Top 5 tips for dealing with negative reviews
While January may be a quiet time for many of us, as we rest and recoup following Christmas, it’s one of the most important times of the year for retailers. With a combination of Christmas sales and consumers returning unwanted gifts, there is often a huge amount of stock coming in and out of the door. So, while retailers up and down the country work hard to make the shopping experience as smooth as possible, it’s inevitable that mistakes may happen. And when they do, consumers have never been quicker to go online and voice their frustrations in the form of negative reviews.
This, understandably, causes great concern amongst retailers as reviews form such a crucial part of a consumer’s buying cycle. For example, our own research indicates that 61 per cent of consumers check reviews before making a purchase online, meaning it’s never been more important for retailers to ensure they’re dealing with negative reviews appropriately.
Our research also shows that the top three customer service frustrations, which often lead to negative reviews, include being passed around different colleagues or being put on hold, rude or defensive staff, and a lack of staff knowledge. To bring this to life, and make it easier for retailers to recognise where they’re going wrong, we recently created Café Zero to highlight consumers’ frustrations with businesses’ poor customer service. Café Zero humorously demonstrates bad customer service (you can download the video here: https://we.tl/j1pOuZImXi).
Negative customer reviews must play an important role in helping your business to remedy customer frustrations, such as the ones highlighted in the Café Zero video. If your business receives a negative review, a simple first step is to acknowledge the complaint by responding to it. Our own data shows that 84 per cent of shoppers said they would use a retailer again if they responded to a negative review by addressing their concerns. While a further 70 per cent also said retailers could win them back with the offer of a refund, discount or freebie.
So, while consumers can sometimes be easily frustrated and will often go online to voice their opinions, our evidence indicates that these complaints can be easily remedied and their trust regained. Here are my five top tips to do just that:
Understand the value of criticism and deal with it well
It can be difficult to read criticism of your brand, product or service online, but it’s important to understand that criticism has its place and to accept it. Use it as an opportunity to highlight your responsiveness and commitment to customer service.
Use criticism to recognise the signs of a problem in advance
Online criticism can play a crucial role in helping retailers to deal with problems before they get out of control. By remaining vigilant and closely monitoring complaints for themes or recurring issues, it could help solve problems before they arise.
Don’t act as though mistakes aren’t happening
Nothing leaves a bad taste like a cover up and customers are often quick to spot them. It’s important to own up to, and maintain a positive attitude, about mistakes when they’ve been made. Being open and honest comes across very well while snatching victory from the jaws of defeat shows you’re a determined business.
Use criticism to improve product and service development
Feedback, even if critical, should form a key part of the development of your business. If customers are continually complaining about a specific issue with one of your products, it’s highly likely that it needs to be changed. Harness the power of free consumer insight and use it to better your business.
Don’t measure the number of complaints – measure the number you resolve
Making a mistake is unavoidable, human and, at the end of the day, understandable. Failing to sort it out, however, isn’t. It’s important not to get bogged down with the number of complaints or negative reviews you’re getting, but how many you’re resolving and how you handle them.
The reality is that we all make mistakes and while nobody likes hearing about it, this criticism is fundamental to enabling your business to improve going forward. So, the next time your business receives a negative review, take a moment to consider what the customer is saying and use their feedback to ensure a positive business outcome.
James Westlake, UK MD, Trustpilot
Re-defining the economics of CX in the new customer journey
There’s no shortage of customer service channels for the enterprise to select from today. Regardless of the many new metrics that have emerged – such as customer success, or empathy – cost reduction is still a primary driver in selection criteria.
There are many articles dedicated to how companies can turn customer service and customer experience (CX) from a cost to a revenue centre. The problem is, if you stop there and don’t look beyond cost reduction, you’re limiting the scope for CX to become an even bigger economic contributor in the enterprise.
There is every opportunity for customer service and CX to significantly influence the front end of business, particularly amongst direct-to-consumer subscription-based products and services, such as popular streaming services like Netflix, Amazon, Disney+, as well as sports subscription services like DAZN.
In these products and services and others, there are new customer journeys that may drive business growth and revenue. They start earlier and may last a lifetime, so getting things right at the start of the journey is key so that customers have the best experience from day one.
Not only will this help in making customers less likely to reach out for issues-based support further down the line, but these customers will be much less likely to churn, and much more likely to take up new services as they are offered throughout the lifetime journey.
So, what does the new customer journey look like for these services?
Opportunity waiting for the likes of Netflix & Disney
While consumers may have previously regarded customer service as a way to mitigate the inconveniences in their lives, the customer journey is expanding in scope every day. Today there are many more touchpoints available that put CX in a position to drive revenue.
For one-off purchases, traditional CX deployments have not changed significantly in the past few years. However, if you look at the change in the CX relationships we’re seeing with subscription-based products and services, particularly media-based streaming services, it’s clear that these companies lead what quickly become very multifaceted relationships with their customers. These have serious potential to evolve over time for increased economic benefit.
For any sort of subscription-based business, customer lifetime value is paramount, and the requirement to actively manage a continued positive customer experience is critical.
Every interaction is an opportunity, and every data point is a chance to offer more value. Introductory offers can convert to longtime customers. Longtime customers may take up opportunities to upgrade to more premium products or services. They may also appreciate incentives to invite family and friends to become customers. Consumers who like a particular service, for example, may appreciate a recommendation for another similar or complimentary service.
It all starts with customer interaction, and the customer experience journey becomes an opportunity to strategically affect the user base and resulting revenue - which is a far cry from the limitations of call center cost reduction or churn metrics.
How do companies support the new customer journey?
More and more, customers look at the new customer journey as engaging with brands as part of their lifestyles. Many companies are making brand ambassadors available before the traditional customer journey even starts, which is a marked change from a purely transactional relationship associated with a one-off purchase.
These ambassadors, who are often independent users of products or services, are providing trusted pre-sales advice, and that same trusted advice can also function to nurture the customer journey in a subscription-based relationship. Call it ‘GigCX’ or ‘crowdsourced customer service’ or even ‘peer-to-peer customer service’ - it doesn’t matter.
The key is in providing impartial, trusted advice from real users. Think about it: who would you rather get advice from? Someone who has used a product or service extensively, or someone who has been trained to provide customer service surrounding that product or service?
For services such as streaming media, advice from trusted experts with real product know-how could be invaluable. This may not be limited to technical issues, such as what to do when you can’t access your favourite show, or how to access services across various devices. It could be parents helping other parents who are concerned about how to restrict adult content from child viewers, or simply customers who have similar taste in programming who can comment on the benefits of upgraded or premium products. The point is, these experts are easily available at any touchpoint in the customer lifetime journey, creating more chances to add value.
It’s also about tipping customers from ‘passive’ to ‘promoter’ in the NPS scale. It’s an opportunity to turn neutral customers who may be vulnerable to competitive offerings into loyal enthusiasts who will keep buying and referring others, fuelling growth. It may ultimately help drive even further revenue by creating customers that are helping to sell the brand itself.
And, while chatbots and automation may play a key role, they are often not able to handle the more complex support needed in the new customer journey. Conversational AI is rarely as conversational as it claims to be, and in the new customer journey, most companies are finding that a mix of automation and people-centric service is an ideal way to nurture the many new touchpoints created.
It’s no longer about trying to replace human capital with automation: it’s about orchestrating a uniquely personalised CX, and proactively engaging during the customer lifecycle to enhance the experience, and to create more long-term value.
At the moment, we’re only seeing the tip of the iceberg in terms of the power to affect the economics introduced by the new customer journey. We’ll no doubt see this evolve rapidly particularly amongst streaming companies as they use human-centric connections in CX to support the full potential of customer lifetime value.
About Roger Beadle
Roger Beadle is an entrepreneur and business leader who is reinventing how customer service is delivered via the gig economy. After establishing several businesses in the contact centre industry, Roger co-founded Limitless with Megan Neale in 2016. Limitless is a gig-economy platform that addresses some of the biggest challenges faced by the contact center industry: low pay, high attrition and access to new talent. Previously, Roger and Megan helped to build one of the largest privately-owned outsourced contact center business in Europe, before selling the business to the global conglomerate Hinduja Group. Roger is an outspoken proponent of digital ethics, worker’s rights and the ‘good-gig:’ which encapsulates gig work for incremental pay versus full time work, skilled gig work, no unpaid time/downtime and zero expenses.
Named a Rising Star at Deloitte’s Technology Fast 50 program, Limitless is a gig customer service platform, combining crowdsourcing and AI to help global businesses address their biggest customer service challenges – rising costs, increasing attrition, variability in demand and the need for diversity. Brands like Microsoft, Unilever, Daily Mail Group and Postmates are using Limitless’ SmartCrowdTM technology to connect with their most engaged customers, and reward them for providing on-demand customer service that can flex in line with demand. Limitless is one of the world’s first global tech platforms to introduce localised platform terms to protect the rights of its gigging workers. Backed by AlbionVC, Downing Ventures and Unilever Ventures, Limitless is empowering people worldwide to earn money for providing brilliant customer service for the brands they love.