Consumer Opinion Can Make or Break Your Brand

 Guest Blog Post By: Kristin Muhlner, CEO, newBrandAnalytics,

Two key actions are imperative to improve your customer relations – listen and engage with your customers. Social media is the natural channel for both. We are living in the age of the consumer, and retailers need to take action to maximize brand loyalty and ensure positive customer experiences.  Identify customer complaints through social channels and resolve those issues by implementing suggestions posed through customer feedback.

Patrons are belting out their opinions over social channels – both good and bad. If you ignore this narrative, you are allowing your customer critics to shape your image. It is important brands ensure the feedback they receive is positive; 77 percent of consumers say they need fewer than 10 reviews to convince them to make a purchase.

Our recent study analyzed businesses across all industries, sifting through 100,000s of online reviews and one thing is certain: consumer opinion has the power to make or break your brand. Seventy-nine percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, and 44 percent say that online reviews are the most influential factor when they’re deciding to make a purchase. Because of statistics like these, companies need to arm themselves with listening weapons that use social media as a competitive advantage by improving customer service with customer feedback data.

Remember, service improvements can be made before, during and after the experience, so take action and participate. Social engagement increases your base of loyal guests, which directly translates into profits when loyal patrons deliver 80 percent of your revenue on average.

Don’t know where to start? The first step is to respond. The most successful retailers don’t just listen and they don’t just push content; they build customer loyalty through thoughtful, organic online engagement. These ongoing interactions can immediately affect how your customers feel about your brand: a 1-percent increase in engagement can result in an 11 to 25-percent increase in online sentiment. And online sentiment has a significant impact on your bottom line when a reported 90 percent of customers said that a positive online review influenced their decision to purchase.

Some brands are doing it right; use their best practices to inform your social engagement strategy. Best Buy incorporates social reviews into their in-store product labeling, displaying average star rating of the product along with a QR code to read more online reviews. This tactic demonstrates that not only do they value online consumer opinion, but by integrating online and in-store shopping environments, they are also catering to their customers’ new, tech-enabled shopping habits. David’s Bridal—another brand focused on engaging with their customers via social channels—includes online data from customers’ social accounts with in-store files so that sales agents are prepped with customer preferences before their bridal appointments. No wonder their dresses are getting yeses!

If you are not listening to customer preferences, you are missing out on loyal customers. Be sure to tackle your negative feedback head-on and proudly promote your positive reviews.

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