70% of customer choices are driven by opinions, tastes and preferences of friends, peers and Social Media influencers, all before they visit your product site.
Nielsen/McKinsey’s study on Social Media and Consumer Decisions states that Social Media buzz isn’t just noise; it translates into purchase intent: Consumers overwhelmingly (70%) trust online comments from other consumers.
The secret then is to figure out a way to get your customers to talk about their experience to others. But we first have to take a look inward before that happens. In an earlier post, I talked about making sure your company culture is ready for prime time.
If your customers are going to be talking about you to their friends, family and network, you want to make sure it’s for all the right reasons. Social Media, when done right, generates leads and sales but you better have your house in order before you venture out into the great unknown. It’s important to meet your customer where they are and interact with them but if you’re not dressed for the occasion, don’t bother.
Like many businesses, yours has an outstanding reputation in real life and you may be struggling to get that “real life” story told online. I speak to dealers all the time who’ve adapted this important component into their daily operations by implementing an internal process to capture their happy, loyal customers’ opinions. They ensure that the real life 5-star experience their customers have is reflected online. If you too would like to achieve this, there’s no need to struggle.
Online ratings sites and Social Media are a huge value to dealers and all other businesses. Feedback is in real time. Consumers offer their own opinion; they may not know (and probably don’t care) what the company they’re talking about wants to hear. That lets companies in on what consumers really care about and it’s the key to raising the bar on customer experience.
All this may seem like you have no control over what’s said about you online. In some ways, you don’t. But you DO have control of your delivery of customer experience. It’s important to mean what you say and always deliver. Claims of being the best in customer experience mean nothing when your prospects have friends and family who are telling them otherwise.
- Be relentless about delivering what you promise.
- Be authentic and transparent. Let your customers see what happens “behind closed doors”. It takes away the stigma and that builds trust.
- Provide all of your customers/prospects information needs, in all the places their looking for it, in every stage of the sales cycle.
How can you seal the deal on authentic customer satisfaction? By focusing your attention, effort and budget on your customers’ opinions.
Do this by being relentless. Make certain of your customers’ delight and pleasure when they experience everything about your store. Sealing the deal lies in your customers’ answer to this question:
Would you recommend us to your friends and family?
Identify ways to ask this question during every step of the sales and service process. Ask it formally in emails. Ask it socially when you deliver the car. Ask it periodically on Social Media. Ask, ask, ask. That will tell you how you’re doing and where to focus your attention.
If you want to take it a step further use your channels to ask:
Have you recommended us to your friends and family?
This is a metric that can be leveraged in many ways. When a customer says “Yes”, it’s your opportunity to engage them further as brand advocates. Social Media is driven by content and brand advocates inspire ways to share what’s awesome about your store. Ask them if they’d like to be interviewed either on video or in writing. This is a challenge for most dealership personnel and asking does get easier, especially if you have a designated Social Media manager. Just remember: If you don’t ask, you don’t get.
Next time we’ll cover another important component to your online reputation: Leveraging your staff’s contributions to Social Media and the significance of employee satisfaction.