You used to be able to count on good digital advertising to build brand awareness and trust. Not anymore.
The voice of the customer has become louder and more powerful than any number of clever ads and flashy campaigns. Bad online reviews can trump massive spending on even the most innovative and integrated marketing efforts.
Online reviews have grown in importance, as consumers increasingly turn to review sites and social networks for information about products and services. Effective Online reputation management (ORM) is an essential marketing function for brands who want to build and maintain consumer trust and loyalty.
But ORM is more than just monitoring and responding to online reviews. Reviews and comments on social media are rich with data that companies can use to improve the customer experience.
The voice of the customer comes across loud and clear in reviews — and companies who tune in and use it are improving customer experience and driving more business. They’re making essential operational improvements, and fine-tuning products and services to meet the needs of their target customers.
The Upside of Negative Reviews
Recent research from Corra, a digital agency, offers great insight about why people complain about a brand. More often than not, complaints are made with good intentions — like warning other consumers to help them avoid similar experiences.
Related: Who Owns Your Brand?
Of 2,000 American consumers surveyed, 52 percent say they complain about service issues. Nearly 40 percent simply want an apology from the offending company, and only 13.5 percent complain with the intent of hurting a company’s reputation.
A whopping 89.7 percent say they would give a company a second chance after a bad experience before giving up on them for good. Companies who heed negative feedback, address complaints and work to resolve customer experience issues have a really good chance of retaining unhappy customers and even changing their minds.
However, ignoring customer feedback can have severe consequences. Over half of the consumers Corra surveyed said they would complain publicly if a company’s customer service team did a poor job resolving their product or service issue.
Dig Deep into Data with Sentiment Analysis
Improving star ratings and rankings is a valid reason to listen to the voice of the customer, but there’s more to it than that. The vast amounts of data generated on the social web can help companies understand the behavior and priorities of their target customer, which can help fine-tune marketing efforts.
What’s more, sentiment data from online review sources can be filtered using thematic analysis and used to identify operational changes that will enhance the customer experience.
Most Online Reputation Management platforms provide analysis tools that capture and help you make sense of such data. For example, Reputation.com uses word clouds to provide a snapshot of common words and themes that appear in a company’s online reviews across all review sites. The larger the word, the more common it is in a company’s reviews.
More advanced ORM platforms take this a step further with sentiment analysis tools that present a more in-depth understanding of customer feedback and how you’re performing relative to competitors.
The tornado chart below reflects such an analysis and provides a benchmark for how a company is performing against competitive industry benchmarks.
Businesses can leverage such in-depth analysis to determine sentiment within and across multiple locations, and develop a much more accurate understanding of the actual customer experience. From there, they can decide how to take action — whether at a single location or across the organization — to resolve recurring issues and improve the overall customer experience.
Listen Up — The Customer’s Talking
The voice of the customer will only become more powerful and influential as people continue to turn to the social web for information and recommendations. You can leverage the voice of the customer to build trust and advocacy, and direct new business to you instead of the competition, using these Online Reputation Management strategies:
Build review volume and distribute reviews efficiently across the spectrum of review sites, to establish online presence and visibility.
Respond to and address complaints promptly to turn negative sentiment around, build trust with consumers and demonstrate a commitment to customer satisfaction.
Gain actionable insight into customer experience from the vast amount of customer experience data available to you on the social web, to enable location-based or organization-wide operational improvements.
Set in motion a virtuous cycle that leads to more positive reviews, more actionable feedback and continuous improvement of service delivery and quality.
Learn more about how Reputation can help you tune into the voice of the customer by mining valuable data from reviews and social media data, using advanced reporting and analytics.