choosing to post the reviews that you feel are deserving and that should be shared with other people online, you should weigh which reviews should be posted. If a particular review doesn’t really do anything, you may want to consider omitting it.
- Put your customer review form in a strategic place: When you are deciding where to place your customer review form, you should think about the impact that it will have on your customers online as well as the perception that is created by the placement of that form. One of your principle objectives is to make sure that you appear to have integrity and credibility. If you place your form at checkout, you will create that perception. It is very important that your customers consider that you are genuine, you really want to know what they think, and that you are relying on them to help improve upon what you have offered up to that point. Another strategic place for the form is on the About Us page.
- Don’t ignore negative feedback: It is very important that you not only don’t ignore negative feedback but that you incorporate it into your communications with other people online. Additionally, you should respond privately to the person who has written negative feedback and let that person know how much you want to address and solve the problem that has been brought to light. If you do that, you will be connecting with the other person on an emotional level and you will be able to establish a relationship with that person. If you think about it for a second, that has been one of your main goals since you started your business. In general, no business can just sit back after presenting the original offerings. There is a constant need to improve upon what has already been offered. That is the only way to continued, increasing success.
- Connect with your customers in a human way: Your communications with the other people should be as personal as possible without losing the professional connection. Human beings connect with each other with feelings. You must remember to connect with them as people before you can consider establishing any other sort of connection with them. Of course, you must establish a relationship with the other person in order for you to do business with him or her but the feelings must come first. When it comes to receiving feedback from the other person, you should treat that feedback as personally as you can. After all, it is based on the feelings and the reaction that the other person has to something that you have shared. It is definitely to your benefit to do so.
- Connect with review websites and social media channels: It is one thing to receive feedback directly from your customers and prospective customers. It is another thing entirely to receive feedback from third parties. You may be able to learn even more if you don’t have a personal connection with the person who is leaving the feedback. If you do that, it gives other people the perception that all you care about is improving your offerings and providing a better product and/or service. It will shoot your credibility rating to the stars. Don’t be surprised if your traffic increases exponentially after that.
ConclusionOnline feedback is essential to your professional success. Of course, that means that you will need to deal with both positive and negative feedback. Online reviews probably have a greater impact on brands that are not so solid. Those reviews can really make a dramatic difference. Neither positive or negative reviews are bad. Just remember that you stand to learn a great deal from what you may perceive as negative. If you look at it that way, it won’t be painful and you won’t try to avoid it. However, online reviews will only strengthen who you are and what you represent. You will see that embracing the feedback and what you can get from it will be the way to go.