You know the score: customer reviews are excellent acquisition levers. They help brands reassure consumers, while gaining credibility. On the customer side, they drive both online or in-store purchases. But that’s not all! Post-purchase reviews are useful and impact the entire customer journey. From discovery to purchase… But also during the loyalty, engagement and re-purchase phase.
This article takes a look at the link between feedback and loyalty. So, how can you turn your customer reviews into drivers of loyalty? Can you retain customers with mixed or negative reviews? Read on to find out.
Why Does Listening to Customers Drive Sustainable Loyalty?
In 2023, brands are looking to build customer engagement. The idea is to cultivate a transactional relationship… as well as an emotional one. To empower customers to express themselves and act in an engaged manner.
Engaged customers take action: they recommend brands or create content about their buying experience. The proof is in the pudding… but also in the Voice of the Customer, through reviews. Brands need to channel this need for self-expression by listening to the customer.
The first step to fully leveraging the Voice of the Customer is to listen. Not just every now and again, but all the time, to truly hear and get to know your customers. A solution to collect, moderate and publish post-purchase reviews, such as Verified Reviews, enables you to listen to your customers and build loyalty!
Segment to Boost Loyalty
Defining a customer-listening strategy to collect feedback is key… But it is not enough. Sure, you will discover the customer’s reasons for satisfaction or dissatisfaction after a buying experience. But to acquire real knowledge (and appreciation) that will build loyalty, you need to segment your reviews.
Analyzing and segmenting customer reviews is essential for several reasons. Firstly, it allows you to divide customers into homogenous groups, according to their different levels of satisfaction. Which in turn means that you can implement different action (and retention) plans depending on if your customers are fully satisfied or dissatisfied.
Secondly, this segmentation enables to identify any recurring reasons for delight or friction. In your satisfaction surveys, do customers complain about the quality of your products? Do they praise your sales assistants for their friendliness? What do they think of the waiting time at checkout or the ease of shopping on your online store? By identifying all your strengths and weaknesses, you can implement targeted improvement and loyalty programs.
Turning Detractors into Promoters
“You can’t retain an unhappy customer.” This is a common misconception. All is not lost if a customer expresses their dissatisfaction in a review. A negative review doesn’t necessarily mark the end of your customer relationship… As long as you listen and act quickly!
At Verified Reviews, we believe that detractors can be turned into promoters, and even brand ambassadors. Show that you are active and respond to consumers. Customers expect a dialogue, a two-way conversation and a presence at their side. Here are our tips to retain disappointed customers:
- Respond to all negative reviews and provide solutions. These solutions should be personalized for each customer, to demonstrate your commitment and make them feel valued. This will encourage customers to trust you again.
- Remember that your response to a specific customer will also be read by lots of Internet users! Make sure that there are no spelling mistakes, and that your answers are relevant and empathetic. This will improve your brand image: public engagement is reassuring and boosts customer loyalty.
- Complete your public response with a one-to-one conversation, depending on the situation. Grain de Malice, for example, which collects post-purchase reviews with Verified Reviews, has implemented this strategy. If a customer gives a rating of less than 3 out of 5, the store calls them directly. The results are positive: Grain de Malice has increased its repurchase rate by 20% when handling dissatisfied customers in this way!
Engage Satisfied Customers to Boost Loyalty
Increasing the retention of your best customers by 5% can generate a profit increase of 25% to 55% (Bain&Cie). There is no question about it: customers who post positive reviews are a gold mine… Retain them!
But even satisfied customers are volatile. Satisfaction should not be confused with preference or “exclusive” engagement. To achieve sustainable loyalty and true engagement, brands must be engaged too. The first step is to get closer to your customers. For example, by responding to positive customer reviews with a thank you. Acknowledgment is a powerful retention lever.
Cultivating the customer relationship on a daily basis (particularly through the power of conversation), promotes repurchasing, attachment, and appreciation, as well as engagement in other forms. In this new era of UGC (User Generated Content), beyond posting reviews, consumers don’t think twice about creating content to showcase brands.
It is not uncommon to see customers express their views on a brand or product via social media, with or without compensation. Some even take on the role of “consum’actors”, bordering on customer advisors, and answer user questions on forums or directly on product pages with a Q&A (Questions&Answers) feature.
Customer engagement goes far beyond a transactional relationship and needs to be cultivated on an ongoing basis. This will ultimately result in a virtuous circle: loyalty leads to engagement, which in turn leads to growth… According to a Constellation Research study, brands that improve their customer engagement approach increase their sales by 22%! So, are you ready to take action, starting by collecting customer reviews and transforming them into drivers of loyalty and growth?