JudgeService are currently recruiting for a number of part time staff to work in our Contact Centre, flexible hours Monday-Friday 4-7pm. The role will involve outbound calling and completing customer satisfaction surveys over the phone on behalf of several Car Dealer Groups.
To apply please send your CV to email@example.com
Using negative reviews to strengthen your business
No matter how good your business is, somewhere down the line you will receive a complaint from a unsatisfied customer, so it is important to be prepared and learn how to turn a negative review into a positive experience.
In the new business world of social media and online shopping, there are more opportunities than ever for customers to express their opinions, whether they are good or bad. Ignoring feedback via social media means that you are in effect ignoring a valuable customer base so it is important to recognise the value of online social media platforms and play to their strengths.
How do I handle it?
So, what happens when you get a negative review and how should you address it? The answer is to approach each issue in a logical, straightforward fashion. Okay, admittedly, the comments people make can be unpleasant, but in a manner of speaking, most customers simply want to feel as if their complaints have been properly heard and are being dealt with. If you choose to ignore an angry customer, they will be much more likely to continue their rant publicly, whereas if you take the negative comment in your stride, analyse the potential issues and arrive at a suitable solution, the end result will be a happier customer who could potentially shop with you again. In fact, by addressing a customer’s concerns quickly and politely, those negative reviews will prove to potential buyers just how effective your company’s customer service department can be. So here are Judge Service‘s 6 tips for actively managing your online customer feedback:
1. Don’t ignore it
Simply ignoring negative online reviews will not solve the issues, it is much better to follow good business practices and be proactive when it comes to strengthening your company’s online image. Why not set up profiles on some of the major social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook? In this way you can take charge of the face which your company is offering to the public. These platforms are a fantastic hub where you can offer honest information regarding the goods and services your company offers as well as encourage customer feedback. The more transparent you are as a company, the more confident people will feel about buying from you as you are showing them that you have nothing to hide. Taking both good and bad feedback in your stride will earn you respect among consumers as well as help you to build a loyal customer base over a period of time.
2. Professionalism is the key
So, you have received a negative review – how do you deal with it? This is where professionalism is the key. There is nothing worse for a company’s image than an unpleasant reaction to a customer’s criticism. You must always separate your personal feelings in relation to a negative review and maintain a professional attitude at all times. Provoking an attack on critics is not only highly unprofessional but it will also dramatically decrease the respect and credibility that your business ultimately seeks. Once your comment is out there, it becomes public and it can take a minimal amount of time to go viral on platforms such as Twitter and Facebook if you are not careful, so it pays to keep your cool.
3. Is the complaint a legitimate one?
There is always a possibility that the negative review you’ve received isn’t actually legitimate. If a review seems inaccurate or the comments come across as slightly ridiculous, reply to them but keep your response short and sweet. There is no point engaging in lengthy battles over small issues as it could reflect poorly on your business and might even come across as petty to your audience. If a customer does post an angry rant, it is best to create a polite response which indicates all of the ways your company has dealt with the issues they are addressing. Staying calm and publicly defending your company’s business etiquette will more often than not turn a negative review into a positive. Customers will be able to recognise that this particular person is being unreasonable and as long as your company has addressed all of their complaints they are more likely to admire the professional way your company has handled the situation.
4. A recurring theme is worth investigating
If you are experiencing a series of complaints about one particular issue, it is possibly time to take a good look at your business model, and study any areas which can be improved to bring a higher level of satisfaction to your customers. There might be some simple processes which need to be altered or introduced to avoid unnecessary concerns. Look upon the criticisms as constructive – customers might have done you a huge favour by pointing out something that could have potentially become a lot worse, and working to address the issue will show people you are serious about building and maintaining a positive public image for your company.
5. Encourage positive reviews
If you have followed all of the advice above but you still feel that your customer’s reviews are not providing a proper reflection of your business and its merits, there is a simple and easy process you can follow to change this. Encourage those customers who are happy and satisfied with their products to post positive reviews online. It is important that social media sites reflect accurately a customer’s experience rather than just listing complaints. One way to encourage positive feedback is to regularly email your customers to remind them. A lot of people will be flattered that you value their opinion and will be encouraged to make a public response in relation to your products.
6. Learn from your customer experience
Finally, the best way to avoid negative reviews is to focus on running a solid and respectable business as well as having the ability to recognise that negative reviews are not personal. Instead, they provide an excellent platform for you to work on improving your business or product to make it the best it can be.
The explosion of online review use
We all use review content online. It is often an unspoken rule that before most of us book a hotel, try out a new restaurant or consider purchasing a product we’ll take a look at some customer reviews to reassure ourselves that what we’re about to purchase is worth the cash.
Websites such as Amazon, Yelp and Trip Advisor are well known hubs for producing large amounts of reviews from customers, and although some of the feedback might seem useless and too negative, or so glowing it doesn’t seem real, you can usually find some reviews which take the middle ground. In fact, these reviews are usually the best ones, when a review imparts with you the type of information that’s invaluable when making a decision.
How to write a useful review
The key to understanding what makes a good review is recognising that even the most scathing reviews can carry an underlying useful message, and also by knowing that the most positive reviews are not always the ones that can be trusted. Below are some simple tips from Judge Service on how to write a good customer review:
Keep it relevant
When writing a review, avoid getting too carried away with unimportant detail. People like a good story, but they will soon switch off if what you are saying is irrelevant to the particular product. Including information such as the date you visited a place, when you placed an order or opened your product and who you ordered the product from is all highly relevant, but what the weather was like and what you were wearing are the types of information that are best left out.
Don’t name and shame
Whilst it is essential to name and shame a particular product if you received a bad experience as a direct result, it is unhelpful to make things too personal. Do not target your experience at just one particular individual as the chances are they are just a member of staff whose situation is likely to change in the future making your review become possibly worthless. Instead focus on the experience you had and omit any individual names.
Good is not always positive
A good review is not always a positive review, in fact the best reviews are those that take into account the people who are coming along to view it after them – take some time away from your keyboard to think about your experience from all sides, and don’t allow yourself to get het up on a specific area that annoyed you. Writing as if someone is reading your review back to you is a good idea – it will certainly make you stop and think about whether you are presenting your points succinctly and fairly or not.
Keep things personal
Remember that your review is personal so other people’s opinions should not count. Writing that other people share your views and experiences is simply a way of trying to bolster your opinion on something, when readers are more interested in your own personal opinion and experience. Speculating on why you think you might have had a specific experience is a better way of ensuring that future readers gain something positive from your review.
Local Google+ pages updated their review spam algorithms on the 31st January 2013. Now that online reviews are so widely used, accessing genuine content becomes more important than ever to the user.
The growth of product or service endorsements via online reviews is another element of digital innovation that already has a pronounced impact on consumer behaviour. All review websites have a balancing act between optimising review volume with spam. How review sites get that personal touch without making the process too onerous?
1) How the user connects.
The way a user connects with a review website is critical and must be made genuine. On Amazon, connecting is via your online account. On TripAdvisor, the connection method is Facebook.com. Your Yelp reviews now syndicated to Apple Maps. On Judge Service, you are invited to fill in a survey via email based on your car dealership experience for sales or aftersales. We have your car’s registration plate from our ongoing relationship with a car dealer. If creating a profile on a review website is in a silo with their existing online activity, then spam entries become more of a risk.
2) The level of user involvement
If providing a review is too easy, then review sites can be abused. On Trip Advisor, the main body of the review must be 200 characters. This slows the applicant down – and positively impacts on review quality.
A great review site combines technical and human moderation processes with the use of automated spam filters and manual moderation for every single review entry. Whilst computers are more reliable than humans in the mechanical context, applying common sense to what is being published on any website with user generated content is key. Trip Advisor makes it clear that spam just isn’t an option with their review moderation and fraud detection page.
Online reviews are yet another wonder of the internet, allowing us to have consumer opinion throughout the buying process so that we don’t have to purely rely on old fashioned, offline referrals. With tight measures in place the power of this content is considerable and makes all of our lives easier when researching virtually any new commodity.
We help dealers understand their effectiveness in automotive customer service. We help potential car buyers find the right dealer by providing valuable feedback. However, we love cars…and here are our top 5 favourite cars of 2012:
1. BMW 3 Series 320d
Why is the 3 Series cool? Not just because Top Gear says it is. Although this always holds weight! If the last 3 Series was a smooth drive, then this one has wheels made of velvet and simultaneously achieves a combined fuel consumption of 68.9mpg. Breath-taking.
2. Volkswagen Take up!
Why is the Up cool? VW have provided a cute compact car for under £8K list price with Blumotion technology available for a bit more. Yep, that covers it.
3. Lotus Evora
We had to have a sports car in our Christmas top 5. Lotus has ambitious plans going into 2013 which in the car trade always attracts plenty of cynicism. The Evora opens up to young families with a +2 seat option for a respectable £1500 – meaning that yummy mummies and daddy cools can have something a bit racier to drive about in.
4. Mercedes-Benz A-Class
Mercedes boldly move the A-Class from mini-MPV status to hot hatch. This is a huge improvement in car design terms.
5. Ford Fiesta Econetic
Economical cars are now cool – how things have changed in the car world. The top selling car model in the UK now has immense fuel economy with the Econetic achieving 85mpg…it’s expensive but the Ford Fiesta really is the best small car that has ever been on our roads.
The huge growth in customer feedback via the internet has been fuelled by power online brands such as Amazon and Trip Advisor. Google web results visually display average customer ratings of selected websites and it is well documented that this is what we all want – and is reflected in search engine results clickthrough rates.
So it really is no surprise that ‘car dealer reviews’ as a search term entered into Google UK has increased in the last 5 years. The analysis carried out by the Judge Service digital team shows interesting rises in Google UK search volume at a manufacturer level (Ford dealer reviews) and at a dealer level with the example of ‘Lookers reviews‘.
As a wider point, traffic to dealership websites has increased by 6% year on year according to Hitwise statistics. Car retailing has been tough to say the least in the double dip recession but this data demonstrates some type of modest recovery (as does the 2012 SMMT data on new car registrations). Of note was that Bristol Street Motors have managed to increase their share of automotive visits from 1.84% to 2.17% quarter on quarter as the second table below shows.
As car retailing slowly gets back into gear it is evident that consumer power is stronger than ever. Customer reviews are becoming a part of many car dealer group’s brand values as long term reputation means sales and increased market share.
First of all why do so many companies chase reviews? Well the most obvious benefit of having your product/service reviewed is the opportunity to let potential customers know you’re there and to create awareness.
Spread the word
For the smaller dealer with fewer pennies to spare for marketing, reviews offer a relatively inexpensive option. That’s not to say they don’t benefit established companies of course, with the ease and accessibility of sharing an opinion via social media to a vast audience, a huge and increasing number of consumers are seeking out the digital word of mouth – or reviews – to find out what they’re letting themselves in for prior to purchasing. Smart.
According to a Capgemini study the internet is top of the list when it comes to researching car purchases. A whopping 80% of consumers surveyed use the web; what are they using it for? To obtain an objective view, search engines blogs and web forums have become key sources of information. So it would be pretty clever to ensure when they are doing their research that they see plenty of positive reviews about your dealership scattered across the web. Consumers are veering towards the manufacturer sites and are then turning to user generated content for reviews……..
Negatives as positives
So it appears that in today’s digital world, online reviews are pivotal to generating sales, but what do you do with a less than glowing review? Inevitably you’ll eventually get a baddy; Act immediately to turn this detractor into an advocate; thank them for their feedback and ask what you could do to make things right, besides, negative reviews are MORE helpful because they point out ways you can get better.
Just a couple of thoughts to end; reviews are an important tool in your consumer kit– one that should be used in conjunction with other marketing tactics. They may lead the customers to the showrooms – very good – but it also helps to remember that they can actually be more helpful to YOU than to your customers…..
There have been incredible amounts of discussion and activity surrounding the commercialisation of social networking websites. Yet it is fairly common for senior management teams to have no clear end goal to such activity.
What is powerful?
Prior to this digital age, if you lost someone’s address or phone number then you might not see them again. By connecting with people that you want to be in touch with, you will never be in that position.
Now that is power.
Constantly chatting like you are a person when you are a business isn’t good. It’s digital hot air. I can’t abide companies that get all spammy with Facebook page updates – most Facebookers would agree.
That’s not to say that a company cannot benefit from having a voice that breaks down the barriers a little – this can be used to add personality to your company’s brand. It is simply that you must realise that your communications could be viewed as an intrusion on a user’s social environment.
What you really need is a purpose. Whilst attracting following can be advantageous, this is not a numbers game. As a consumer, one of my favourite uses of social media when it comes to organisations is the help desk. I recently conducted some very quick research, contacting domain registrants 123-reg, Natwest and Sky for various customer services issues. All three companies were contacted via email and social media simultaneously. In this position, you’re looking for two things – speed and quality of response.
Email response would all get ‘nul points’. Auto-response template emails and then nothing after does not enhance customer service. Perhaps 5 years ago the result may have been marginally better but you can’t help but feel that there is a big pile of emails somewhere that could lead to someone eventually opening yours.
Social media wise, specifically Twitter – I totally was overwhelmed with the quality of the response from all 3 companies. I talked to individuals via direct messaging all within 2 hours and then had telephone calls with well trained, efficient customer services agents that will all have had the same reason for acting in such a way. To broadcast customer care.
Now that’s a purpose. Car manufacturers like Ford in the US on Twitter have adopted this strategy. You can see that the Ford team all have different signatures to identify members of the team (using a system like Cotweet - which I can highly recommend), the string of tweets shows true dedication to solving problems – real customer care.
This has to be planned and takes a little bit of time to get truly integrated. Once you have the set up – training, dedicated customer service agents – you might not get the response initially – check out Vauxhall’s recent tweet:
Give me a shout tomorrow if you have any Vauxhall queries…have a fun evening! ^CASSIE
— Vauxhall CustService (@VauxhallCustSvc) October 10, 2012
Good guys and bad guys get what they deserve in social. Being really confident in your car dealership in every single capacity is key.
We all know that corporate social media cannot be played at; you need to immerse yourself in the communities and accept that everyone has an equal voice.
The real message is have a measured but qualitative purpose.
This post was brought to you by Duncan Colman, Digital Marketing Consultant at Spike Digital, who managed not to say ‘social media is all about…’ in this article!
When it comes to turning prospective customers into sales, having an effective prospect management program in place is crucial. As the average customer nowadays visits 1.5 dealerships before making that all important purchase it is more critical than ever to qualify and ‘nurture’ prospects that leave empty handed.
So what can you do to make sure they buy from you and not your competitors?
1. How you make them feel and their overall experience with you; This includes how well you communicate, your website’s quality, the quality and look of the showroom and the welcome they receive when they first visit ( as well as the quality of the coffee). Build a relationship by remembering personal details and listening carefully to what they say.
2. Your product/service; An obvious one but here are two basic reasons why people purchase anything: to make life easier and more pleasurable (i.e the freedom that comes with a car) or combat a problem (i.e. need for independence), Therefore you need to focus on your product’s most attractive and relevant benefits as you communicate with your prospects and make sure you deliver on your promises.
3. Your reputation – can you be trusted? Do everything in your power to ensure that your prospects, customers, and colleagues understand and protect the business’s name. Your credibility and truthfulness will also win you far more customers than impossible to keep promises; remember – always under promise and over deliver!
4. The value they receive. Although most consumers are price-conscious, the vast majority do not consider price alone when making their buying decisions. They consider value; the difference between what something costs and its worth to the buyer. What does value look like in the car buying world? Answer; knowledgeable and honest employees and continued excellence in aftersales service.
6. How well you handle their concerns. To convert a prospect effectively you must get into their heads. Listen to their opinions and feelings—particularly as they relate to your products or services—and be sure to address them directly.
Converting a prospect into a customer is all about the personal touch – listen to what they say and react accordingly – do what they ask, do more if possible and you should see they will be more inclined to part with their hard earned cash rather than run to your competitors. Simple.
There are two ways to get reviews for your business or products online. A right way and a wrong way. In 2009 the State of New York collected $300,000 from Lifestyle Lift, a plastic surgery company after it emerged that their employees had written reviews of their products without stating their connection to the company.
So, not wanting to follow in their footsteps, what can you do to ensure that your customers are going to leave reviews for your business that will help enhance your online reputation?
Ask for one. A rather obvious starting point but if you don’t ask you don’t get. Many of your customers will be more than happy to leave a review and there’s no harm in politely asking them to add one. What is important here is that you ask for a review in the right way. Tell you customer that you take their opinions very seriously and they you’re continually checking for feedback and ways to improve. Don’t just hand them a survey after every transaction and request they fill it out.
Make it easy. There’s little surprise that those sites who actively promote feedback are the ones that get the most reviews. You can add icons to your site that enable your customers to leave feedback, suggest additional features or to have their reviews submitted directly to a review site.
Be prompt. Be sure to contact your customers sooner rather than later. Striking while the iron is hot has been shown to increase your chance of a positive review. The longer you leave it from the time of service to making contact with your customer the less likely they are to leave a review.
Use social media. People may be more willing to send a positive tweet in your direction or post a few good words on your Facebook page than actually completing a review on your site or on a review site. The outcome is that you’ll gain positive mentions of your brand name, services and products in an environment known for its sharing and the more people that share it the better for your business.
Don’t offer incentives. Despite what you may think this can have the adverse effect. You’ll find that if your customers are pleased with your service they’ll happily write you a review. Offering incentives to people who are already fond of you can have diminishing returns and reduce their enthusiasm in your brand.
By implementing the above points you’ll be able to strengthen your online and offline reputation and be in a better position to increase the number of reviews your business receives.