Customers giving feedback on cellphones

Importance of Customer Feedback

As a small business, have you thought about your overall customer service? There are enormous benefits in providing top-notch service for every one of your customers. If you haven’t thought about it before, good chances are, you’re not listening. You can gather feedback from the reviews you are already getting and learn so much more on how to improve your business.

Customer feedback lets you know what is working well and what needs improvement. It also allows you to know what new products your customers might be interested in buying. Furthermore, making changes based on customer feedback allows you to retain customers which inevitably grows your business.

As Bill Gates is quoted as saying, “your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.”

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Customer Feedback Statistics And Facts

importance of customer feedback for small businesses

“If people like you, they will listen to you, but if people trust you, they will do business with you.” -Zig Ziglar

Are Your Competitors Offering A Better Experience?

40% of customers switch companies because another company offers a better customer service experience.

Take a look at the experience your customer is having compared to your competitors. Is it better? You may need to up your game. Holding on to just 5% more customers can increase profits by an average of 60% and over 70% of business to business customers say they are willing to spend more on a product if they can get great customer service.

Who’s Talking About You?

44% of people told their friends in person about a customer service experience.

In general, unhappy customers are more willing to talk about their experience and tells an average of 16 people! Meanwhile, happy customers only tell an average of 9 people.

Millennials are a whole different story! When they get great customer service, they are likely to tell 17 people of their great experience and only 11 people when they get poor service. They are the only generation so far that will tell more people when they are happy than when they are upset.

Despite the reputation that women have for talking, men actually are more apt to talk about good or bad customer service experiences than women.

Could You Have Done Something Keep Your Customer?

82% of customers feel that the company they are leaving could have done something to prevent them from switching.

A refund, exchange or a listening ear can go a long way in keeping a customer.

They Won’t Be Back For A While

84% of customers that their expectations were not met or exceeded during their last dealings with an establishment’s customer service.

Consumers are 39% are more likely to avoid a business for over two years after a bad customer service experience. High-income families, in particular, were 79% more likely to stay away.

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Bad First Impressions

33% of customers say they will leave a company after just one poor customer service experience.

 Of people interviewed 49% say they have left because they didn’t feel appreciated. 37% said they left because of rude or unhelpful staff while 30% say they left after being passed around to multiple agents. Approximately, 27% report that they left because of they not able to speak to a person, that they did not get answers to their questions or that they were placed on hold for too long.

Poor Online Reviews

66% of customers remember reading an online review.

When customers were asked if they remembered reading an online review, only 66% said that they did. Of those, 39% remembered reading a negative review while 41% remembered reading a positive review. When respondents were asked about whether they remembered reading a review of Facebook, 38% said they remembered reading a negative review while 44% said they remembered reading a positive review. When asked if they remembered reading a review on Twitter, 22% said they remembered reading a negative review while 23% said they remembered reading a positive review.

why customers leave businesses

What Can Businesses Do?

While it can seem overwhelming that one-third of your customers may leave after just one bad customer service experience, there are things that you can do to make sure that you are providing customers with an experience that exceeds their expectations. Here are some ideas and statistics that can improve the customer service experience.

Listen

Make sure you keep up on all the reviews and feedback you are receiving. They are the best and most straightforward way to improve your customer service. It could be an employee, and a computer glitch, or something else that is holding your business back from booming! It’s worth keeping your ear out for any feedback you can!

Value Their Time

73% of customers say that the most important thing that a company can do is to value their time in person and online. With online shopping, 53% of consumers say they value their time more than their pocketbook and will abandon carts if they cannot find quick answers to questions.  75% of consumers report that it takes too long to reach a live agent and will hang up or leave. Make their experience quick and easy.

Respond Quickly

The average company is now engaging dissatisfied customers on social media in about nine hours.  Customers will only wait on hold for an average of 11 minutes before hanging up when calling a company. They expect to hear from a company within an hour if they email a company, but if they hop on live chat, they expect to be answered in under 45 seconds. In a world of instant gratification, we need to be quick to respond!

Help Those Who Help Themselves

Each year, consumers are trying to find answers to their own questions before making contact with the company.60% of consumers try to help themselves before asking for assistance. About 24% of them are looking on a company’s website, 14% are using a mobile app, 13% are using a voice response system and 12% are using online chat. Therefore, small business owners need to make sure these tools are available for those who are willing to look for the answer.

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Talking To A Real Person

After customers have exhausted all the self-help options, 40% will want to talk to a real person especially when it comes to handling money. Make sure a phone number is provided and a person can be reached for more difficult questions.

Sorry Goes A Long Way

Mistakes will happen, but when a company is quick to apologize, 74 percent of customers say they are satisfied. 37% of customers are satisfied with monetary compensation when a mistake happens. Throw in the words “I’m sorry,” and that percentage rises to 74%. Therefore, small business owners may want to consider asking for forgiveness before they even attempt to resolve a customer complaint. Most people just want to be heard and understood.

Conclusion

Happy Customers Are Good For Business

59% of consumers are willing to spend more if they get “great” customer service. Consumers who get “good” customer service increase their purchase dollar amount by an average of 30%. Meanwhile, 68% reported that dealing with a pleasant customer service representative was key in encouraging them to make a purchase while 62% said that a customer service representative’s knowledge or resourcefulness was key in their buying decision.

A whopping 69% of customers value customer service as the most important thing when shopping. Providing great customer service will undoubtedly help your business grow. Give the customer an easy and timely experience. Make sure they can get answers on their own or have means to contact someone. Make sure to listen to their feedback, especially from your unhappy customers. They can become your biggest asset to your business.  All these will help you keep, and gain more loyalty from consumers and ultimately grow your business.

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Benefits of a Website for Business

22 Benefits of a Website for Small Businesses

In an era of social media, sometimes business owners may think that having a website is unnecessary, but that couldn’t be further away from the truth. It is relatively easy to create a social media profile such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or LinkedIn. However, it is incredibly important to have a “home base” from which all your social accounts can link back to. As a matter of fact: VeriSign found that 84% of surveyed customers said they believed a business with a website is more credible than one with only a social media page.

It was also found that over 40% of businesses in 2016 did not have a website.

Thus, merely having a website could put you a step ahead of your competition. A site is one more way to be driving more customers, revenue, and overall value to your business.

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Top Ways A Website Benefits A Company

Benefits of websites for companies

Here are twenty-two of the top benefits of having a website for your small business, along with some ideas on how to get the most out of it:

1. Look Professional

Rather than just being the “corner shop” down the street, having a website (especially a well made one) gives the impression that you are serious, and ready to do business with all kinds of customers. It lends to the credibility mentioned in the survey result above.

2. Become An Information Resource

If your business is in something of a niche industry, having a website is an excellent opportunity to build your reputation as an authority in your field. Create a blog section on your site with informative articles that take advantage of your experience. Potential customers doing web searches on common problems related to your industry will be more likely to find you – and after they read your blog articles, they’ll see how helpful you can be for them. According to one survey, 61% of consumers reported a blog influenced their decision to make a purchase. Even if those who read these blog posts don’t become customers right away, you’ve spread the name of your business without spending a dime on traditional advertising.

Whenever possible, mention in your blog posts your services and a description. For example, if you are a mechanic and your blogs include multiple mentions of “affordable car checkups,” anyone searching that phrase has a higher likelihood of discovering your website.

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3. Own Your Name

Creating a site and buying a domain name (www.businessexample.com) helps stake your claim to your business’s name, and is a quick and easy way to improve your brand identity.

You can also get a unique business email that will add to that sense of branding as well (yourname@businessexample.com). In a 2015 VeriSign survey, 65% of customers said they regard a company-branded email as more credible than a business using a generic email account. Many website creation companies will include custom email addresses as part of their offerings.

4. Improve SEO Rankings

When you search online through sites like Google, Bing, or Yahoo you will see a list of websites with answers to your request. There are SEO (Search Engine Optimization) tactics that you can apply to your company website to improve its rankings on those search engines.

Not having a website makes it a lot more difficult for your company to rank and gain free traffic and sales from search engines.

customers from your websites

5. Increase Leads From Online

Gaining visitors to your website is good, but gaining customers is even better! With a well-optimized website, you get your potential leads to call, sign up, or purchase a product from your company. You can turn your website into a leading salesperson for your company.

6. Develop A Mailing List

Once you have a website built, add a form for people to sign up for your mailing list. You now have an easily accessed database of potential customers to advertise to. According to one study, email marketing can be up to 40 times more effective in acquiring new customers than social media.

7. Save Money on Printing

Paper catalogs and brochures can still be helpful in point-of-sale situations, but what if item information changes? It is much easier to have all relevant info on your website, where it will be much cheaper to edit and revise. A combination of print and web marketing materials will likely be the most cost-effective way forward.

These savings can apply to marketing costs as well. A traditional full-page ad in a smaller regional newspaper can cost around $1000 or more. Running a website can only cost a few hundred dollars a year.

perks of websites to companies

8. Be Where Your Customers Are. They’re On The Web.

The research appears to be convincing. The data shows that the web is almost everywhere.

Even having a fundamental website is helpful. For many people, if they can’t find it online, it doesn’t exist as far as they are concerned.

Being on the web means being able to reach people where they are. That includes smartphones:

Most websites these days can automatically alter themselves to fit both smartphones and desktop computers. If most of your customers seem to always have a smartphone in their hand, then it is a good idea to be able to reach them directly.

9. Tell Your Story

Having a webpage on your site dedicated to a section like “Company History” is a way to humanize your business. Research has shown that “feeling good” about a brand or business has the potential to increases purchases.

Here is where being a small business can be an immediate strength. Run a family business started by mom or dad? Been around for decades? Let people know about it, and build their trust.

Displaying a sense of creativity and personality can be an advantage not available to a large, committee-run company.

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10. Create A New Selling Opportunity via Mail-Order & eCommerce

If your business sells products that can be delivered by mail-order, consider investing in an online shopping and checkout section of your website. Some companies will build this section for you. You may be able to reach an entirely new set of customers who do not live directly near your retail locations. Depending on the nature of your business, you may have the entire planet as potential customers.

11. Get Data

You might already have an idea of what the average foot traffic is like in a brick-and-mortar location, but having a website can help give you an idea of the broader reach of your business. If you have different web pages dedicated to different products or services you provide, you can use web visitor data to find which is drawing the most attention.

The more direct route is also available; you can create online polls or surveys to get an idea of what products and services customers are most interested in.

12. Easy Access to Product Info and Customer Service

Working with your staff and product distributors, you can provide as much detail on products and services as you want. Email forms and contact info can help even a small business build out a more professionally-styled customer service system. A recent development is semi-automated chatbots that can be placed on a website, performing the same essential function an operator would on a major company 1-800 customer service phone number. Customer service is now available for your clients at any time.

13. More Informed Customers

Following the above: less time will be spent by staff explaining the basics of a product or service to inquiring customers. If they are not at your store, you can directly refer them to your website if they have any additional questions. Those customers who like to “kick the tires” before purchasing will be able to do as much advance reading on product info as they want.

store benefits of websites

14. A 24/7/365 Showroom, For Everything

If you have a business that has limited floor space for your products, your problems can be solved with a website. You have virtually unlimited space to list all your products in as much detail as you want, and potential customers can read up on them at any time. Working with manufacturers and distributors, you can include high-quality photo galleries for products.

Your virtual showroom never has to close either. A 2013 study found mobile device owners, especially those with tablets (such as iPads), tended to make purchases late at night (from 9 pm onwards).

15. Leave an Extra Impression: Traditional Branding + Your Website

Place your website address on all your existing promotional material (business cards, brochures, etc.). You could see a boost in sales. For example: even if someone who picked up a piece of product literature isn’t planning to buy right away, you have planted a seed. When they get serious about making a purchase, your material (with your website) is right there under their noses. Your site is likely where they’ll now start their product research in earnest. When you combine traditional promotional materials with the added resource of your website, your business is more likely to “stick” in customers’ minds.

16. Help Train Staff

If you’ve taken the time to build out a website with detailed info about products and services, you now have an information resource that is available for you to use internally. You can direct new employees to specific web pages and give them the “homework” of reading up on the products they will be selling.

17. Create Return Business By Always Being “Findable”

Business cards and brochures can sometimes be lost. Harder to lose? A bookmark in a customer’s web browser. This “permanency” can also assist in word of mouth, customer-to-customer referrals (more details on this further below)

website benefit - gaining better staff

18. Attract New Staff

Create a “Careers” or “Job Opportunities” webpage on your site. You’ll be able to get potential job candidates to come to you, rather than spending time on trying to recruit employees or spending money placing listings on job websites.

19. Easy To Create

Unlike the early days of the internet, you do not need to know computer code or HTML to make an impressive-looking website. For a very modest investment, web design companies are a “one-stop-shop” that can handle all the technical details for you. Most have a variety of customizable templates to choose from. Building a website is now very easy — and affordable.

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20. Promote Your Brick and Mortar Locations

This might seem counterintuitive, but having a website may help increase foot traffic at your brick-and-mortar locations. Having basic info like store locations, addresses, hours, and phone numbers on your website create a data footprint that will be picked up by search engines. The next time someone looks for your store online, they are then more likely to be greeted by search results that include your store details. This is especially important for potential customers using smartphones. Even if they are “on-the-go,” they can search your business, find your address, and quickly input it into their GPS software.

21. Quicker Referrals

Here is an example of how having a website for your small business can lead to quick referrals. If your business comes up in a conversation between a former customer and a friend of theirs, what is the first thing they will likely try to do? They will search the business on the web. If you have a website up and running, they are very likely to find you rapidly. This builds upon what was discussed earlier regarding improving your brand identity. Having your business on the web can help lead to growth.

22. Create An Online Portfolio: Awards, Reviews, and Testimonials

Has your company won an industry award? Make sure it is mentioned on your website.

If you have happy customers, take advantage of it. You can utilize positive customer reviews and testimonials directly on your website. You can even create a dedicated webpage section to showcase a “portfolio” of your work (with photos if applicable), along with reviews. Building a groundswell of positive reviews that are easy to find on your business’s website is yet another way to distinguish you from your competition.

Here at Broadly, we’ve created a list of templates on how to encourage customers to leave reviews to help you get started.

Conclusion

Those are just some of the top benefits of creating a website for a small business. Need help getting your business online? We at Broadly are here to help build your business website! We are happy to jump on a call and help get you started.

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Performance Review Comments You Can Use For Your Employees

Performance Review Comments You Can Use For Your Employees

If you are a manager, then chances are that you have to write performance reviews. While it can be extremely trying to write reviews of colleagues working under you, your company counts on you to rate each person fairly. Honest performance reviews can help employees improve their performance and be more engaged in their work.

While it may not seem like it when you have to hand down a poor performance review, workers actually crave the feedback that you provide them. That way, they know if they are meeting or exceeding expectations or falling behind company expectations. Finally, performance reviews can be a chance for small business managers to take a look at the coaching that they are providing those working under them to see if it needs to be improved.

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Achievement of Goals

At the last performance review, the employee should have been involved in setting some specific goals. Depending on the length of time between performance reviews, additional goals may have been set along the way. Ideally, these goals are specific, measurable, attainable and timely. The performance review is the ideal time to review those business goals and set new ones as needed.

  • Poor
    • During the last performance review, the employee was achieving 50% of the company expected objectives, but now the employee is only achieving 20%.
    • While it was agreed upon by the manager and this employee that she would be finishing 75% of her daily task, the employee routinely only completes 30% of tasks assigned to her and has been coached six times in the last year.
  • Needs Improvement
    • Refuses to try new techniques to improve her mastery of specific tasks such as lead generation.
    • Spends too much time concentrating on minor tasks while leaving major tasks undone.
  • Meets Requirements
    • Improved production of X product by Y percentage over the last six months.
    • Currently meeting all goals as outlined in a previous performance review, and exhibited a vast increase in the ability to use web chat.
  • Exceeds Requirements
    • Works well on accomplishing goals and is flexible as needed.
    • Accomplishes own goals quickly and accurately, then assists others to develop easier methods of meeting their goals.
  • Outstanding
    • Quantity and quality of work is outstanding.
    • An outstanding employee who accomplishes all goals on a daily basis with a can-do attitude.

Employee Performance ReviewsPunctuality

Punctuality from all employees is vital to meeting overall company goals. The employee who is punctual shows that they can be counted on by other team members. Managers learn to count on employees who show up on time each day to carry most of the workload. Therefore, they are often the first ones considered for promotions.

  • Poor
    • The employee only showed up for 60% of her assigned days and was late on more than 75% of the days when she showed up for work.
    • Despite three coachings, the employee continues to take extended lunches without permission.
  • Needs Improvement
    • The employee consistently takes longer breaks than permitted.
    • Despite clocking in on time, the employee is often slow in returning to her task.
  • Meets Requirements
    • The employee’s punctuality falls within company guidelines.
    • The employee works the assigned hours.
  • Exceeds Requirements
    • Always on time and displaying a can-do attitude makes it easy to work with this employee.
    • One can count on this employee to always be timely.
  • Outstanding
    • Being present and reliability are two terms that easily describe this employee.
    • We can count on this employee always being here making determining staffing levels much easier.

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Communication Skills

This area of the performance review must cover a lot of ground because it covers the sharing of information helping the company meet its objectives. At the same time, employees may need to think about protecting vital information that does not need to be shared with all employees. When writing the performance evaluation, make sure to remember that communication is a two-way street, so those excelling in this area are able to build cooperation among team members and when working with the public.

This performance review item also needs to show the employee’s willingness to negotiate in good faith while remaining even-tempered. Employees should exhibit the ability to be good listeners and to respect the small business owner or manager’s final decision even when it differs from what they think should be done. The good communicator is proud when others do well and is always willing to reach out to make sure that everyone is included and all points of view are honored.

  • Poor
    • Consistently unwilling to share information with others, this employee shows that he is unable to be a productive team member.
    • This employee seems to have issues knowing when to be quiet, so the company has had to do reputation management work to cover his mistakes.
  • Needs Improvement
    • This employee consistently fails to complete written notes in a timely manner by delaying other teams from completing their assignment.
    • Many employees complain that they have to hunt this employee down because he does not answer emails in a timely fashion.
  • Meets Requirements
    • This employee’s reports are always done in a timely manner and filled with vital data.
    • The art of communication is practiced by this employee on a regular basis who often receives positive customer feedback.
  • Exceeds Requirements
    • It is always a pleasure to listen to this employee work with customers because she does a great job of recognizing pain points so that customers are convinced to buy.
    • This employee does an outstanding job of active listening allowing him to pinpoint problems and arrive at workable solutions.
  • Outstanding
    • A skilled communicator, this employee does an outstanding job of encouraging healthy debate among all team members.
    • This employee is a very effective communicator in delicate situations where tact and wisdom are required.

communication skills in performance reviewsCooperation

Cooperation and competition are like two ends of a spectrum, and the best employees often are found in the middle. Cooperative employees show a desire to get the job done regardless of who gets the credit. They are willing to put themselves last as long as tasks help meet the company’s objectives, and they are willing to rearrange their schedules based on the needs of the group. Cooperative workers are productive working alone or in a group.

  • Poor
    • According to numerous reports documented in her personnel file, this employee refuses to cooperate with other employees and superiors.
    • This employee is headstrong and needs to learn to work in a group setting without getting into shouting matches with fellow employees.
  • Needs Improvement
    • This employee’s unwillingness to take the lead has resulted in numerous projects falling behind schedule.
    • Unwilling to see that it takes everyone working together, this employee wants to consistently do things on their own time schedule.
  • Meets Requirements
    • This employee is a team player that often can be found encouraging others.
    • The ability to take constructive criticism when needed makes this employee one of the most cooperative in the building.
  • Exceeds Requirements
    • Extremely goal orientated, this employee works well at building company spirit daily.
    • One of the company’s strongest cheerleaders, this employee often delays her own projects to help others. Yet, her consistent drive means that her own work is completed in a timely manner.
  • Outstanding
    • You would never know that working with people from diverse backgrounds is challenging when you watch this employee in action.
    • One of this employee’s strongest assets is his ability to lead teams to find creative solutions that increase productivity.

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Leadership & Management Skills

Without good management, it is hard for a company to succeed. While most people exhibiting these skills will be a line leader or above, it is an essential part of all good employee’s behavior. Employees who exhibit good leadership give appropriate feedback to those above and below them. They understand company policies and the expected workflow. Employees with good management skills are also outstanding at building teams and being everyone’s favorite cheerleader helping the company to exceed its expectations.

  • Poor
    • Despite coaching, this employee shows little comprehension of how to build a good team.
    • The company’s headquarters has received four complaints about this manager from his inferiors that the company found to be valid.
  • Needs Improvement
    • While this employee does a good job of assigning tasks, he does not carry through to make sure that they are completed in a timely manner.
    • Other managers often complain that they find this manager headstrong.
  • Meets Requirements
    • This employee shows good leadership skills when working on a team.
    • Always a great cheerleader, this employee has a servant’s heart.
  • Exceeds Requirements
    • One of the hardest working employees in the building, management can always count on this employee to pick up the slack left by others.
    • Consistently a great team player, this employee does a good job of making sure that everyone’s opinion is heard.
  • Outstanding
    • Watching this employee in action should be a requirement for all who want to learn about leadership.
    • While just being promoted to leadership six months ago, this employee already outperforms many more experienced managers.

employee management skills

Interpersonal Skills

In order to be an asset to a company, an employee must be able to get along well with others. Communication is a huge part of interpersonal skills, but there are others as well. Some employees can work well with people at all levels of the company while others may have trouble getting along with their coworkers while getting along great with management. Good personal hygiene is an important part of interpersonal skills.

  • Poor
    • This employee seems to have a bad attitude every day and is often seen yelling at coworkers.
    • Despite coaching, this employee has not improved his ability to get along with other team members.
  • Needs Improvement
    • This employee does a good job of getting along with superiors, but he often treats those below him poorly.
    • Management has given this employee numerous warnings that his personal hygiene needs improvement.
  • Meets Requirements
  • Exceeds Requirements
    • This employee works well with management, other employees and the public where he always exceeds expectations.
    • Others feel extremely comfortable and valued when they are around this employee.
  • Outstanding
    • A positive attitude and a willingness to listen to the opinion of others make this employee one of everyone’s favorites.
    • This employee does an outstanding job of valuing the opinion of those around them even when there are differences in opinion.

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Problem Solving

This part of the performance review evaluates if the employee is able to create workable solutions when problems arise. Ideally, they will be able to suggest ideas that enable production to increase or saves the company money. Employees who excel in this category are able to communicate their ideas and suggestions so that those around them can implement them successfully.

  • Poor
    • This employee is consistently rude when problems arise requiring even minor changes.
    • This employee needs to be able to change project directions more effectively without losing her temper.
  • Needs Improvement
    • This employee needs to exhibit more flexibility and willingness to change directions during the workday.
    • While this employee takes direction well, he needs to be more independent in problem-solving.
  • Meets Requirements
    • This employee is able to solve customer problems in an appropriate manner.
    • A very creative thinker, this employee does a good job of solving routine problems.
  • Exceeds Requirements
    • Managers seldom know about problems encountered during production because this employee is so good at solving them.
    • This employee is a real asset because of her ability to think quickly when problems occur.
  • Outstanding
    • This employee saved the company a lot of money when an assembly line had to be shut down for over six weeks because she was able to configure another line to make the product.
    • This employee did a great job of keeping employees safe while protecting assets when disaster struck.

employee problem solving

Creativity

An employee’s ability to be creative in managing resources and time is an important part of a performance review. As a leader, these people tend to be able to solve most problems helping to keep deadlines. They are also an asset in helping to bring new products to market.

  • Poor
    • This employee comes to superiors with every minor problem often delaying the work of others.
    • This employee is very creative, but he refuses to apply those skills to get tasks completed in a timely manner.
  • Needs Improvement
    • This employee has great ideas, but too often he fails to see the big picture.
    • Often fails to think through entire processes, which can cause even more issues later on.
  • Meets Requirements
    • Journals new ideas so that the best ones can be presented to management when appropriate.
    • This employee is able to look at problems in creative ways that others might not consider.
  • Exceeds Requirements
    • A real asset to the company, this employee takes ideas that others think are unchangeable and makes them better.
    • A willingness to experiment with new ways of doing tasks to improve the use of assets makes this employee top notch.
  • Outstanding
    • This employee consistently reads to find answers to problems within the company.
    • Displays look perfect when this employee does them because of her attention to detail and creativity.

performance review comments for employees

Conclusion

Done correctly, performance reviews can help make good employees better and encourage great employees. If you are in charge of writing performance reviews, then focusing on these core competencies allows you to give constructive feedback on what employees are doing right and where they need to grasp the opportunity to grow in the near future.

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Get Customer feedback

How To Get Customer Feedback

It is extremely easy to focus on your day-to-day and forget to listen to your customers, but without them, you wouldn’t have a business. There are infinite things that you can learn from customers. In fact, 35% of marketers consider customer feedback the top analytic that they need to monitor. Since only 4% of customers actually complain, the fact that you are not hearing complaints does not necessarily mean that customers are totally satisfied. Here are some reasons that you should monitor customer feedback and how to listen to your customers.

Why Small Business Owners Should be Seeking Customer Feedback

how to gain feedback from customers

There are many reasons that small business owners should be listening to their customers. Your customers can have some of the best ideas for your business because they use your service or product first-hand.

Helps to Save Time

While it does take time to listen to customers, it actually saves you time in the long run. In its early days, Starbucks created a website called Mystarbucksidea.com to allow customers to share their feedback and ideas with the company. Many ideas that have been implemented were all originally customer ideas, like free coffee to loyalty club members on their birthday and even their frequent buyer program. You can simply listen to your customers, instead of spending hours doing the research yourself.

Likely to Recommend Your Business

Over 71 percent of customers who feel that a company has listened to them are likely to recommend that company to others. Once they choose to share their review publicly, then 88 percent of people trust their reviews as much as if a personal friend had made the recommendation. Additionally, they are likely to spend an average of 30 percent more with your company.

Let’s You Know What Customers are Thinking

One of the greatest marketing fiascos in modern times was when Coke tried to reformulate their product in 1985 after they were losing market share to their competitors. Despite doing blind test trials, when the company introduced the new sweeter Coke, people hated the taste, so they had to hurry to do reputation management. It only took the company three months to decide that they had made a mistake and switch back to the original formula.

Make sure to test ideas on a small sample of potential customers and gain feedback before rolling it out to all of your customers.

Build Customer Trust

When customers feel that a company is listening to them, then they are more likely to trust the company. For example, a study PhoCusWright study using data collected from TripAdvisor found that customers who had their positive or negative feedback answered with a comment from the company were 87% more confident in their decision to book with the entity again while 57% of other customers said that the feedback was vital in helping them make a decision to buy from the entity.

Understand What Customers Value

It is impossible for you to align your company’s values with those of your customers until you understand what they value the most. While you can sit behind a desk and draw up a list of values that you think your target audience may have, it is not until you listen to your customers that you will truly know. Alcoa Aerospace ran an experiment where they assigned their salesforce to go out in the field and ask customers what steps they took before acquiring an Alcoa product, how they used that product and how they disposed of it. At the end of a three-month period, the salesforce came back together to share what they found out. The team was then able to use that data to increase sales for the company. One of the largest benefits of the experiment, however, was increased cooperation between customers and the company.

Create New Ideas

Bluebell Ice Cream is a Southern staple. One of their top selling products is their cookies and cream ice cream, but the product might never have been invented except for a chance encounter between a young intern and the president of the company. (Remember, some of your most loyal customers may actually be your employees.). One day the intern was spotted searching for cookies. The president asked him what he was looking for as the ice cream sat melting on the table. The intern told him that he was hoping to find some chocolate cookies. The puzzled president, then heard how the intern’s mother had always crumbled up chocolate cookies to serve on his ice cream. The president ran with the idea and after product testing, and it was introduced to the market as a success.

15 Ways to Solicit Customer Feedback

Now that you understand some of the reasons to listen to customers, let’s examine 15 different ways that you can solicit customer feedback for your business.

1. Chat with Customers on Your Site

One of the largest conveniences that live chat offers customers is that they can talk to you right on the site, so they do not experience the inconvenience of having to hunt your company down on social media, email and wait for an answer or look up your phone number. Talking to customers on your website allows you to hear what their problems are and allows you to find solutions to those problems. According to a study done by Marketing Power, companies who offer live chat on their website are three times more likely to close a sale. Taking a look at data collected from these conversations is a great way to spot positive and negative trends allowing you to accentuate the positives while eliminating the negatives.

Do not overlook the opportunity to get feedback after the chat window has been closed as it can hold important details that the customer wants you to know but did not want to share with you or your agent during your chat. Try making a chart to see trends in this data.

2. Respond to Reviews

As we already discussed, customers were 87% more likely to book again if their review was applied to on TripAdvisor and others were 57% of potential customers viewed the feedback as a vital part of their buying decision. Take time to read reviews carefully as 80% of complaints come to the attention of small-business owners through review sites.

You know your industry better than anyone else, so you know where customers are likely to leave reviews. Most businesses will want to claim their Yelp account, an industry-specific account and Google My Business. The best time to ask for a review is after you completed the sale and done a follow-up visit to make sure that everything was satisfactory. Then, ask them to write a review.

JetBlue did an outstanding job of responding to customer Esaí Vélez about his television not working on a four-hour flight. The representative immediately asked him to send them a direct message with his ticket code number so a refund could be issued.

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3. Respond On Social Media To Customers

It is important that you listen to customers on social media. 20% of all page views on the internet are on Facebook, and Instagram is the fastest growing social media platform. It may help to think of yourself as the conductor who is directing customers to leave honest reviews.  Let’s look at some examples of how different businesses handled a customer’s concern.

  • Facebook- Justin Blanchard who operates ServerMania, a cloud computer and web-hosting company, warns that you do not want to find yourself dragged into a long and public debate. Instead, address the issue as calmly as you can and move on to other issues.
  • Google- Miriam Ellis says that you are likely to see five types of customers leave reviews on Google, and your response should be different for each one. If you get the customer who cannot wave enough about you and your business, then respond briefly, but avoid repetition by saying thank you in many different ways. The customer who chooses to leave a three-star review should be thanked for having some great things to say while you assure them that you have heard their concerns. If you get a one-star review, then accept responsibility and a willingness to learn what you could do to make their experience better. If you get a fake review, then let Google know. You may also want to politely point out that you have reported the review to Google. The fifth type of review that you may see is a review citing you for doing illegal activities. This is the one time that you do not want to respond before contacting your attorney.
  • TripAdvisor- With over 200 candid reviews posted every hour, it is smart to pay attention to TripAdvisor as the site already has more than 320 million reviews from around the world. Keep in mind that your reply is as much for other people reading it as the person who wrote the original review, so make sure to represent your business so that others will see that you are a dedicated owner or manager. After all, most people realize that you cannot please all of the people all of the time.
  • Yelp- You should respond to all reviews on Yelp, but try to do some

research before responding to a negative review on Yelp. Regardless of what your research unearths, the first words should be “I’m sorry.” If the screw up belongs to your company, then accept responsibility and share what steps you are taking to remedy the situation. If your research indicates there was no problem, then ask the reviewer to contact you with further details as your research failed to discover a problem. In either case, end your review with an invitation to visit your business again very soon.

  • Nextdoor- A user can post three types of reviews on Nextdoor. They can post it where everyone can see it and mention your business giving you a chance to respond. Take the opportunity to politely thank the customer for their feedback and address any concerns politely. If the user chooses to direct message your business, then you have the opportunity to find out details and work to resolve any issues in a mutually beneficial way. Finally, a customer can leave a comment on your business page giving you an opportunity to publicly and professionally respond.

4. Send Emails

At a bare minimum, you should have a dedicated email that you share prominently on your website where customers can email you with suggestions, complaints or ideas. In an experiment carried out by Marketing Experience, they were able to increase their conversion rate by 200% by focusing on a single call-to-action. Use personalization tags so that users feel that you are addressing them in particular and eliminating the bystander effect. Share with readers why you need the information and what you will do with it. Tell the receiver exactly how you want them to respond. Consider having users respond by:

  • Survey- More than 41% of surveys are completed on mobile devices, so make sure that your survey is mobile-friendly.
  • Phone- Use an automatic scheduler allowing people to schedule their call according to your availability.
  • Email- You may choose to have recipients simply email you back. Be sure to create a system that allows you to collect responses for easy analysis.

5. Call Customers

One of the most convenient ways to receive feedback from a customer is to call them. The most effective calls are usually focused on customer attitudes towards your business followed by asking them for specific examples of why they feel that way. Additionally, ask about habits so that you can develop easier ways to perform a task related to your product or your ordering process.

Customer feedback analytics

6. Review Sales Funnel Data

There are several analytic services that you should be collecting and analyzing on a regular basis to determine where problems exist within your company. These include:

  • Customer attrition
  • Number of cancellations
  • Number of complaints over time
  • Number of returns
  • Support call volume
  • Warranty claims

7.  Review Website Analytics

If you do most of your business on a website, then you may also want to look at your site analytics. Consider these statistics:

  • Bounce rate- Consider the acceptable bounce rate for different types of web pages because a higher than normal bounce rate may indicate a problem with a particular page.
  • Exit rate- Look for web pages that have high exit rates that should not have them.
  • Page links- Knowing which links that users click on can show you what users consider most important and allow you to move them around for easier access.
  • Site search- Collecting information from this box allows you to understand what customers are looking for
  • Navigation screen- This allows you to analyze customer’s journey through your website.

8. Get Out in Your Business

While it can be very easy to get tied up behind the scenes, but you should make yourself visible to your customers. Walmart founder Sam Walton was famous for this as he drove his red pickup truck many miles to visit his various locations. When Walmart finally got large enough to have too many locations to visit in person, then he flew an airplane to various Walmarts. He only knew how to get there by following the highways, so it was not unusual to see his plane flying low over highways. Sam lived by the quote that he often said, “There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.”

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9. Provide a Dedicated Form

You may want to create a page on your website where users can leave feedback for your company. Additionally, you may want to incorporate a survey into your feedback form allowing you to gather more information from the customer leaving the feedback. These surveys generally fall into three broad categories:

  • Net Promoter Score– Developed by Bain and Company, these surveys ask how likely the customer is to recommend your business to a friend or family member on a scale from one to 10.
  • Customer Effort Score– These surveys focus on how easy it was to do business with your company.
  • Customer Satisfaction Score– These surveys focus on how happy the customer was with the product.

10. Seek Feedback When Orders Are Delivered

You may also want to incorporate a short questionnaire that users can fill out once an order arrives. You may want to include only four to seven multiple-choice questions. Consider asking:

  • Why did you buy from us?
  • How did you find our store?
  • Are you satisfied with the quality of the products in your order?
  • Did your overall experience as a customer meet or exceed your expectations?
  • What other items would you like to see us offer?
  • What is your preferred method of interacting with our company?

11. Popup Survey When Abandoning Cart

During the first quarter of 2018, cart abandonment rates across all industries reached 75.6%. This is a great time to ask customers why they are choosing to not continue through with their purchases through the use of a popup window. You may want to give your lost customers the chance to say if they are abandoning their cart because of:

  • Unexpected/added costs during the checkout stage
  • A better deal at another site,
  • Lengthy processing times
  • Unsuitable delivery options

You may also want to include a box where they can leave you a message along with ways to contact your customer service team.

12. Monitor Online Review Sites

There are tools available that let you monitor the internet for mentions of your company name and that of your key employees. You may want to monitor social media sites like Facebook and Twitter along with popular review sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor.You may also want to set Google Alerts for your company name.

13. Post Reviews on Your Company’s Web Page

You already know that people are more apt to follow the lead of others whether than being the leader. Encourage others to send you their reviews by posting some that you receive on your website. There are generally four reasons that people post reviews:

  • Emotional appeal- Customers are more likely to write reviews when the company has elicited good or bad emotions in their souls
  • Empowerment- Customers feel a sense of power when they write reviews.
  • Increased Sense of Self-worth- Customers feel like they have helped others when they write reviews
  • Creates a Sense of Stewardship- Customers feel good when they help good companies become better.

14. Gather In-app Data

If your company offers customers an app, then it is relatively simple to collect customer satisfaction data from that app. There are several advantages to using in-app data. Wil Shipley says that his app went from thee-stars to 4.75 stars in a week once he started asking customers to rate his app. Enabling feedback within an app is a great way to collect case-specific data that you might otherwise miss. Giving users the choice to always leave feedback allows you to capture feedback when customers are actively engaged with the app. According to Build On Purpose, app feedback has one of the highest feedback rates.

15. Personal Surveys After Contacting Customer Support

Sending a customer a personalized survey right after they have interacted with your customer service team can be a great way to get feedback. Personalizing the survey makes the customer believe you truly care about their experience. Make sure that they only ask relevant questions. Do not ask the same question in many different ways. Keep the survey as short as possible.

Conclusion

Listening to customers is vital to the success of your company. Learn how to use feedback from customers to build a stronger business and watch your return on investment grow. Use these 15 ideas and your own ingenuity to make sure that you never lose track of your customer’s voice.

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Customer Responsiveness: What It Is & How Do I Improve It?

Being both available and reachable for customers is critical for all businesses, big and small. These qualities, or lack thereof, can make or break your business. There are many businesses consumers can choose from, and they are more willing to go with the company that is attentive, and giving them the best service. In the internet age, the consumer is more informed, more vocal, and more willing to share their experiences with other consumers. Improving your company’s customer responsiveness online and off will help to please customers and ensure they purchase from you again and again.

What is Customer Responsiveness?

When someone reaches out to you for customer support, how long does it take for a team member to respond to them? This defines your customer responsiveness. Customer responsiveness measures the speed and quality at which your company provides customer service and communication.

If a customer has to wait five days just for a simple email response, they might be more willing to take their business elsewhere. Not only do you want to focus on being quick to communicate via email, but social media, phone, and all other places that you’re listed online. A poll conducted by The Social Habit shows that, of the people who have attempted to contact a brand, product, or company through social media for customer support, 32% expect a response within 30 minutes. There are certain companies, though, that are awesome at customer service both on and offline—see our favorite customer service examples here.

Benefits of Great Customer Responsiveness

responding to customers

Without great customer responsiveness, you will lose out on returning customers. In fact, you should always be focusing on building great rapport with your clients, and one of the building blocks to a positive relationship is to be mindful of your customers’ issues and questions—that’s where customer responsiveness becomes important.

When you treat all your customers like they are your best customers, they will become your best customers. Did you know that the longer a customer buys from a company, the more expensive their orders get each time? This indicates the incredible value just one customer can have on your business’s success. To keep these valuable customers and turn them into repeat customers, it is vital to have amazing customer service. People want to feel that their money is going to a company that values their business, and nothing says “I don’t care about you” quite like a customer service email address that’s rarely checked.

A Forrester study discovered that 71% of customers say valuing their time is the most important thing a brand can do to provide good customer service. So let’s improve that response time, shall we?

4 Ways to Improve Your Company’s Customer Service Responsiveness

Improve Your Company’s Customer Service Responsiveness

If you’re ready to treat your customer’s as rockstars and benefit from repeat, loyal business, we have some tips for you. The below are four smart ways you can improve your company’s customer service responsiveness in a variety of areas.

  1. Stop making excuses
  2. Make a system (and use it)
  3. Listen on social media
  4. Leverage technology

1. Stop Making Excuses

What do unsuccessful people have in common? They don’t own up to their failures. If they did own up to their failures, they would no longer be unsuccessful. The truth is, succeeding as a business owner means fixing problems when you come across them—it takes work and dedication to succeed, and if you don’t have these two things, customer responsiveness is the least of your worries.

If you do believe in your business, however, and you want to make a positive change, you’ve got to stop making excuses for yourself. Why is your customer service poor? Do you need more employees? Do you need a website update? Have you been slacking on your own responsibilities? Analyze your current customer service process and identify the main issues holding it back from being better.

2. Make a System (and Use it)

Simply relying on your memory is no way to take care of important tasks such as customer responses. To ensure no customer is ignored and every customer is helped within an appropriate timeframe, we recommend establishing some sort of system. Maybe this means your customer service rep blocks out a chunk of time every single day to review all the customer service channels and respond where necessary.

This method is something we’ve recommended for responding to online reviews. Online reviews, by the way, must also be regarded as amazing opportunities to showcase incredible customer service. It is in your best interest to respond to every single review you receive—both positive and negative. Each online review you receive is an opportunity for you to either gain a loyal customer or win over a sour reviewer. You lose out majorly by not responding, especially to negative reviews!

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3. Listen on Social Media

Based on our social statistic above, you can imagine that social media is a breeding ground for both customer service fails and wins. There are plenty of companies who capitalize on Facebook, Yelp, TripAdvisor and more to communicate with their audiences. This helps increase consumer trust, and you can easily be one one of those companies if you make social media combing a part of your customer service response process. If this isn’t something you think you can handle, you may want to hire an in-house or freelance social media specialist to include this in their duties.

If you are online at all (and you should be), it would be a big mistake to ignore all social media platforms. While you don’t need to be on every platform, you can choose one or two that are best for your services or product and audience. Still not convinced? Conversocial reported that only 3% of tweets looking for help from a brand actually tagged the brand. That means an incredible 97% of Twitter users could be tweeting bad or good things about your brand without you even knowing it! Yikes. Any smart brand should realize that listening on social media is crucial to understanding your customer and serving them well. To find mentions of your brand on Twitter even when you’re not tagged, just look up your company name (and common misspellings of it) in the Twitter search box.

4. Leverage technology

responding to customer emails

Thankfully, for all the extra work technology has given us as business owners, it is refreshing to know that there are also some tech-based solutions to help lessen the human workload. Some business processes can be easily automated with the right software solution, and luckily there are a few on the market that helps with the exact customer service responsiveness issues many small businesses suffer from. Because the reality for many small business owners is the lack of employees, certain things like customer service can be difficult to maintain.

If you’re looking to automatically manage your online reputation, identify at-risk customers (listening is key!), and increase leads, this review management system would do you well. You can also invest in handy web chat software to help turn curious website visitors into paying customers.

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Conclusion

Put simply, consumers just want to feel important. They want to know you’re hearing their complaints and their praises. They want to give their money to a company who values them. They want to make relationships with those they spend their money with, and improved customer responsiveness is the fast track to happy, repeat customers.