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Online customer reputation management is a huge responsibility. A TripAdvisor study says 97% of business executives think maintaining a positive online footprint is not only important; it is now a necessity. Understanding and responding to the voice of the customer online could make the difference between competitive advantage and brand disaster.

This article shares some tips for using the voice of your customers to improve your products, operations and service.

What Is the Voice of the Customer?

The voice of the customer is what your customers are saying about your business, product or service. Capturing this information will help your company understand the needs, wants and priorities of your target audience. If you can figure this out, you will be able to shift the types of products and services you bring to market. It will also help you understand the gap between what your customers want and what your business delivers.

Why Does the Voice of the Customer Matter to a Business?

The vast majority of your target audience does online research before choosing where to make a purchase. Some of the latest statistics show:

  • 86% of consumers read online business reviews before they choose what to buy.
  • 91% of 18-34-year-olds say they trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation.
  • Consumers need about ten digital reviews before they trust a company enough to buy.

The data is clear: Online reviews influence buyers’ purchasing decisions. That’s exactly why managing your digital reputation with the right tools is so important to your bottom line.

Person sitting at a picnic table with a laptop.

Do you know what your customers are sharing online about your products and services?

Voice of the Customer Tools

Hearing and responding to the voice of the customer is an ongoing process that can be managed with a variety of processes and tools that will help you stay in front of consumer feedback and trends, and ultimately, sell more products and services. Some valuable voice of the customer tools and processes include:

  • Live chat lets you collect real-time customer data straight from the people that matter the most.
  • Social media gives you an opportunity to respond to consumers in a very public forum.
  • Online customer reviews allow you to build your reputation by soliciting recommendations directly from the consumer using your product.
  • Customer surveys let you gain valuable insights into what your customers are thinking and how they’re feeling about your business.
  • Reputation’s Reputation Score gives a comprehensive picture of your brand’s overall reputation online.

While these are just five examples, they are crucially important for understanding and managing the voice of the customer.

Changing the Dialog

If you are concerned that you haven’t been listening to what your customers are saying online, or you’ve been getting some negative feedback, there is some good news: 89.7% of customers say they would give your business a second chance after a bad experience. This gives you the opportunity to change your company’s response to these consumers and learn from your mistakes. But the only way to pull this off is to hear and respond to the voice of the customer.

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