No matter what size the company, “group think” is common and can keep business owners and managers from truly understanding what customers want.
They’ll tend to think they know what customers should want based upon their offerings. But can often miss the boat because they aren’t really listening to what customer have to say about their wants, needs, and frustrations.
Using your IT business reviews as a way to tap into your collective customer conversation can help you gain a valuable perspective that drives revenue and profitability.
How Reviews Give You Valuable Customer Insight
If you’re not paying attention to what customers are posting about you on Google, Yelp, or other review sites, you could be completely in the dark about an attribute that could help or hurt you.
For example, say that you trust your customer support team is responding promptly to customers. But over on your Google My Business reviews, comments pop up like, “They really know their stuff, but take a while to respond.” And “If you’re not in a hurry, they are terrific to work with!”
This would indicate a weakness in your response time to initial inquiries. While customers are still saying nice things about you, that “if you’re not in a hurry” comment could be losing you potential customers that are in a hurry.
Knowing what customers see as a weakness of your company, allows you to make fixes to improve it. This will help both lead generation and customer retention.
88% of surveyed business leaders say that customer listening increases retention.
On the flip side, you could be missing out on potential revenue-generating ideas. For example, one reviewer might post that your freelancer remote support is awesome, but wouldn’t it be nice “if they could log in while I’m gone and fix something, so I don’t have to have my work interrupted?”
You may already have that capability, but never realized it wasn’t apparent to customers. So, you begin marketing your “fix it while you’re away” remote service, and suddenly you have a new revenue stream coming in!
Why reviews? Can’t I just ask my customers what they think?
While customer satisfaction surveys are important, they’re not going to tell you the entire story. Plus, you’ll be missing another part of the conversion, which is from people who aren’t your customers or those that were but aren’t any longer.
Regularly monitoring reviews posted online about your business is like being a fly on the wall and hearing what people actually think. Things that they may have never expressed you to in any of your interactions.
Here are several reasons that your MSP reviews are an important customer “listening device” when it comes to what people think about your company:
You Get the Whole Truth
When people post on a review site, they’re not speaking directly to your company, so they tend to be more honest. They give the whole story, both positive and negative, which offers valuable insight.
It’s also a freeform environment, allowing them to fully express themselves. Where a survey may provide multiple choice or a Net Promoter Score® option (i.e., Would you recommend our business to others?), which limits what someone shares.
When someone writes a review, they are often writing it to others who may be considering doing business with you. Either to recommend you for certain reasons or warn people about your business. This is exactly the type of information you need to continually improve your company.
You Get Insight from More People
When you send out a customer satisfaction survey, you won’t hear from leads who aren’t customers, customers who stopped working with you, or a good portion of your existing customers. Many just don’t have the time to fill out a survey.
A typical customer survey response rate can be as little as 1-2% of customers. Even if you are extremely lucky and get as many as 25-30%, that’s still a good deal of the customer conversation that you’re in the dark about.
When you keep an eye on your reviews, which can be done with the help of review monitoring, you gain insight from all types of interactions with your company, including:
- Current customers
- Past customers
- Leads that never converted
- People still considering working with you
You Can Find Out Why People Left You
Have you ever wondered things like:
- What happened to that managed services client that left unexpectedly after years?
- Why did that person that seemed interested stop responding?
Customers that stop doing business with you don’t always tell you why. They may indicate all is well for months, but secretly think, “I wish they would be more proactive,” or “We like them, but need an IT company that can do this additional thing too.”
But if you don’t know that, it’s hard to save the account before they finally decide to make a move because they’re not 100% satisfied.
The same is true of leads that you might go back and forth with for weeks, thinking they are ready to sign, then they suddenly “ghost” you.
In many cases, you’ll never know why someone stopped doing business with you, and it can be awkward to ask. But that information may have been expressed in a review or a reply to a review.
Keeping an eye on reviews and comments could help you understand the reasons for the lack of lead conversions and lost business. Knowing this gives you the chance of addressing an issue and fixing it before it results in a customer relationship ending.
What Are the Benefits of Monitoring Your IT Business Reviews?
We’ve discussed why reviews provide the perfect platform for customer listening. And if you’re not monitoring the customer conversation about your company…the ones they have when you’re not standing there…you’ll be missing out on all sorts of business-building benefits.
Here are some of the advantages of mindfully listening to your customers so you can make necessary adjustments in your operations or marketing based upon their input.
Listening Provides Valuable Marketing Fuel
There may be some wonderful stories about your IT business out there that you aren’t even aware of. Harrowing tales of how you saved the day with your IT expertise and were better than anyone else.
Listening to your customers’ conversions through reviews can give you valuable fuel for your IT business marketing engine.
You Can Eliminate Blind Spots
Blind spots that can hold your support business back include things that your company may be doing poorly in a customer’s eyes, as well as things your customers want that you don’t currently offer (or they don’t know you offer).
Paying attention to what customers are saying helps you get rid of the blind spots that can be hurting your business and holding you back.
Improves Customer Retention
If you’ve happened across a review or review comment from one of your customers that states something like, “We love working with them, we only wish they were open a little later,” it can trigger an insight that maybe you should consider extending business hours.
You can safely assume that if one customer wished you had extended work hours, there are more out there that think the same thing.
Knowing this could lead you to send out a customer survey in response asking them to pick the extended hour schedule they like best.
A move like this, which was triggered by customer listening, could help you retain that initial customer and several others.
You Can Increase Sales
When you’re in a “group think” mentality, it can be difficult to see new opportunities from a customer’s perspective. Your offerings can get stale and fall behind your competition because they’re not keeping up with what customers want today.
Approximately 70% of companies say review websites along with social media word-of-mouth have driven leads for their business. 88% say they’ve learned customers have higher expectations than they ever have before.
You can stay up to date on the types of software products and IT support services your target audiences are looking for by taking time to listen to the online conversation.
You Can Avoid a Bad Reputation
If you’re completely oblivious to the fact that some customers feel your pricing is confusing, then you could end up with someone feeling they were charged unfairly and posting a negative review.
Customer listening helps you become more proactive about problems that could potentially hurt your business reputation. No one wants to have a negative result come up about them on page 1 of a Google search and scare off potential leads.
When you know the types of issues people have with your company, you can address those, respond about addressing them in reviews, and turn a potentially bad experience into a positive for your IT business.
Gain New SEO Keywords
You may call your service “remote support,” but in reviews, people may be calling it “remote login.” That difference in terminology can give you a valuable new keyword to inject into your SEO strategy.
Customer listening gives you insights into how potential leads may be searching for your services and the keywords they may be using. This helps you fine-tune your search ranking activities and add new keywords you may have been missing.
Keep Tabs on the Customer Conversation Through Your Business Reviews
Monitoring your IT business reviews gives you a perfect way to employ a proactive customer listening strategy, which helps you build a stronger and more profitable company.
What’s the most surprising thing you’ve learned from reading a customer review? Share your experience in the comments!