The Power of Reviews: Customer Service Edition
Customer service reviews don't need to be feared - they can put you on the map.
February 27th, 2017
It's common knowledge that reviews are helpful for businesses – some companies are built entirely around the concept of providing the public with them. But how helpful are they for your customer service (CS) team and how do reviews about your CS specifically help or hinder your business? We’re going to give you a rundown of the power of CS reviews, where to find those companies providing them, and how to make sure you’re not only receiving reviews but that they’re casting your business in a good light.
How do reviews help your company?
Positive reviews are valuable for every company, large or small – there’s no denying that. But, taking action based upon reviews about your CS – both good and bad – is one of the easiest ways to make improvements in your business. Not only are you able to see exactly what your customers are thinking but you can also see what they think needs fixing.
For all companies
Seek out reviews when you’re testing something new; have your CS advisors conduct surveys at the end of their calls, or simply track keywords on your social media accounts. Reading reviews can often be the best way to know what is working and what is not. According to the 2016 Customer Survey by Nice and BBG, 33% of consumers felt that it was unlikely that a company would make changes based on their feedback.
Not only will making changes improve the customer experience (CX) but it will also make your customers feel like they are being heard, increasing their trust and loyalty. Win-win.
For smaller companies
Reviews can also be incredibly useful for small or local businesses. In fact, 72% of customers say that a positive review will help them to trust a local business. Not only this, but 72% of customers also say that a positive review will convince them to purchase something from a business.
For smaller businesses, getting your brand on the map is vital, even if it’s just in your local area. Positive reviews can be a huge boost to help convince customers to purchase from you. And positive reviews about your CS and your CX only help to enforce the image of your business being trustworthy and accommodating. These things are vital when you are trying to increase your number of lifetime customers.
Of course, be aware of those negative reviews as well. It's often the case that those who have a bad interaction with an advisor don't bother to complain or leave a review. Despite that, 95% of customers will share it with their friends and family, often through social media. This is why it’s so important to be aware of where your feedback is coming from, even if it isn’t sent to you directly.
Where do reviews come from?
One of the most obvious places are review sites, such as TrustPilot. TrustPilot was set up back in 2007 and was designed to create a reviewing community of both customers and businesses. Customers are invited to leave reviews for companies that have signed up for the services, and the businesses are able to collect those reviews and use them to their advantage.
The founder of TrustPilot, Peter Holten Mühlmann, says that ‘for most companies it takes a while to get things right’ and that ‘Trustpilot gives you the answers that your friends or family may not be able to.’ Review sites give you a clear indication of what your customers are thinking and feeling about your company; they're also a one-stop shop for people looking to see how great your customer experience really is.
Although you will not be rated out of 5 (often) on social media, your customers will still leave small, informal reviews about the service they received. It can be tempting for some companies to ignore social media or to at least ignore the negative feedback they're receiving on it. But, social media can be both a blessing and a curse and should not be overlooked.
According to Jason Mittelstaedt, the Chief Marketing Officer at RightNow Technologies, ‘if you deliver a great experience, social is a godsend. If you deliver an inadequate experience, social could be your undoing.’
Social media is about responding quickly and turning a negative review into a positive outcome, showing others how good your CS is and providing a high-quality CX at all times.
Those negative reviews can become positives for all the potential customers reading them if your operators know how to turn the conversation around.
Your own website
Another fantastic place to showcase your great customer experience is your own website. Putting positive reviews on your website can help convince customers that you’re a company worth working with, especially if they're reviews about your CS. Customers want to know that they’re in safe hands and positive testimonials from previous customers about your professional CS and the fantastic CX that those customers had can be a huge persuader.
However, be careful because it is commonly thought that reviews on the company’s own website are fake. And sometimes they are, so much so that the Department for Business Innovation and Skills is considering making them illegal.
To avoid confusion and suspicion, make sure all your reviews are genuine and that you provide backlinks to any websites you took them from. But, of course, there’s still the issue of making sure people are leaving reviews in the first place.
How to persuade customers to leave reviews
It’s all well and good talking about how important reviews are and where they come from, but how can you be sure that your customers will even leave them in the first place? If you have a CS team (which you probably should), one of the easiest ways to gather reviews is to have your advisors ask for them.
Ask for them (and reward your employees for it)
In the same way that you would monitor contacts per hour (CPH) and first contact resolution (FCR), measure how many reviews each advisor is pulling in. Asking your team to gather reviews can be as easy as your advisors sending out a follow-up email to the customer or asking the customer to wait on the phone for an automated survey. Or, if you want to give it a more personal touch, your advisors could conduct the survey themselves.
Although surveys and reviews are not always interchangeable, asking the right questions (and making sure the customer is aware that their words may be displayed in places like your website) can allow you to use the best ones as positive reviews.
And, if you aren’t already monitoring FCR, get on it! Measuring how often a customer’s issue is dealt with at the first point of contact is a perfect way to make sure that they are satisfied with your service. The higher your FCR overall, the happier your customers are going to be.
If you measure both of these, you'll be hyper-aware of what your customers are thinking and your advisors will be motivated to make every call as good as the last - and your customers will be happier for it! But, be careful not to be too pushy – chasing customers with constant pleas for reviews (especially if they've already declined to give one) will only end up in a negative response.
Reward your customers too!
Whilst it’s important to incentivise and inspire your employees, you should think about rewarding your customers too. Some people love writing reviews. They can’t wait to get home after visiting a new restaurant and start writing their next piece of art. Most of us, however, just can’t be bothered. That’s why we need a little incentive. Offer your customers something like a discount code to persuade them that leaving a review is really worth it.
According to customer service expert, Lincoln Murphy, this is ‘the oldest hack in the book, but that's because it works really well’.
Deal with negative reviews
Lastly, respond to negative reviews from all platforms and respond to them quickly. Wait, haven’t we already talked about this? Well, kind of. Whilst it’s important for your advisors to catch negative reviews and try to turn them around for the sake of showcasing your amazing CS, it’s also important in gathering new reviews. According to Moz, reviews that the business has resolved or replied to were much more likely to be considered “helpful”. Not only that, those who saw a company offering a refund or exchange were 92% more likely to purchase than those who saw no response taking place. If that figure isn’t compelling, we don’t know what is.
How does that get a company more reviews though? Well, these customers have sought out a review, found it to be informative, have then purchased something in response and are therefore in a position to be leaving a review of their own. By dealing with negative reviews or comments on social media, people are not only more likely to purchase from your company, they are also more likely to use your CS and rate you higher for a good CX. Not bad, eh?
Reviews can make or break some companies, especially those that are still trying to get off the ground. CS reviews can be just as vital, if not more so. If you follow our advice to keep on top of your reviews and the reviewing process, we’re certain that your business will benefit from it (you can thank us later).
Here at FM, we’re CS experts and we pride ourselves on not only providing excellent CS but also making sure every customer experience is a great one. If you’re interested in learning more, get in touch with us today.