Elevate Your Business: Tap into Consumer Sentiment for Growth

Shelby Schaefer

In a world where consumers have multiple platforms to voice their opinions, businesses face a daunting challenge. Feedback is fragmented, the consumer journey is ever-changing, data is siloed, and there’s often a lack of internal alignment. Navigating this complex landscape to truly understand and respond to your consumers has never been harder.

The digital age we are living in means consumers expect a personalized experience from the first touch point all the way through to advocacy. If you don’t connect the dots between your consumer’s first interaction – your online reputation to the rest of the consumer journey, you risk failing to address severe gaps in the consumer journey.

This proves to be challenging for teams who aren’t willing to adapt, because to truly understand consumer sentiment means you must go beyond asking questions once your prospects become consumers. To get the holistic view of your consumers you must look and begin looking at what consumers are saying about your brand without being prompted. You do this by looking at and understanding your reviews.

By embracing the power of advanced analytics, leveraging cutting-edge technologies, and fostering a culture of collaboration, you can gain a comprehensive understanding of their customers and effectively respond to their ever-changing demands.

The risk of not understanding your consumer feedback

Imagine you just moved to the area and need to find a new general practitioner. You select the clinic that has a high number of reviews and a decent star rating for Dr. Brown. When you arrive at the clinic, the front desk team is rude, will not answer your questions, and are talking loudly about other patients. Despite your visit with Dr. Brown going well, you are frustrated by the overall experience. When you leave the clinic you recieve a text message with a survey asking you to rate your visit with Dr. Brown. Because the survey does not include any questions about the front desk staff you give a 9 out of 10 across the board for Dr. Brown’s care.

A few days later, you’re still frustrated by the experience, you decide to post a review detailing your interaction with the front desk staff online.

Here’s the kicker- without the systems, internal alignment, and data analytics in place, this gap with the front desk staff could go unnoticed among the practice for months- costing time, resources, and revenue.

Businesses can grow revenues between 4% and 8% above their market when prioritizing better customer service experiences.

Source: Bain & Company

The Risk of Misunderstanding

Lets now imagine that you are the Practice Manager at the clinic. You pride yourself in how well you know your consumers and how attentive your physicians are. Your patient experience team takes pride in the high consumer sentiment scores they receive from their surveys, yet your marketing team continues to struggle to increase your review numbers and ratings.  

You consider the possibility that you may need to run more marketing campaigns – radio spots, local TV commercials, even billboards – but you know that your clinic already has the largest marketing budget in the area.  

In today’s digital age, simply doing everything right on paper is no longer sufficient. To truly comprehend your consumer’s pain points and deliver exceptional, personalized experiences that captivate new customers, it is imperative to have a holistic understanding of the entire consumer journey. 

Organizations that do not connect what consumers are saying online to the pointed, first party feedback they gather from surveys risk continuously being outpaced by the competition. 

This is the cost of inaction when it comes to understanding consumer sentiment – businesses that do not connect the dots between the unstructured, third party feedback that takes place online, to the first party structured feedback that happens through surveys will continue to fail to respond to areas of opportunity to both improve the consumer experience, and attract new business.

The Benefit of Understanding your Consumer Sentiment

The benefit of understanding consumer sentiment allows you to understand your market trends and consumer sentiment across every stage of the consumer journey and down to the location level, to accelerate your business growth.  

First, it’s important to understand the different types of channels consumers have available to them to leave their feedback. 

The Critical Components of Understanding your Consumers

Simply put, having satisfied consumers isn’t enough anymore. If you want to outpace the competition and have a successful business, you need to have raving fans. To do so, you must understand your consumer feedback.  

But how do you connect the dots in the consumer journey? How do you truly understand consumer sentiment? We have a few suggestions: 

1. Ask the right questions

Getting direct feedback – especially in today’s changing market, is crucial. And, the best way to get direct feedback is to ask direct questions. Surveys have been a pillar for gathering and understanding consumer feedback for decades for a reason- it’s because they work. 

A survey is only as valuable as its content, so when you’re designing your survey, think about what you really want to know. Do you want to know about your consumer’s interaction with your front desk staff? Or are you hoping to dig into a process change your organization made a few months back? The cliche is true- if you don’t ask, you might never know.

2. Tap into your reviews

Direct questions only get you so far- and if you’re only paying attention to the structured feedback of surveys, you miss out on the opportunity to understand the entire consumer journey. It’s impossible to truly understand how consumers are feeling about your brand until you uncover the feedback they are providing without being prompted.

Tapping into the power of the unstructured consumer feedback that comes from reviews allows you to gain valuable insights into your brand’s reputation. By actively monitoring and analyzing reviews, you can identify areas for improvement and make data-driven decisions to enhance the consumer experience and fuel business growth.

3. Elevate your feedback

Once you start managing your structured and unstructured feedback, it’s time to connect the two. Say a consumer provided positive feedback regarding their experience with your business via a survey. Great! However, without a solution to amplify the positive feedback from the survey on a third-party site (e.g. Google), you’re missing out on the opportunity to showcase positive feedback to potential customers.

By elevating your private feedback to your third-party review sites, you are activating the silent majority – your happy customers. Oftentimes consumers are happy to provide positive private feedback, but often aren’t going to take time out of their day to leave a review on your key listing sites. However, research shows that 77% of people are willing to leave a customer review when asked (Forbes).  

When you connect private, first-party feedback to public third-party review sites, your consumers see a holistic view of your organization and the experiences other consumers have had with your brand.

Tap into your Insights

Managing your consumer’s structured and unstructured feedback is paramount to truly understanding your consumer feedback. Businesses often find that adding a Feedback Management software that helps manage their reviews and surveys together immediately allows them to understand and improve their consumers’ needs.  

The best feedback management tools will not only help you manage your feedback, but they will provide real-time data analysis across all of your channels and locations. By using a reputation management solution that offers a holistic view of market trends and consumer feedback, you will have the actionable insights you need to drive operational improvement at every level of your business. Feedback management solutions like Reputation go one step further by allowing you to leverage text analytics to highlight key themes and trends in your customer reviews and surveys so that you’re able to pinpoint areas of improvement across your entire business. 

Large, multi-location organizations often struggle to find solutions that are able to provide this level of intelligence at scale. Reputation makes utilizing the public and private feedback of tens, hundreds, or even thousands of locations quick and easy. Our patented Reputation Score, which aggregates your entire online presence (reviews, listings, social media, and more) acts as a leading indicator for your public and unstructured consumer feedback.

In addition to gathering customer feedback, our AI-powered analysis delivers actionable insights to proactively address customer concerns and business requirements. It uncovers specific pain points hidden within unstructured data, guiding improvement endeavors at individual locations, departments, or even among employees.

Companies who deeply understand consumer sentiment are able to create personalized experiences, increase customer loyalty, tailor products and services to meet needs, reduce costs associated with churn, and stay ahead of the competition.  

Loyalty begins with understanding- don’t wait to understand your consumers.

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