Before you write off Mother’s Day 2017 and turn your attention fully to summer weddings and fall/winter planning, make sure you’ve responded to any customer feedback — including praise.
Responding quickly is especially important when it comes to online reviews, said Jen Rodstrom of the Temkin Group, a research, consulting and training firm specializing in customer service. She recommends responding to all reviews, positive and negative and to “indicate if you’ve made any improvements based on that [customer] feedback.”
“That way, anyone else who comes to check out the reviews can see that the florist is invested and taking [the comment] seriously,” she said.
Author, customer service consultant and bestselling author Shep Hyken agreed.
“Every comment should be responded to and responded to quickly, preferably in minutes,” he said. “If you have a negative review, reach out [to the customer] and say, ‘Wow, it’s obvious you weren’t happy. I want to fix this for you.’”
Once you’ve made things right offline, he added, return to the thread and thank the customer in that same forum for allowing you to fix the problem.
“Ideally, the customer will close the loop and thank you,” ensuring that any future customers who happen upon the initial negative comment will also see that happy resolution.
By the way, Hyken added, there’s no need to fret over a less-than-perfect star rating on Yelp, Google, Facebook, or any other site. In fact, a study from Northwestern University found that consumers tend to see businesses that have perfect ratings as less than credible — many consumers are even suspicious of businesses with only raves. (They wonder if the business might be paying for those glowing reviews, in violation of site policies, or asking friends/neighbors to weigh in with fake reviews.) The “ideal” review, the study found, is closer to 4.2.
“People want to see complaints,” Hyken said. More to the point, “they want to see how you respond to complaints.”
Yelp receives about 145 million unique visitors a month, according to DMR, which tracks digital marketing stats. Small business owners ignore or write-off the site at their peril, said Rodstrom, who urges retailers to take a two-pronged approach with Yelp: Respond to every comment and encourage customers who are happy with your business to take their compliments and post them publicly.
“Our research shows that consumers are much more vocal about bad experiences than good experiences,” she said. “So we’d encourage florists to actively ask their customers who have a positive experience to post on Yelp, because [that customer] might not even be thinking about it, but would be delighted to when asked.”
Hyken advocates a similar approach. “Don’t buy [a positive post]. Don’t beg for it. Don’t grovel,” he said. “When people say, ‘You guys are so friendly,’ you should immediately say, ‘Thank you so much! Can you please mention that on Yelp?’”