Customer review sites provide a great source of feedback about your business. On these review sites you can engage happy customers, solve customer problems, and use your responsiveness to create a positive image of the business. Learn how to utilize customer feedback from sites like Yelp and Google to identify broader trends and areas of improvement.
- If your customers are reviewing you business online, it's important to listen to what they're saying. Some customer service leaders think review sites are just a place for customers to vent. Or they worry that most of the reviews are fake. Let's take a closer look at the facts. Two-thirds of Yelp reviews are four or five stars. 43% are five stars. So most customers are actually leaving positive reviews. What about the notion that online reviews are fake? This one has some truth to it.
A 2013 study found that 16% of Yelp reviews are indeed fake. Of course another way to look at it, is that means 84% of Yelp reviews are real. You'll see some similar statistics when you look at reviews on other sites. The vast majority of reviews are from legitimate customers. Paying attention to customer reviews allows you to do a few things. You can engage happy customers who leave good reviews. You can solve problems, whether it's an issue experienced by one customer, or a consistent problem faced by many.
And, you can use your responsiveness on these sites to create a positive image with potential customers. Let's start by taking a look at what we can learn from reading individual reviews. I'm going to use one of my favorite retailers as an example. REI. They sell all sorts of clothing and gear for outdoor adventures like hiking, biking, and camping. Imagine you wanted to know what customers were saying about the REI in Chicago. You could go to one of the review sites and look at the reviews.
Let's take a look at the Google review page. The Chicago store has an overall average of 4.4 stars. That's really good, but it's helpful to look at individual customers and see what they're saying. Here's a customer who's really happy with the expert advice he received. Here's another positive review, four stars. But look at the comments. The customer feels the prices are a little high, even though he gave a positive rating. Here's another five star review. This person thinks REI carries high quality products, but he also mentions they're a little expensive.
Understanding these customers can allow you to engage them, solve their issue, or even identify broader trends. Let's take a look at what happens when I look for trends at this REI location. I'll start by sorting these reviews, starting with the most recent ones first. Then, I'll cruise through the comments looking for similar comments. Here, I quickly see a frequent pattern. A lot of customers feel that REI is a little too expensive. This is good feedback for the business.
Perhaps these customers don't realize they can save money and get an annual dividend with an REI membership. Or perhaps some prices really are too high. It's certainly worth investigating. If your business has multiple locations, you can also compare locations. There are two other REI locations in the Chicago area. One has a similar 4.5 overall rating on Google, but the other one in Oak Terrace has a 3.9 star rating. This store still has a good rating, but it might be helpful where there rating is different than the other stores in the area.
Okay, that was just one example. The good news is that listening to customers works pretty much the same way on all of these platforms. Here's an exercise you can do. Take a look at the sites where customers are reviewing your business, and try to answer these questions. What do customers like most about your business? What are their most common complaints? And, are there any customer service issues that need a response? You can download the review site listing worksheet to help you out. This exercise can provide you with some valuable insight about what your customers are saying about your business online.
- Identifying key social media platforms
- Communicating with customers in your brand's voice
- Listening and responding to customers on social media
- Listening to customer feedback on review sites
- Making self-service easy for customers