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Customer feedback: the importance of both positive and negative reviews
No matter if you’re an associate or a CEO, you know how important the relationship you have with your customer is.
All business models rely on one thing: the people who like your product or service, buy it, and keep your company afloat. The rapport you keep with your customers is mission-critical to the success of your business. Some companies even integrate the customer’s voice into their marketing campaigns. Bottom line, the stronger bond you have with your customers, the better grasp you’ll have on how the world views your business.
But first, let’s talk about customer feedback.
What is customer feedback?
At its core, customer feedback is the information you receive from casual customers and loyal brand evangelists alike. This information tells you what they like about your product or service as well as what they don’t like.
Many businesses have tapped into this resource of free criticism to change and improve the products they release to the world. In this article, we’ll explore why listening to both positive and negative customer feedback is important for your company’s growth.
Customer feedback: why should you care?
There are a variety of reasons why you should be taking advantage of customer feedback. Firstly, feedback of any kind will help your business to grow as time goes on. If customers are continually saying they don’t like one feature of your product, you’ll know what you need to tweak for future launches.
Listening to feedback is also important when building a community around your brand. If your buyers are engaging online by writing reviews, tweeting, or discussing your product on an online forum, you should be taking notes! Making suggested changes to your product or brand persona can show your customers that you value their opinion. In turn, this will keep your brand community at the heart of everything you do.
Feedback vs. review
Before we talk about why feedback is instrumental to your company’s growth, we should clarify that feedback and reviews are not the same, but work in tandem.
Feedback is referring to the opinions your customers have about your product or service while reviews can help give your company online social proof. Together, both of these things can help you improve your business and increase your presence both online and in real life.
When someone is thinking about purchasing a product, they’ll most likely look at reviews on sites like Amazon or Yelp. According to a joint study by G2 and Heinz Marketing, reviews are so impactful that 9 out of 10 of buyers are more likely to purchase a product after reading a positive review.
Why feedback is important
There are plenty of reasons why you should want to collect feedback. For this article, we’ll focus on five main reasons.
1. Listening to your customers makes them feel valued
As mentioned before, asking for your customer’s honest opinion will let them know that you value what they have to say. Although not all feedback will be positive, it’s crucial that you welcome negative opinions. In fact, 67% of buyers prefer to see a mix of positive and negative customer reviews.
Surveying for their feedback makes them feel involved in shaping your business which will ultimately make them feel more attached to your company. When someone listens to you, you feel heard and understood. This is exactly what happens when you do the same for your customers. You strengthen that relationship and create irreplaceable brand ambassadors at the same time.
Taking their opinion seriously will also work wonders when it comes to word of mouth marketing. People trust their friends and family before they trust a brand. If someone feels valued by your brand, they’re more likely to tell people about it, making this tactic the easiest and cheapest way to gain new customers.
2. Taking their feedback to heart will help you improve your product
One of the most important and most obvious caveats of asking for feedback is that people will tell you how they really feel. Although some feedback can come off as harsh and negative, these are the people you should be thanking.
A customer’s feedback is a look into how the world likes your product. Someone may be loving one aspect of the product, but absolutely hating how another aspect works. If you make an effort to always be listening to your customers, you will always have a pulse on what works and what really doesn’t. Knowing your weaknesses can help you make the necessary changes, acquire more clients, and increase revenue.
You can have all the professional insights known to man, but your real secret weapon is your own customer base and being aware of your online reputation. Opinions, good or bad, will help you to tweak, change, and evolve your product into something even better than before. When you take feedback into account, you can create a product that not only meets their expectations, but solves the problem.
3. Customer feedback can help you measure customer satisfaction
Your customer’s satisfaction influences your company’s financial success so tracking it is a no-brainer. Their satisfaction is linked to various benefits like lower costs, increased market share, increased customer retention, and higher revenue. Countless studies have shown a clear connection between customer satisfaction and overall company performance so there’s no doubt you want to be tracking how your customers are feeling when it comes to your product/service.
One of the most effective methodologies that companies use to measure customer satisfaction is the net promoter score (NPS). The NPS will ask customers one question to determine how likely it is that a customer would recommend the brand to a friend. The response scale ranges from 0-10, 0 being absolutely not and 10 being absolutely yes. This tactic is quick, easy, and easily implemented which is even more reason for you to use it.
4. Negative feedback gives you the opportunity to prove that you’re listening
When a customer leaves negative feedback, it can be daunting to figure out how best to address their concerns. Especially in our current digital age, online negativity can snowball into something bigger than necessary. However, this negative feedback shouldn’t be seen as a disaster, rather as an opportunity.
Instead of leaving a bad review on your website, they may have commented on your Instagram account or tweeted you. These customers are reaching out to you directly, hoping you’ll do something about their bad experience. These people are the ones that help you to evolve your business and their anger can sometimes be even more valuable than someone’s joy.
These “bad” reviews can actually help you. According to a joint study by G2 and Heinz Marketing, 72% of consumers say that negative reviews help provide depth and insight to a product. This information can help them make an informed decision to either buy your product or move on.
This is where you can play a part. You’ll need to devise a plan to address the unhappy customers’ feedback. This could look like a personal DM, connecting them with a real (not a bot) customer support representative, or sending them extra swag or products as a “sorry”. Taking the blame and fixing their problem will give them the motivation to talk about how you did so online. They may go back and revise their review or tweet about the experience.
When you address the problem head on, you’ll increase the chances that they’ll give your product another go and leave them with a better impression than they started with.
5. Feedback is a great source of information for other consumers
In our social media world, it’s hard to truly trust a brand. Consumers are much more willing to trust their friends or family than an advertisement or chatbot. Better yet, consumers can now access reviews in an instant. Feedback from someone who has already bought and used a product will be seen as a more credible source than any brand initiative so really leaning into reviews can be a great tactic.
Like we discussed before, when someone wants to buy a new computer, they may go online and look up reviews to really make sure the new computer they buy is the right fit. When choosing a restaurant, some people will go to sites like Yelp to give them the low down before they even look at the menu.
Numerous companies have incorporated a review system into their e-commerce process to collect this feedback. This way, they can get instant insight into how their customers feel and if they have ideas on how to improve your product or service. Plus, making your customers voice a focal point of your business will do wonders for your online presence. Whether you’re sending out email newsletters with a review us feature on the bottom or have an onsite pop-up asking for feedback, customer feedback needs to remain top of mind for your organization.
Ask and you shall receive
At the end of the day, your customers should be at the center of your business. To truly improve your product, you should be valuing what they have to say and keep them in the loop on the goings on of your brand. Both sides, customer and company, reap the reward when you keep communication open. Having this communication will create brand advocates that help your brand to shine.