The Value of Customer Reviews and Brand Reputation

American Marketing Association
AMA Collegiate
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Key Takeaways

What? Customer reviews are the first impression customers have of your product.

So What? If social media commentary about your products or services is ignored, the impression you send is that you don’t care about your customers.

Now What? Customer reviews must be monitored and responded to in as near to real time as possible, because the only way to guarantee four- and five-star reviews on the most influential review sites is to nip any customer-service issues in the bud.

March 17, 2017

At the AMA’s 2017 International Collegiate Conference (ICC), the chief visionary officer of social media consulting company Social Media Energy Luke Wyckoff, spoke about the challenges of running a business. He gave two major lessons: the secret sauce of a successful company comes down to the people you hire, and every company should review its financial every Friday. Both of those lessons came from personal experience. Years ago, an employee made off with thousands after cooking the books, and he was forced to start his business from scratch. After that fresh start, though, he says he was able to reevaluate what was and wasn’t working within his company.

In an “Experience Speaks” presentation to attendees at the ICC, Wyckoff spoke about two major marketing trends happening today:

  • People are responding in real time (both negatively and positively) on social media to products and services, and marketers are scrambling to keep up;

  • Buyer behavior is changing based on customer reviews on social media.

We’re moving toward “just in time” customer satisfaction: Brands have to be on top of it, watching consumer feedback and responding to it in real time, you can fine trend analysis, and it’s very valuable to have that kind of information. It’s being created out there, right for your brand, in a way that marketers used to pay top dollar for.

The Future (and the Now) of E-customer Relations:

The Shift to Social Media-based Feedback

According to BrightLocal, the number of consumers providing product and service reviews is growing steadily and rapidly. The firm’s report on its 2016 survey of the 1000+members of its consumer panel describes how these consumers review and recommend local businesses online:

  • 47% through Facebook, up from 16% in 2014
  • 22% through Twitter, up from 9% in 2014
  • 16% through Yelp, up from 9% in 2014 (but unchanged since 2015)
  • 19% through TripAdvisor, up from 9% in 2014
  • 25% through Google, up from 6% in 2014

Business Strategy

Question: What does this culture of immediate online feedback need for your business?
Answer: You must connect digitally, listen closely, react quickly and respond personally.

  • Connect Digitally: Know where to look for your customers’ comments and your critics’ cheap shots.

  • Listen Closely: Actively monitor those sites.

  • React Quickly: Strategically respond to the good and the bad before issues can snowball.

  • Respond Personally: Engage constructively and publicly with the individuals involved.

When you effectively monitor your brand’s reputation on social media, you’re able to get ahead of any customer service issues that might arise, and you can make sure that you have four- or five-star reviews on the most important social review sites.

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Author Bio:

American Marketing Association
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