“Oh no. Have you seen what this guy said about us on Twitter?”
Words to strike dread into any Marketer.
“Stop what you’re doing, we need to fix this. Now”
If you monitor social media mentions of your brand, you’ve probably experienced a variation of this scenario yourself. It’s not fun and depending on what’s happened it can be a small inconvenience or a major headache. Like any good social media-aware marketer this is why you monitor and you know how you need to respond.
You have a strategy for dealing with negative comments and feedback – that’s great, you definitely need one.
But what about your strategy for dealing with positive feedback?
Huh? Come again?
Silence is not golden
It’s very easy to focus on the negative but what are you doing with your positive feedback?
- Are you acknowledging it?
- How are you using it?
Let me tell you a story.
Earlier this year my wife and I took our first overseas holiday with our toddler. We wanted to simplify the journey by removing any hassles – such as the shuttle bus journey from Long Stay parking to Departures at the airport.
We researched online for chauffeur services to collect our car at Departures and return it to the door on our return. There wasn’t much info around and no notable brand names in the market, so we had no pre-established ‘trust’. It was difficult to choose, especially when pricing was similar. So we went with the cheapest one and thankfully we had a great experience.
At both ends of the journey, we had waiting for us friendly, helpful chauffeurs – polite, reassuring and ready to answer any questions we had. These two guys, probably amongst the lowest paid in the company, convinced us through their manner and actions to use the service again. They cared about our experience and it showed.
So impressed, my wife felt compelled to write to the company to thank them for the great service. And their response?
“What a wasted opportunity” said my wife.
Sharing the love
So what could they have done? Or more to the point, what could you do in your business to ensure you don’t miss a similar opportunity?
1. Acknowledge it
- Firstly, ask yourself this: who in your organisation will receive the feedback initially? Do they know what to do with it or who to pass it to? You have your onsite feedback form or email address which sends customer comments to a designated person in your business, but what happens if they write you a letter like my wife did? Who opens the mail? Do they know who to pass it to?
- You need to acknowledge the feedback. People tend not to bother to pass on positive feedback, so if anyone goes to the effort of doing so, make sure you respond. At the very least thank them. It’ll cement the good feeling they have just associated with your brand.
- How about doing something a little special and give them something? Along with your note, it could be a discount on their next purchase or an invite to an exclusive event.
2. Use it
If you’re in a crowded, price sensitive market with little brand loyalty, how can you stand out? Your margins probably don’t allow for another price cut, so why not be known for a great customer experience?
Firstly, you really do have to have a great customer experience if that is going to be your USP. You can’t blag that one. You have to examine your whole customer-facing service to see what works and what doesn’t, including speaking with your customers, and then make positive changes. Yes, it may mean spending a little money now, but it is an investment in repeat business in the future.
Okay, so you offer a great service and your customers love you for it. In fact, they love you so much they can’t help but talk about you. So how can you harness that?
- Testimonials – stick them on your site. It’s Social Proof. People hitting your site from a Google search may have no idea who you are or whether they should trust you with their personal information or credit card details. So show them what other customers – people just like them – think of you. When in doubt, people will follow the crowd when making decisions. Make it easier to see the crowd.
- Video testimonials – talking of which, actually SHOW them the crowd. Ask your happy customers to give genuine, unscripted endorsements for your service, using short video clips. Retail sites using video on product pages often experience an uplift in conversions because of it. Try it with testimonials on your landing pages.
- The great thing about videos on your site is that they’ll show up in Google results for searches on your brand name (assuming you optimise them correctly). A nice proof point for anyone checking out your reputability
- Use them in your email newsletter or reactivation emails. If you’re trying to get previous customers back to purchase, add in recent customer comments into your email comms. It may have been some time since they’ve used your service and they may need reminding of how great you are (or you might want to repair your reputation if you weren’t so great in the distant past).
- Testimonials don’t just need to go on your own site. There is a lot of value – both social proof and SEO – in gaining positive reviews on sites such as Google Places, Yelp and foursquare. Customers won’t always come to your site to form an opinion, they’ll check out what their peers say on review sites too. Why not add a link on your site to Google Places (Google incorporate review data into their search listings, great if you have a good score) or include a link in your reply to their Thank You email, saying how much you appreciate the positive words and would they mind helping out by posting a similar review on Google Places (or whichever is appropriate to your business).
- If customers are saying nice things about you in Social spaces, such as Twitter and Facebook, share them with your own Followers. Just don’t overdo it –a stream of ‘look how great we are tweets’ can be annoying. Do it subtly and occasionally, just enough to remind people that their peers appreciate your service/product.Harness the positivity of your new advocates – invite them to participate in shaping your brand and offering. Create a group that can either meeting in person or online to discuss ideas, issues and new creative. Make them part of the process and it’ll strengthen their advocacy. Remember, don’t blindly follow their requests, but understand their needs and incorporate those ideas that make sense for your business and your customers (win-win).
- Share the good new inside your business. Chances are your colleagues don’t get to see much of the feedback from customers – though they might hear about the problems. Let them know about the good stuff and show them how they’re contributing to the positive experiences of your customers.
It’s very easy to be held hostage by negativity; afraid a criticism may damage your business. But focusing only on the negative is just fire-fighting. By addressing the problems AND harnessing the positives you’ll enable your business to both improve and grow.
How have you used positive feedback? I’d love to know. Please feel free to share your experiences in the Comment section below