Do Customers Really Trust Your Business?

Do Customers Really Trust Your Business?

I’m sure your gut reaction says that yes, they do, but how can you prove it?

 

Let’s look at this from the customer’s point of view. If they are looking for the kind of service you provide, how does your business prove to those customers that you’re the best company for them?

 

The answer is, they look at your track record, and the quickest way for them to get a good idea is from your past clients who have already employed you to do the job that this new customer wants. So, they look at your reviews.

 

Online reviews and recommendations are now incredibly important, in fact they have contributed to the biggest shift in consumer buying in the last 100 years and few businesses are really harnessing their power.

 

Do you know how many reviews an average consumer will look up before making a decision?

It’s 10, yes that’s right, TEN.

 

If your business doesn’t have 10 reviews online then you’re giving your next potential customer their first reason not to get in touch with you (Source: Brightlocal).

 

Taking this one step further, the number of reviews that a consumer wants to see before they trust a business is actually very similar. Studies report that consumers want to see between 6 and 10 5 star reviews before they think a business is trustworthy (Source: Searchengineland).

 

The bottom line is that without those 5 Star reviews, your business isn’t trusted online. And that’s what we’re here to help you solve: How to Build Your 5 Star Reputation.

 

You might think that this sounds a little extreme, after all, how many people really read reviews?

 

Astonishingly, 97% of consumers aged 18-34 read online reviews to judge a local business (2015 local consumer review survey). This age group are the millennials, the next group of buyers. When 97% of them are using reviews to judge a local business before they call, or before they set an appointment, and way before they spend any money, it means improving your reputation is the most critical thing that you can do online for your marketing and to get customers.

 

If you’re sitting there feeling quite smug, knowing that millennials aren’t your target audience therefore online reviews and reputation needn’t concern you. WRONG.

 

If you widen the statistics for the whole population, that is ALL age groups, it’s 92% of consumers now read online reviews for local businesses (2015 local consumer review survey).

 

So how does increasing your positive reviews actually translate to an increase in business?

The University of California Berkeley published the results of a study of 328 businesses where they found that by increasing the rating by just half a star could increase revenues by 19% (Source: Economic Journal).

 

More importantly when we asked consumers – when you’re searching for a business online who would you call first? Only 18% said they would call a business that actually showed up at the top of the search results. 27% said they would choose the cheapest service. However, the majority of respondents said they would call the business with the best reputation.

 

The game of marketing has changed dramatically. You don’t need to be the business with the best SEO, and you shouldn’t have to offer the biggest discounts to attract peoples’ attention. What your customers are looking for is the most reputable company to do business with. Which is something we all should have been aiming for all along!

 

The next step for you to take is to implement a 5 Star Review strategy. Find out how to do this by signing up for our free report below.

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What does your Feedback REALLY tell us?

What does your Feedback REALLY tell us?

Feedback

Online Reviews are now used by consumers for almost all products and services to help them make purchase decisions, choose holidays or restaurants and to help make informed choices about local service providers such as Dentists, Estate Agents, Car Dealerships or Solicitors.

Genuine reviews are an incredibly valuable tool for businesses as they boost customer confidence, show social proof of good relationships and provide an ongoing narrative of business performance through the eyes of its users. One statistic that we love (so much so that it’s on the back of our business cards!) is that 70 per cent of consumers trust online ratings as much as a personal recommendation (Local Consumer Review Survey).

Taking this into consideration it’s a good idea to put a system in place to make sure you are capturing this valuable feedback from your happy customers so that you can display it and use it to encourage more customers and business growth.

Having said all this, there is a darker side and that is fake reviews. There are plenty of less than scrupulous businesses out there who try and promote themselves and their reputation by adding false, positive sounding testimonials. These can not only reflect badly on the business that is doing it, but leads to a level of consumer distrust that can spill over to businesses whose reviews are genuine.

Luckily for everyone, there are some key indicators to look for in reviews to help weed out the fakes from the real thing. Here are my top guidelines for eagle eyed review spotters:

How many reviews are there?

The more reviews, the better, especially if they stretch back over a few years. Adding hundreds of fakes over a long period of time is incredibly hard for anyone to keep up, so if the company you’re looking at has a long track record of reviews then they are probably the real deal.

Look for the Not so perfect comments

In real life, nothing is perfect. Real reviewers, even those who’ve had a good experience will often leave a review that is only 3 or 4 stars out of 5, or a comment along the lines of “overall our service was good, but XXX wasn’t exactly what I wanted.”

These less than perfect scores actually add a degree of authenticity. After all, who would go to the trouble of leaving a fake review that was only 3 stars?

Has the company left any replies?

If the company you’re looking at has a string of reviews online and has made some effort to comment back then you know they’re monitoring their reviews. Typically this means that they’re interested to know what their clients think, they may even be asking people to leave reviews on certain sites. Again, if they were leaving the positive comments there themselves they probably wouldn’t also be commenting on them. Likewise, if they are commenting on negative reviews you know their reputation matters enough to them to try and put things right.

Are the reviews on third party sites?

We’ve all seen company websites with a testimonial page filled with positive messages from “Mrs D” or “Anonymous, 35”. Although these pages seem to be popular with many businesses they don’t actually prove anything – the business can choose what to post on its own website and by not showing real names or customer profiles it’s difficult for anyone to decipher if these comments are real or how long they have been there.

Instead, look for reviews on third party sites such as Google, Yell or FreeIndex. These sites are incredibly hard to hack with fake reviews and you should be able to see some profile details of any reviewers you are interested in.

How much detail is there?

The majority of real reviewers don’t actually write very much detail in their review. Often it could be something very brief, such as “Thanks for the great service” or “Brilliant, would recommend”. While these short recommendations might not be very helpful to people thinking of using that company, at least if there are plenty of them it should give some idea of a general pattern of service.

On the flip side, real negative reviews tend to be long because the person has genuine problems to vent or rant over.

Finally, remember that MOST reviews are positive. It’s hard for companies to leave multiple fake reviews! If you have any questions about a particular company then why not ask them to put you in touch with a previous customer or patient who can tell you about their experiences?

What are your thoughts on reviews? Do you read reviews of businesses you are planning on using? Leave your comments below!

 

5 Ways To Add Social Proof To Your Website

5 Ways To Add Social Proof To Your Website

5 Ways To Add Social Proof To Your Website

Social ProofThe term Social Proof seems to be popping up more and more in relation to brands and marketing, although the concept itself is far from new. For those of you who haven’t come across it, Social Proof is the positive influence created when someone finds out that others are doing something.

According to Wikipedia, “Social proof is a type of conformity. When a person is in a situation where they are unsure of the correct way to behave, they will often look to others for cues concerning the correct behaviour. When “we conform because we believe that other’s interpretation of an ambiguous situation is more accurate than ours and will help us choose an appropriate course of action,” it is informational social influence.”

So how does this relate to your business? Put simply, people want to see that others have worked with you, or bought from you, or would recommend you. They want to know that they are not a guinea pig for your services, and if they can see that other people have been there and done that, it makes it an easier decision for them to go ahead and do it too.

Leveraging Social Proof on your website is a great way to help you influence buyers, improve your conversion rates and enhance your reputation at the same time. There are plenty of ways you can achieve this, here are my top 5.

  1. Reviews

Product reviews are something we’re all really familiar with. They’ve become part and parcel of the way we buy. Think about some of the biggest sites on the internet: Amazon, Trip Advisor, eBay; they are all well known for promoting products via other peoples’ reviews. Whether you’re buying a holiday, a car or a blender the chances are you will look that product up online and see what has been said about it.

If your business sells products, then you need to make sure there are some reviews of those products for your other customers to read

  1. Testimonials

A testimonial from someone can have incredible power over other potential buyers. They show that you can be trusted and that you are approachable because other people who are independent of your business are telling them to choose you. Video testimonials can be particularly persuasive as the person watching the video can get a real sense of how genuine your business is. Well placed, well worded testimonials on your website can leave a lasting impression over and above any other words you’ve written.

  1. Case Studies

Case studies take testimonials to a whole other level, offering a more in depth look at a particular relationship. Buyers, especially those considering a more expensive purchase, or those thinking about embarking on a longer term working relationship with you want to be able to envision the entire process from start to finish. Case studies that take people on a journey of what to expect, perhaps even including a few bumps in the road, can prove to potential partners that you are in it for the long haul. By showing that you have established good long term relationships with existing customers from a similar background to your prospect’s  you are enabling those prospects to picture themselves working with you too.

  1. Endorsements

In certain situations finding someone to endorse your brand can work wonders for attracting new customers by positively impacting your brand. A local Celebrity, business leader or other well known figure who is happy to lend their name and a few comments to your website or marketing collateral can mean that they also bring their fans and followers to your brand too. By having a big name associated with your business you will be seen as a leader, which is the kind of powerful social proof that many brands aspire to. If an endorsement sounds like something you’d like to do, think carefully about who your ideal customer is and choose a figurehead that represents both you and them. An endorsement from an inappropriate name will only confuse your customers and may even turn some people off.

  1. User Generated Content

User generated content is any content that is posted by your customers. It might be your Dental patients posting pictures of their new smile to Facebook, or someone mentioning your Estate agency in a picture of them getting their new house keys. User generated content, particularly image and video is fantastic as it shows real interaction with your brand. One way to encourage this is to ask people make a short video and post it to YouTube, or to ask people who visit to check in on Facebook. If you run any kind of event then make sure to let people know that you have a hashtag for it.

It’s not always easy to get people to interact with your business, but if you persevere you’ll find that the more people who join in, then the easier it will get. Few people want to be seen as the only one liking something, or to be the only one with their name on your website. Flip that around, and if you have photographs of 20 happy customers who have all left great reviews of you online, then more people will want to join in with that.

Social Proof is all about people and relationships, and if you invest in your customers with a great service then they will be happy to share your business with their friends and family. Every single person you interact with has the potential to tell others. What will they say about you?

Your Reputation Is and Always Has Been Your Biggest Competitive Advantage

Your Reputation Is and Always Has Been Your Biggest Competitive Advantage

Your Reputation Is and Always Has Been Your Biggest Competitive Advantage

Business ReputationReputation has always been important to any business. For many businesses, word of mouth and referrals from customers has been a big part of their growth strategy. Even companies with teams of salespeople and generous marketing budgets rely on their brand name and reputation to help seal their deals.

In the last few years thanks to the growth of the Internet and social media we’ve seen huge changes to how people interact with brands, and businesses that have struggled to adapt to the change of pace have seen their online reputation out of sync with their real world persona.

Businesses of every type who don’t take care of their online reputation are missing out on customers. This may sound like a bold statement, but it’s true.

Think about when you last wanted to buy something, or the last time you were looking for cinema listings or a restaurant. What about the last time you needed some information? The chances are you Googled it. Every time we need inspiration and turn to the internet what we’re really looking for is articles, videos, reviews or blogs to show us the answer, or let us know that what we’re interested in is approved or enjoyed by others too. Or the opposite!

The point is, that what we’re searching for is actually the human connection, because people want to connect with other people. We go online to share information and ideas, to find out on social media what our friends have been doing and to see what is liked, what is popular and what is newsworthy. We are connecting with other people, and brands that we like and are interested in.

This is where business reputation becomes even more important because increasingly, the businesses we are most likely to spend our money with are the ones we have the biggest emotional connection to.
When people are looking for opinions and recommendations whether it is for a Dentist, Lawyer or Cake Shop, the online opinion will be formed by the online content that is shared by your brand well before they get to the point of considering speaking to you in person.

And no matter what kind of business you have, increasingly, we’re using online content and social connections to help us with our buying decisions. Think about the three most used websites right now – Google, Facebook and YouTube. All of these sites are about Content and Connections. So if you want your business to stand out from the crowd you should make sure that you stand out where it matters online. One of the most obvious features that can set you apart from your competitors is Online Reviews.

If your business has had a great offline presence but has never focussed on its online presence, all it takes is one person to undo years of hard work by leaving a bad review and sharing it on social media. A bad review is someone telling the world that you don’t care about your customers and in a world where social connections are the new word of mouth, caring about what people say about you is your Strongest Competitive Advantage.

Please get in touch to find out how we can help you with bad reviews online

How Do I Remove a Page From Google?

How Do I Remove a Page From Google?

How Do I Remove a Page From Google?

As a business owner, when somebody publishes something online about your business which casts your business in a negative light for everyone to see it can be quite distressing. Especially if that page talks about an unhappy experience received by a past client. For most people, the first thing that comes to mind is, “I want this page removed from Google!” and that leads to the question, “How can we get this page removed from Google?”

Contrary to popular belief Google does not own the internet, so when you search using Google you are not searching the whole internet you are searching Google’s stored version of the internet. Therefore even if Google does remove the page from its index then it will still be publically available from other search engines, social media sites or other links that people may have saved elsewhere.

3 Tips on Removing a Web page From Google!

1. Contact the person who wrote the negative piece and ask them to remove it.

If the negative comment is in the form of a review on a local business directory site or a review site then you could reach out to the person who left the review and try understanding exactly what their issue is and more importantly what you, as a business can do to make it better. Quite often people leave negative comments and reviews out of sheer frustration. If you or someone from within your business can reach out to that person and take ownership of the situation then work toward a resolution, that person may be willing to remove their review. You may even get the reviewer to edit the review to reflect the way the situation was handled, how they are now a satisfied client and they would recommend you.

In some cases this may not be possible, the reviewer may have chosen to remain anonymous or there may be action for recourse. If this is the case then you may want to look at the next option.

2. Contact the website owner

If the reviewer refuses to remove or edit their comments then your next step will be to contact the website owner and ask them if they will remove the content.

If the contact details of the website owner are not available then you can use the whois utility. to look up information on domain names.  This includes contact information as well as some technical information such as the domain’s name servers (DNS), to try to uncover details such as the web host and contact them putting forward the reasons why you would like the content removed.

Again this might prove tricky as many website owners are reluctant to move content, especially if the content is true and is supported.

Another reason why this approach may prove counterproductive is that the website owner may publish your request to remove the content. This will mean something that could have been years old will now get fresh content added to it which will increase the relevancy of the content in the eyes of the search engines.

3. Be proactive with your reputation.

Clients and consumers have more and more ways to publish their experiences about your business online. Whether you agree with that or support that it doesn’t matter because that is fact. It is not difficult for a consumer to open a web browser on their phone, sign on to Facebook, Twitter or Google+ and tell everyone they know and the entire internet about your business. It happens each and every day to businesses up and down the country. So rather than sitting back, thinking that everything is hunky dory and waiting for a disgruntled client to talk about your business online and then go into fire fighting mode – “How can I get this page removed from Google?” “Can I sue this person?” – be proactive about your online presence.

The more information you provide the search engines that is relevant about your business the better. Why? Because when someone says something negative then the searching public, your prospective customers and your existing business partners know that the comment is out of character and will simply dismiss it as a one off, especially when they can see all the great work that you do.

Testimonials for satisfied customers, news about the charity work you are doing, stories about new employees, business growth, accreditations; all of this information can be provided to the search engines and if other searchers find it relevant they will like it, comment on it and share it so the search engines will pick up on the relevance and include the results when people search on your business name.

One negative comment, review or web page among 10, 20 or 50 positive stories won’t be something to worry about; it will simply show your business for who you really are. The sooner you start to think proactively about your online reputation and less from a defensive stand point the greater position you will be in when the negative review turns up and the question “How do I remove this page from Google?” may not even need to cross your lips!

7 Ways To Get People To Visit Your Business Website

7 Ways To Get People To Visit Your Business Website

7 Ways To Get People To Visit Your Business Website

Getting a new website is an exciting time for any business, but that joy can soon be overshadowed when you find out that visiting numbers are small and conversions are few and far between. In this post we highlight several methods that you can employ to ensure that your website is a hot bed of activity!

Short, Snappy and to the Point!

business website - get to the point

If you plan to use your website as key tool in your sales cycle, providing valuable information, giving potential clients the opportunity to learn more about you and the way you do business, or quite simply to buy your services and products then you need to make sure that the name of your website or your domain name is memorable. If your domain name is overly complicated or difficult to spell then you may find that a large percentage of potential clients go somewhere else.

Go Offline to Drive Online

business website - man delivering post

The purpose of a website is to attract business from the hundreds of millions of users that are already online so why would you want to advertise offline? Because dependent on your target demographic there may be a large percentage of your market that still prefer, read and react to offline advertisements.

Advertise in your local newspaper, send out a press release about your new site to the local newspaper or a trade magazine, or place an advert on the local radio station with a strong call to action directing the reader back to your website.

Notify Your Existing Client Base.

business website

Your Business website is a not just a tool for lead generation. It is also a valuable resource for informing existing and past clients about your business, providing useful information about the services they receive and valuable resources on how to get the best out of your services. It can also be used for informing clients how and where they can contact you if and when a problem arises, outlining the process and procedures that are in place for them to follow to reach resolution in a shorter time scale. This is important in aiding the customer and reducing the impact on your customer care department.

Send an email or a series of emails to your existing database, or invest in a mailing list so you can inform those that have showed interest in the past, or people who fit your targeted demographic, about your website. Make sure that you follow the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations:

  • Have the person’s permission to send the email
  • Provide a means for the recipient to unsubscribe from future mailings.

Email should be an integral part of your marketing campaign, as such there should always be a method for new visitors of your website to sign up to your mailing list to learn more about your business. A good way to incentivise this is to provide a free giveaway; this could be a series of videos, a report or an eBook that would be of value to your potential clients and in the process help highlight your expertise in your field.

Market using the Search Engines

business website

You can use a service such as Google Adwords to pay for a short advert that provides a link back to your website in the Google search results when somebody searches for keywords and phrases related to your business and or niche. You only pay for this service when an interested party clicks on that link and visits your website.

Search engine marketing can send a lot of traffic to your website in a short amount of time and therefore it is very important to have a plan in place as to how you deal with those visitors when they arrive on your site. Consider the following to improve your conversion rate of visitors to leads:

Select the right keywords or phrases

  1. Use targeted ad text
  2. Provide a call to action in the ad
  3. Send the users to a specific landing page.
  4. Provide a free giveaway to gain access to the users email address.
  5. Make it extremely easy for the user to contact you or leave their details.

To learn more about Pay Per Click Advertising click here!

Optimise your website for search engines.

business website

Search engine optimisation is where you optimise the content on your website to appear higher up in the natural search engine results. The net effect is similar to search engine marketing; effectively your business website gets the vast majority of clicks from people searching for your keywords or phrases.

The main difference being that with search engine optimisation you do not pay for each click as your website is deemed a trusted authority for the keyword term and the clicks and visitors are free. This means you can benefit from search traffic without worrying about daily costs per click advertising budgets.

Although this may seem a far more sensible option than Pay per click advertising it can often take months of hard work and investment to get your website to be deemed as the authority.  And, as is the case in business there is always a new website or a new business that is looking to challenge and take your place; search engine optimisation is not a set and forget strategy! It requires constant work in order to maintain and improve.

Get Social

business websiteSocial media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ are great ways for your business to connect with your target audience and build an enthused community of people that share in the interests of your business.

Social media is also a great way to disseminate messages to your existing customer bases and share great news stories and of course fun events that make people smile and share with their friends and family.

Make sure that you have a plan for your social media campaign because although social media is a free resource, the time needed to develop and maintain interests on social media can be a significant drain on resources.

Ask Your Clients to Tell A friend


business website

Encourage your happy clients to share their great experiences of your business to their family and friends, ask your happy clients to share their experiences by leaving reviews and testimonials of your business and then use these positive endorsements to attract more targeted clients to your website.

Your existing customers are the best advocates for your business or your brand so encourage them to share your website with people that they know. Word of mouth marketing is one of the best marketing sources on the planet!

How to Get Maximum Impact From Customer Testimonials

How to Get Maximum Impact From Customer Testimonials

How to Get Maximum Impact From Customer Testimonials.

customer testimonialsNo business can function without customers, and the best customers are happy customers. As a business owner, or Account Manager there is often no better feeling than getting glowing, positive feedback from a customer or client, especially when that customer testimonial is written down and can be posted for all the world to see.

Why is it then that so many businesses who go to the trouble of collecting this valuable feedback from happy clients then just add it to a file and never let it see the light of day again?

Positive feedback from customers is one of the best assets that your business could have. It allows you to differentiate yourself from your competitors, it proves you do what you promise, and it shows potential new customers that others have tried and tested your process and are happy with the outcome.

Perhaps one of the most common uses of customer testimonials is to create a Testimonial page on your company website. Whilst this is great and it certainly means the reviews are in the public domain, it’s not a proactive use of your great asset, as it relies on people already being on your website in order to see them. Instead, go the extra mile and use the great reviews like a magnet to draw people into your business.

How?

Local business review sites such as Yell and Yelp are great for collecting reviews, not least because these sites rank well with search engines. Reviews that your business gathers on directory sites can be used to help strengthen your search engine position, particularly as Google + Local now collates information from many of these directories and displays them on your business’s Google + page. By encouraging happy customers to leave reviews you can also negate the impact of any negative reviews that have already been left there. Unfortunately, people are more likely to leave a negative review than a positive one, so if this has happened to your business then don’t bury your head in the sand. Encouraging positivity is one way to deal with this.

If you are asking a lot of customers to leave reviews (and you should be!) it’s a good idea to set up a specific page to capture their reviews. This way there is one clear place for customers to go and post, rather than giving them a choice of multiple review sites. It also saves your customers from having to take the extra step of signing up to the directory site as a member before their review can be accepted. We have our own site, www.reviewbigthinkingonline.com to collect reviews from clients. This means that we can direct all customers to one place and ensure we capture all reviews whether good or bad. Once you have reviews and permission to reproduce them you need to try and get them seen by the biggest audience possible.

If you already send out email updates or a regular newsletter you could add your new positive testimonials on to that.

Marketing Material such as brochures, posters and leaflets is great to put testimonials on. If you are at a trade show, or somewhere else where people might pick up your details for the first time a quote from a happy customer can be really eye catching. You could even put quotes on the back of your business cards.

Social Media is another area that you can use to spread the word about your happy customers. It could help you with creating a buzz around your brand, and the more people who see others talking about the great service they’ve had then the more likely they will be to get in touch themselves.

Using your testimonials to market our business can be very powerful, the possibilities are only limited by your creativity.

So whether it’s putting the positive reviews together in a video on YouTube, or having them printed on pens just don’t leave them on a forgotten page of your website, or even worse in a filing cabinet draw.

Is Your Online Presence up to Standard For 2013?

Is Your Online Presence up to Standard For 2013?

Is Your Online Presence up to Standard For 2013?

online presence 2013This week the UK’s biggest department store chain, John Lewis, announced their incredible December sales figures: growth of 13%. This was despite poor performance in the retail sector in general and partly due to Internet sales growth of 44% on last year.

John Lewis’s managing director, Andy Street said, “That hour when we opened our clearance website, at 5 o’clock on Christmas Eve, was our single busiest day online, ever.”

It isn’t just John Lewis who have noticed a huge increase in online customers either. Information service Experian announced record numbers of people visited UK retailers’ websites over the festive period. UK internet users made 84 million visits to retail websites on Christmas Eve and 107 million visits on Christmas Day, up 86% and 71% respectively compared to the same days in December 2011, according to Experian. The Boxing Day level – 113 million visits – was 17% up on the same day in 2011.

The growth of the internet means that shoppers are using digital devices such as tablets and smartphones to search for bargains – then only travel to those specific shops to buy those items if they need to.

So what does this mean for non-retail businesses?

With consumers becoming more and more accustomed to being able to check online for what they want, when they want it, the online trend is only set to get bigger and bigger. People no longer need to rely on information they get from friends and family – they have the whole world at their fingertips via the internet.

It means that whatever service someone requires, whether it’s a builder, solicitor, Dentist, Accountant or Beauty Salon, they can find the information online, research several companies, get reviews from other customers and potentially have made up their minds on which one they will use before they even pick up the phone to enquire in person.

Whatever line of business you are in, you need to ensure that your business can be found immediately that people search for you online. Whether or not they know your business name, if they search for your type of business, in your local area you need to be found. Even if your business demands that sales are made offline (like a Dentist, or Beauty Salon) people still need to be able to look for and research you online.

The internet means that even small businesses tucked away on quiet roads can compete with much bigger high street premises. With all the potential competitors out there, once someone has done a search on the internet they are presented with what can fit on to one page of the screen. Suddenly, your competition isn’t every business in the area, it’s those 7 or 8 businesses whose online presence is good enough to put them on the front page.

online reputation managementFor any business, reputation has always been important, but now that so much business and research is done online with less human involvement from the business in question, online reputation management has suddenly become even more important. Unless your business’s internet presence is top notch, you could be losing business hand over fist and not even know about it.

John Lewis has managed to do what an awful lot of businesses haven’t: they’ve kept their department store business strong and also built up an excellent Internet business that leverages the brands great reputation.  If they hadn’t built up their internet business, things could have been very different – there is already a long list of now closed down high street names who failed to capitalise online.

Don’t let your lack of an online presence make 2013 an unlucky year for your business!

Customer Complaints in the Age of Google

Customer Complaints in the Age of Google

Customer Complaints in the Age of Google

customer complaints

In the book “How to win customers and keep them for life”, Michael LeBouef shares the following: A typical business hears from only 4 percent of its dissatisfied customers. The other 96 percent just quietly go away and 91 percent will never come back.

That represents a serious financial loss for companies who don’t deal with disgruntled customers, and a tremendous gain to those that do.

In the past, the 4 percent who are not willing to simply walk away when they feel they have not received the service they experienced may have asked to speak to the manager, filled out a complaint form, gone to the customer service desk or sent a letter to the managing director or owner of the business.

If you have ever left a complaint before you will know that not every business gets back to you. There are also those businesses that instead of trying to understand the cause of the problem look to defend through attacking you and the reason for the complaint, leaving a bitter taste in your mouth.

Now there are far easier ways for disgruntled customers to leave their opinions about businesses and how poorly they have performed, putting pressure on said businesses to view and act up on these complaints because they are made in a public forum.

Sure, you have probably all witnessed complaints and negative comments on social media sites where somebody sends a tweet, or writes a post saying how poorly they have been treated or how the service they received by no means reached their level of expectations.

Well during the release of Google’s latest smartphone, the Google Nexus 4, there have been problems with delivery and this has caused more than one complaint and some severe negative criticism globally across the internet. Rather than bombarding help lines, one savvy user took to the internet and leveraged Google products: Goole docs, Google sites, Gmail and Google+, to highlight the growing concern about communication from the company around the internet.

In short, a basic website was setup, including a register where customers who purchased the Google Nexus phone and were awaiting delivery could leave their details and outline their own problem. The site also included a chronological list of communications sent to and from the MD of Google in the UK, Dan Cobley. Communications begin on the 14/12/12 and are updated when new information is posted. The site also posts updates from the various news outlets that have picked up the story such as: Thenextweb, Gizmodo, the Guardian, techcrunch and businessinsider to name a few.

The original letter to Google can be found here

The majority of people are not going to have the same level of skills as Andy, the man responsible for setting up the register, or the acumen to put together what comes across as a structured and well thought out campaign to get Google, one of the largest organisations on the planet, to take notice and respond.

That being said it is not that difficult to set up, Google has provided everyone the tools to do it. Ironically if you don’t know how to use them then you can simply go to another member of the Google product family, YouTube, search on how to set up a Google website and you will find dozens upon dozens of videos that walk you through exactly how to do it. Then you can use Google tools to share the website across the internet so it has the potential to go viral, as is the case with this!

Credit where credit is due

Not only is credit due to Andy for the campaign but also to Dan Cobley – MD of Google UK for the way in which he personally has taken the time to respond and manage the situation. And if you look into the timings of the responses these also land over the weekend ratifying the fact that Google are working evenings and weekends to rectify the situation.

“We are all working through the nights and weekends to resolve this issue, including the seven points you raise. I can offer an unreserved apology for our service and communication failures in this process. I am optimistic that we will be able to share some positive news shortly, but I do not want to cause any more disappointment by making a commitment until we are 100% sure we can deliver on it. “

We all know words count for very little and it is the action of fulfilling the orders that will rectify the situation but by being upfront and setting expectations that there is no immediate fix, Google are managing the situation well and showing that they do care and that they do function to serve their users. They have admitted to failing the customer and are desperately trying to set it right.

Any Business can be Publicly Criticised

If Google can get called out from behind the ivory towers there is no reason why any business, no matter how big or how small, can receive the same treatment.

So if you can’t or don’t deliver on what you say you are going to deliver, be prepared for the repercussions – Google style!

Is Your Online Reputation Quietly Killing Your Ad Campaign?

Is Your Online Reputation Quietly Killing Your Ad Campaign?

Is Your Online Reputation Quietly Killing Your Ad Campaign?

Advertising is an investment, in some cases a very expensive and time consuming one, but the way consumers respond to advertising is changing. The internet has allowed consumers to research every detail of your company and brand, in many cases uncovering details that you may not even know were there to be found. This means that people won’t just believe the information that advertisers put in front of them. They will want to do their own research and check that not only is the offer you are advertising exactly what it seems, but also whether or not your business is one that they want to spend money with.

When setting up a new marketing campaign there are already plenty of things to consider, such as:

  • Who is your intended target?
  • What is your message?
  • What do you want to achieve from the campaign?
  • How will you measure the responses?

And now something else needs to be added to that list:

  • What will people see when they search for us?

Let me give you an example. A few weeks ago I had a postcard through the door from a local firm offering their services. The postcard was of very high quality, the printing was well done, the postcard was eye catching, well written and crucially for this business it did its job; I was interested and impressed enough to Google them!

Unfortunately, what I found there was a different story! The search engines pulled up plenty of information on the company in question, mostly in the form of bad reviews from unhappy customers. Was I still interested in using their services? Absolutely not!

Before spending any money on an expensive new advertising campaign, research your brand as a potential client might and see what you find. Perhaps instead of focusing on single campaigns, businesses should be considering how they can spread their overall influence to a bigger group through working on their online reputation.

online reputation

Online Reputation is fast becoming one of the biggest assets a brand can have. What is said about you and your business on internet forums, social media and directory review sites is often beyond your control, yet the comments there can make or break your reputation.

Online Reviews are a huge influencer, with approximately 72% of consumers trusting online reviews as much as personal recommendations, and 52% saying that positive online reviews make them more likely to use a local business (Local Consumer Review Survey 2012).

As well as getting an idea of what is being said about you, you also need to understand the social influence of your own loyal consumers. If you can engage your own customers and encourage them to leave their own positive reviews of their experience with your company then you could leverage an incredibly powerful resource for your brand.

Marketers are always looking for the best way to increase their brand presence and market share. The internet has opened new doors for everyone and means that small local businesses can compete on the same level as much larger rivals.

Don’t let your online reputation get away from you, because if it does it could quietly kill off all the good work you do elsewhere.