Before Online Reviews
In the old days, selling your product or service consisted of developing the item, selecting a market and screaming your message as loud and often as you could. Whether your message traveled on TV, Print or Radio, the model was consistent – a one-way message.
There was no real discussion or sharing of that information or individual experiences among consumers. Sure, word of mouth existed, but it was still one consumer to one consumer. There was no mass-channel. That has all changed. Welcome to the world of mass dialog.
Through online reviews, sentiments about you and your company are shared, substantiated and escalated. This happens at lightening-fast speeds. Releasing a new product that has a flaw? One user posts it, then overnight 100 others see it and many comment on it. The comment traffic escalates the page ranking on Google. Now, anyone who searches for your product online is immediately presented with your marketing page and the feedback by 100 users about this flaw.
In the old world, that one person would have called your support center, explained the problem and likely been satisfied with your response. You controlled the message and, to some extent, the consumer experience. End of story. In the new world the man behind the curtain is exposed for the world to see – ugly boxers, beer belly and all.
Will You Engage?
With this negative potential, why would you want customer reviews? Because this conversation will happen with or without you. If the feedback is not on your own website, it will be in other public forums. The only question is this: will you engage in the dialog? If you don’t, the result will not be positive. That much is guaranteed. If you do participate in the mass dialog, you have the ability to:
- Learn and grow – improving your products and services.
- Listen and hear – understanding your consumers better than ever before.
- Respond and react – showing your consumers you care and choose to support them.
- Inform and influence – educating your consumers and driving a more positive message.
Good News for Quality Products and Services
I hope you have a quality product. I hope you desire candor and transparency in your consumer messaging. If so, the new world is a great place to be. If not, your days are limited.
Those with the best products and services, supported by candid, transparent and consistent communication will benefit. After all, isn’t this the best way to serve your stakeholders anyway?
Question: How have customer reviews influenced your consumer behavior?