Importance of Customer Satisfaction Ratings
All businesses rely on visibility and searchability. As a business owner, you probably work very hard to ensure you have a cohesive presence on the web. This could include setting up an attractive website, advertising on social media channels, and securing a high search engine ranking. You probably also do whatever you can to ensure your business can offer top-notch inbound customer care that will keep your customers happy. Even with all that going for you, there is another element that is vitally important to your business—customer satisfaction ratings and reviews. No matter how nice your website looks or how great your products and services are, without reviews, you are missing out on potential customers. Consumers are discerning and can see through splashy sales pitches and slick ads. They have been down that road before, only to be disappointed. They need proof that you are going to meet and hopefully exceed their expectations.
Today’s customers rely heavily on reviews to find out if your product or service is worth their time and money. They will look for reviews to find out if your service is friendly, if you deliver in a timely manner, and if your customer service can solve problems when they arise. They not only look for your overall number of reviews and ratings but also for recent reviews. This is key because savvy customers know to check reviews left in the last two or three months. This is why it is important to get a steady stream of new reviews to keep things current. If given the choice between a company with few or outdated reviews or a company with plenty of recent reviews, they will be more likely to choose the latter. Reviews help build trust and represent your brand reputation. Every positive review increases the likelihood that potential customers will feel good about choosing you over a competitor.
Consumers Trust Reviews From Third-Party Sites
While it is a great idea to show positive reviews on your website and social media as proof of your great service, it is also important to ensure customers are leaving reviews on third-party sites like Yelp, Google, and others. Studies show that consumers trust these sites to offer them genuine reviews. But how do you get more reviews? There is good news and bad news here. The good news is that more people than you think are leaving reviews. The bad news is people are more likely to leave a review after a negative experience than they are after a neutral or positive experience. People leave reviews when their experience was in some way out of the ordinary. Unfortunately, some customer experiences stand out because they aren’t good. Fortunately, most customers will give you the opportunity to make it right before they decide to leave a negative review. And if you do make it right, they are more likely to not only give you a good rating, but also to tell a friend, leave positive comments on social media, and return to do business with you again.
Many reviewers won’t feel compelled to leave a review after an unremarkable experience. So how do you encourage people to leave reviews? By ensuring your customer experience is remarkable—in a good way. Inbound customer care is where your business can shine and encourage more of those positive customer reviews.
What is Inbound Customer Care?
Inbound customer care is your dedicated team of customer care specialists who are there to answer questions, solve problems, and ensure your business’s customer experience is smooth and satisfying. This team handles complaints, questions about products, billing, and delivery, and is often responsible for reaching out to ensure your customer is satisfied with the product or service they have received. This also includes other aspects of customer care, such as automated systems, online customer care, and call center representatives. These must all work together to create an inbound customer care system that solves customer problems and creates customer satisfaction.
A business with a robust social media presence should have a dedicated individual or, in some cases, a team that is responsible for fielding questions, comments, and complaints across your company’s social media channels. Quick responses from your inbound customer care team are vital to customer satisfaction and ultimately increase positive customer ratings and reviews. Customers are taking to social media more than ever to ask questions, lodge complaints, and give positive feedback. It is crucial to make sure someone is monitoring your social media channels so nothing falls through the cracks. Online chats, email correspondence, and voicemails must also be part of the exceptional service that leads to happy customers who leave positive reviews.
How Inbound Customer Care Can Improve Customer Satisfaction Ratings
You may think that the most important factor when it comes to gaining positive customer reviews is the quality of the product or service you are offering. While that is certainly important, it isn’t necessarily what brings in the reviews. What makes a customer head to the keyboard and start singing your praises is more often how you made them feel. What matters most to customers is feeling heard, and appreciated, and the extra touches that make your business stand out among the rest. For example, if a customer purchases your product but has some questions, or doesn’t understand something, how does your inbound customer care team handle it? Did they brush the customer off? After all, you already got the sale. Or, did they tell the customer the answers to their questions are “on the website” or in the brochure that came with the product? Did they just send a link or give a brief explanation, then tell the customer to have a nice day?
Did they take the time to cheerfully and thoroughly give the customer answers to all their questions? Does your team member ask questions of their own to ensure your customer truly understands the information they have been given? Do they make sure the customer feels heard and satisfied? This is how you turn a customer into a loyal fan who leaves reviews and tells their friends about your company. Tip: It’s okay to ask your customers for reviews! Don’t be shy. Let customers know how important reviews are to your business. Sometimes they just don’t realize how important reviews are. Share that information with them and invite them to leave their reviews on your site or any third-party sites where your business is listed.
What Are Some Ways You Can Stand Out When It Comes To Inbound Customer Care?
The importance of communication skills cannot be overstated. When your customer care team understands how to use communication to better serve your customers, everyone wins. It sounds simple, but there are many well-intentioned people who don’t have the soft skills needed to field questions, de-escalate, listen deeply, empathize, ask the right questions, and explain things in a way that makes sense.
Building Trust and Loyalty
When customers trust you, they become loyal. Loyal customers are more likely to leave positive reviews and spread the word about your business. When you solve problems in a timely manner, you let your customers know they can trust you when things are going smoothly, and when things aren’t going so smoothly. Customers understand that things happen. They also know there is a difference between a company that makes things right and those that don’t.
Personalized Customer Care
No one wants to feel like they are just a number. When you offer personalized customer care that treats people like the unique individuals they are, you create relationships. Fostering those relationships can help your business win high ratings from loyal customers. Get in the habit of using your customer’s name and keeping copious notes about each and every interaction. This way, the next time you interact with this customer, they feel like you know them.
Effective Problem Solving
An empowered, knowledgeable inbound customer care team can solve problems effectively and efficiently. This means customers aren’t handed off from an automated service to two or three people who can’t help them before they are put on hold and leave the call without their problem being solved. This lack of customer care is all too common and is the quickest way to a negative review.
Timely Response and Follow-Up
No one likes to be left waiting in limbo, wondering if the solution is ever coming. Responding quickly to emails, social media comments, messages, and calls is part of excellent customer care. Following up and making sure the customer is satisfied means going the extra mile. This should be the rule, not the exception. This might sound like a lot, but the above examples of quality inbound customer care have a direct impact on the number of reviews your business receives. New, positive reviews are what bring in new customers and increase your sales.
Best Practices for Inbound Customer Care
Active Listening and Empathy
We live in a busy, distracted world. People want to be heard, and they want to feel understood. Everything else springs from this. If you have the ability to truly listen and empathize with your customers, you’ve won half the battle.
Training and Development of Customer Care Representatives
Ongoing training is essential if you want to have a team that excels in serving your customers. Product and service knowledge, combined with soft skills, are what will set your team apart from the rest.
Technology and Tools for Inbound Customer Care
Software that streamlines processes and hardware that makes helping customers a breeze are both worthwhile investments for your business. Call center infrastructure must be reliable in order to offer a seamless customer experience.
Continuous Improvement and Feedback Mechanisms
There is always room for improvement when it comes to providing exceptional service. By utilizing feedback and making continuous positive changes, you are able to grow and serve your customers better over time.
Customer Service Isn’t About Perfection
If you think excellent customer service means you never make mistakes, you couldn’t be more wrong! Mistakes happen. In the course of a normal business day, dozens of things can go wrong. Human error, equipment failure, technical difficulties, problems with third-party suppliers, and transportation, just to name a few. Inbound customer care isn’t about avoiding problems, it’s about solving them and transforming them into opportunities to increase customer satisfaction and loyalty. As an example, let’s say your customer discovers they were charged twice for a product or service. This is a problem, and most likely, the customer will call you, anxious and possibly angry. You could fix the problem quickly and send them on their way, and that would be fine. But why not go the extra mile and offer something for the inconvenience?
Going the extra mile is what sticks in people’s minds. In this Forbes article, the author relays a story about the loss of her beloved dog. When Chewy, a popular pet product supplier known for great service, found out about the loss, they sent flowers and a card to the bereaved pet owners. Talk about going the extra mile. This impacted the author so greatly that she wrote an article about it in a nationally known publication. How’s that for impact?
Are You Ready?
Is it time to supercharge your inbound customer care? How can you make it happen? Remember, your customer care team is what increases customer satisfaction. Satisfied customers lead to brand loyalty and positive reviews and ratings for your business. It has never been more important to offer customers services and products they can trust.
How can you implement what you have learned?
A good customer service team is always learning and growing and understands how technology + human touch = efficient, effective, and positive customer care interactions.
Outsourcing your inbound customer care allows you and your business to continue doing what you do best while feeling confident that your customers are well taken care of by a team of professionals with the skills needed to surpass your customer’s expectations. If you want to know more about how Millennial Services can elevate your inbound customer care, contact us today.