Ever heard the saying, Good words are worth much, and cost little?
Never before have these words been more true. In 2015, digital media is precipitating a word-of-mouth boom. The rise of online platforms that facilitate social commentary, like social media and review sites, means an increase in online presence, where your brand and services can be praised or criticised. Years ago, dissatisfied customers had few options. They could write an angry letter or tell a few of their friends, but, their reach was limited.
Today, the customer is able to open up a line of communication with your business, anytime, anywhere, and with hundreds (sometimes even thousands) of people at once. You are constantly up for review.
This is the evolution of word-of-mouth advertising: millions of people talking to each other online about their interests, likes, and bugbears – with your business thrown in the mix.
So, how can you use this to kick-start your business’ performance?
- Don’t Fear the Big Bad Review
Responding to customer feedback can seem like a daunting proposition. Customers exist on a spectrum from fiercely loyal to extremely fickle. Sure, it’s tempting to delete the comment that drags your business through the mud, but stay strong.
The first step to improving your business is to start by listening to what customers have to say.
- Create a Culture of Positive Engagement
First: Listen to what your customers have to say. Next: Respond.
Whether it’s a good review or a seemingly damning indictment, make sure you respond by commenting. Thank people for their continuing support, or thank them for helping your business grow through constructive criticism.
By politely addressing everyone, your existing clients will see that you care, and your critics and potential customers will see your willingness to improve.
- Adapt to Survive
The market is constantly shifting around human wants and needs. After you’ve replied to a review, make sure you think seriously about the recommended changes.
If the same complaint keeps cropping up, then you have a trend (but not one that you want moving forward). Once you have enough data, actively work on removing the problem.
It’s clear that digital media can no longer be thought of as a passing fad. In fact, online marketing is an immensely powerful tool for you and your business. Use its word-of-mouth mechanisms to foster a support base. Harness its power as a community that can aid your growth and nurture your success.