It’s all about the money, so it’s only logical that budgets and spending determine your agenda. Especially in the fast-moving environment of e-commerce it can be hard to maintain true focus on customer satisfaction. After all, redesigning your online shopping basket or improving something crucial on your website may lead to a direct increase in conversion in the short term – so that’s where you put your money.
But what about the long term? How important is the experience of your existing customers to your business? Let’s take a look at the importance of customer reviews.
Customer reviews teach you how to improve
“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” Bill Gates said that, and he was right. Great businesses constantly monitor what their customers want and what they experience whilst shopping. Whether posted on a review platform or on social media, customer reviews show what people really think about your brand. And that’s a good thing: even though you probably never really meet your customers face-to-face, reviews allow you to learn which aspects of your business you can improve, from packaging to customer service.
Your customer’s honesty about what they find annoying makes improving customer experience a very straightforward task. It doesn’t involve high-level discussions or endless meetings: just read those reviews frequently, make a to-do list, and solve the root causes of the negative comments. The reward is the elusive, yet oh-so coveted, customer loyalty.
Customers don’t think about your agenda. For them it’s merely about their personal experience with your business. So don’t overlook the value of small improvements. What should you focus on first? It’s a tough choice, especially for us human beings, with our natural tendency to seek ‘breakthrough’ changes. “Don’t look for the big improvement,” the American basketball player John Wooden once said. “Seek the small improvement one day at a time. That’s the only way it happens – and when it happens, it lasts.”
So go on: add a personal thank you card to each order, answer just a tiny bit faster, follow up consistently, add a new product a few customers suggested – you name it. These small changes can do miracles for the lifetime value of your customers and the likelihood that they’ll refer their friends to you.
Customer reviews can bring you more revenue
Apart from learning how to improve customer experience and future revenue, customer reviews also have an impact in the short run. Let’s share three ways in which customer reviews can increase your bottom line.
1. Be the best at customer service
Online price (s)hopping is easy. And so is customer service shopping. Two-thirds of consumers (PDF) are willing to pay more if they believe a company provides excellent customer service. Lower prices won’t stop them from taking their business elsewhere if they don’t like what they come across.
If you potential customers read a tweet about how crappy your customer service is, they will ignore you, even though you seem to be a little cheaper than your competitors. And the opposite it true as well: the more good reviews they come across, the more sales you’ll make! Customer reviews can make your business – or break it.
2. Ask your happiest customers for a referral
The #1 reason for people to write reviews is to help other consumers make good decisions. Your happiest customers will take it one step further: they are often willing to refer other people to your business.
Those referred customers actually spend 16% more over their customer life cycle than other new customers.
So do have a look at your client base and find out which customers return over and over again – and ask them kindly for a referral.
3. Double down on customer reviews with social media
In essence, each tweet about your company – whether positive or negative – is a small review. The positive tweets are great, and you’ll happily retweet them. But the negative tweets? Not so.
If you’re doing things right, not only will customer reviews make you look good on your testimonial section, but your happy customers will start tweeting about your business without you prompting them to do so.
Positive reviews not only increase conversion, but can also get you some new traffic – and you won’t have a spent a dime on ads!