In our previous articles about listening to customers, we discuss how to listen to angry customers, the importance of using your own products and talking to your customers.

This time, we we look at some other areas for customer feedback: mass outreach and responding to reviews.

Let’s dig in!

Proactively survey your customer base.

You probably have seen an email like this:

If I asked for a show of hands, few of us would click on this. I think the #1 reason is there is no compelling reason WHY we would. “Wanting to understand if we are focusing development efforts right” brings no tangible benefits to me.

Even with a compelling email survey, we won’t get a large number of results. Most are likely to be positive promoters or very negative.

However, it does not hurt, whatsoever to do this. You will gain some insights from your customers.

You can also consider installing HotJar on the website to request feedback. This has been very insightful for me.

In addition, anytime you interact with a customer, seek their thoughts about your brand and products. You can easily ask this question: “do you have any suggestions on how to improve our XYZ product?”

With these surveys, you can get somewhat of a grasp on your overall net promoter score. Hopefully, most are in the 9’s and 10’s. If you are able to interpolate purchase history with the scores, you can also identify whether specific products are likely to increase or decrease your score.

“The key is to set realistic customer expectations and then not to just meet them, but to exceed them—preferably in unexpected ways and helpful ways.” — Richard Branson

Reactively listen to what your customers say about you, publicly.

“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.”

Bill Gates

I hope you consider each of the above points as very important. Even if you dot all of your i’s and cross the t’s, you will inevitably have a bad review.

It’s happened for me. And in my case, the review is anonymous. Worse yet, it doesn’t align with any circumstances that trigger my memory. It is more than likely bogus.

Here is my bad review:

DON’T DO BUSINESS WITH THESE SCAMMERS. THEY WILL ASK FOR MONEY UPFRONT AND DELIVER ZERO. THE WHOLE COMPANY IS RAN BY A FAMILY OF SCAMMERS.

When I saw this for the first time, I was pretty mad: “how dare someone write something bogus about me?” Worse yet, I am not aware of such a situation occurring. I have never taken someone’s money without delivering. There have been a couple of times that we took a pre-payment for hours, and those weren’t fully used, so we refunded the balance back.

From the center of my inner being, I strive to do what is right. Of course, I mess up—but I will apologize.

Despite this, what can I learn?

  • I take this as an opportunity to humbly respond and say thank you.
  • I need to go above and beyond to ensure that I communicate early and often.

Another bad example

On another note, I saw an ad on a website that looked like an interesting Mother’s Day gift for my wife (guys, COVID-19 did not cancel Mother’s Day this year). The website itself was well-done. The prices seemed reasonable.

I searched for this product on Google, and there seemed to be many influencer-related videos and articles (not good indicators about how this product really performed). However, once I found this company’s BBB and TrustPilot pages I fully got the picture. Yes, these places may or may not be legit. There were plenty of really bad reviews. Not a single one has a response.

My guess for this company is that the product works for some people and not for others. And it comes back to expectations. They make it sound easy. One blogger I found said “my first attempt at using … was difficult and it didn’t work out the first time.”

My takeaway is that these reviews should directly influence our marketing efforts.

To summarize

  • Reach out to your customers to find out what they think of you. This must be proactive and it will get in front of the negative publicity.
  • Watch out for any feedback that is shared online. If possible, respond to both the positive and negative feedback.
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