In marketing, existing customer feedback isn’t always top of mind. Priorities are typically around finding ways to get new business. After all, there are ops teams, support reps, & managers that focus on retention.

Customers are not afraid to voice their feelings. Their voice has an impact on nearly every single one of your marketing initiatives. From the moment you decide to put your customers at the center of your marketing strategy, your business will be transformed.

Watch this short video to learn 3 ways you can make customers a part of your marketing strategy to do just that.

 

We see them everyday without ever looking up at the sky. Those little stars on a webpage often make or break everything from an Amazon cart to a restaurant reservation or even a roof repair service. They influence how we buy and where we look on our screens, but they’re not always top of mind when it comes to AdWords campaigns. It may seem like a subtle difference, but if you use those twinkling little stars to your advantage, they can make your ads stand out from the competition and your bottom line shine.

Customers cost money. Before they ever make a purchase, we spend upsetting amounts on simply getting their attention. Pay-per-click, SEO, and digital advertising have become a nearly universal necessity for growing businesses and consume sizable chunks of budgets. The price tag can be painful, but these methods work. You’ll get clicks and generate leads, but if you don’t continue to optimize your ads to drive CPC down and traffic up, it’s not a sustainable gameplan. One of the answers to this problem, of course, is written in the stars.

Adding stars to your PPC campaign can push all the right numbers in all the right directions. On average, ads with what Google calls “Seller Ratings” get a 10% higher click-through rate than those with none. In some cases, the boost can get up to 30% or higher. Seller Ratings also improve a business’ Quality Score which is a number that Google factors into CPC. An increase in Quality Score via Seller Ratings lowers CPC by roughly 14%, making them much more cost-effective. Cheaper ads and more clicks. Sounds pretty good, right? Buckle up, because we’re just getting started.

A whopping 90% of customers say that their buying decisions depend heavily on customer feedback. An impressive 88% consider online feedback as good as a personal recommendation from a friend or colleague. Your rating status online simply can’t be ignored, and it’s now made its way to AdWords campaigns. At least 77% of shoppers will compare yours with your competitors before making a purchase. Ads with Seller Ratings stand out, build trust, and increase qualified traffic to your site.

So, now you know how effective Seller Ratings can be, but how do you get started on your own? The reason star ratings appear on only a handful of search results is that search engines like Google have several requirements that regulate the process. Listen360’s AdStars® uses the feedback that we’re already receiving from your customers to meet the requirements of Google, Bing, and Yahoo for displaying a star rating next to your paid search ads. In other words, we automate the process by pushing your feedback through the hoops so you don’t have to jump through them yourself.

You’re already doing a great job of delighting your customers to get great feedback, why not show it off? Stars sell, and if you’ve got that little light, you’ve got to let it shine. To learn more about AdStars® and how Listen360 can help you optimize your ad dollars, click here.

Have your AdWords stats handy? Check out the AdStars® ROI calculator to see how much you can start saving today.

Lessons Learned From an Industry Veteran

In the health and fitness industry, a new member costs 5 times more to keep than an existing one. Wouldn’t you like to know exactly why your members are coming through the door or never coming back?

Learn how American Family Fitness incorporated member feedback into their daily practice to improve retention, enhance employee performance, and boost online reviews. Watch now to learn how to:

• Gather actionable feedback to ensure you’re consistently delivering a superior member experience
• Put feedback to work in your club or studio to make effective and impactful operational improvements
• Turn positive feedback into glowing online reviews and testimonials to drive new business

Facebook has retired the star rating system. Rather than giving users a 1-5 scale to leave a review, Facebook is now simply asking whether or not users would recommend a business.

Facebook hopes this change will push people to write more extensively about their experiences and leave authentic feedback; they believe these richer reviews are designed to help businesses be more visible in their local communities and attract more customers.

With over 1.6 billion people connected to small businesses on the platform, it’s no surprise that Facebook is testing out new ideas and working to make strides in the world of local business marketing.

So, what exactly has changed? Here’s the skinny:

         

  • Facebook users can easily indicate if they recommend your business with a simple “yes” or “no” (in place of the 1-5 star rating)
  • Users can explain why they would or would not recommend your business with tags, text, and photos. The minimum character count for the text is 25 characters.
  • Previous review data will still appear on local business pages. The reviews section, however, now features a numeric rating that is a combination of old star ratings and new yes/no recommendations.
  • It’s easier for your business to report fraudulent reviews, spam, or paid content in recommendations.
  • Unlike Facebook reviews, recommendations are not limited to a business’s page. Recommendations appear on user profiles and are discoverable across Facebook when people search or talk about your business, making it easier for people to find you.
  • Facebook realizes that people trust recommendations from their network of friends; recommendations from the people closest to a user will display more prominently.

As Facebook continues to help people connect with local businesses, it’s important to build internal processes that adapt and capitalize on these changes. If you are currently leveraging the Net Promoter System to determine how likely your customers are to recommend your business, you’re in great shape. By proactively asking your customers how likely they are to recommend your business, you will end up with more and better recommendations on Facebook and other platforms. NPS gives you a chance to identify detractors (those who score 0-6) and follow up with them before they go to Facebook to drive your recommendation rating down with a simple “no”. It also affords you the opportunity to turn passives (those who score 7-8) into promoters, and give your 9s and 10s the ability to share their wonderful experiences with their social network.

Two-thirds of all users visit the page of a local business at least once a week and Facebook expects to increase as they continue to identify new ways to connect users to local businesses within their communities.

Local business marketing is ever evolving, but customer referrals and recommendations remain at the heart of winning business strategies. Check out how brands like Orangetheory fitness, Orkin, and Fastsigns leverage NPS to win and retain customers, here.

When you sign a check, you’re sure to know where it’s going. When you invest, you monitor the markets. As a business, you can’t afford to treat your brand any differently.

Every time a customer chooses to spend with your brand, you’re putting your signature on the experience that customer receives. In the early days of franchising, the business embodies your vision and passion for exemplary customer service. As you grow and entrust your brand to more franchisees and locations, it becomes increasingly difficult to ensure the same quality across the expanse of your organization. Your dedication to your customers got you to where you are today; it’s time you saw that in action all over your network.

Meet the Net Promoter System. A product of years of research at Bain and Company, NPS is the pinnacle of customer feedback tools. The system reveals exactly how your customers feel about your brand. You can see which practices are working and which are causing friction on a regional, individual location, or even team member level.

Giants like Apple and Amazon use these proven metrics to understand how their customers are feelingestablish accountability for the customer experience, and confidently predict future profits. With more than two-thirds of the Fortune 1000 behind it, the NPS formula is certainly worth examining.

We’ve watched franchises use NPS in various ways to create ecstatic customer bases over the years. While each industry naturally has nuances, the general application and strategy around customer feedback remains very similar and very effective. We put these observations into an eBook that can guide you through the ins and outs of customer engagement through NPS. Don’t miss out; give it a read here.


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And Why NPS Adopters Are 2 Steps Ahead

Google recently updated their policies around what’s commonly known as review gating.

Review gating is a process where businesses first find out if a customer’s experience was positive or negative. When businesses only ask those who report having a positive experience to leave a review, this is known as “gating.”

According to one of the key changes in Google’s terms of service, businesses should not “discourage or prohibit negative reviews or selectively solicit positive reviews from customers.”

Google realizes that consumers use their reviews to make purchasing decisions. They also realize that, in order to continue to be a reliable source, they’ll need to make adjustments to their ecosystem, as we’ve also seen in their recent removal of anonymous reviews.

What does this mean for companies that only ask for reviews from their happiest customers? Right now, with very little info coming from Google, it is unclear. Many businesses are choosing the “wait and see” approach as there haven’t been any reports of companies being penalized for continuing business as usual. Others are taking a more proactive stance and asking all their customers for reviews, regardless of sentiment.

At Listen360, we believe it’s important to look beyond reviews when making decisions about running your business. Negative reviews stem from negative experiences. When great experiences and loyal customers are a priority, stellar reviews follow. This is the essence of the Net Promoter System (NPS) and is the reason that businesses who’ve adopted the NPS methodology are two steps ahead.

Businesses that ask for reviews in tandem with NPS are less likely to be impacted by this Google policy change. Here are a few reasons why:

  • Customers want to be heard. NPS gives detractors a way to express their concerns privately. By giving them an outlet, they’re less likely to follow it up with public negativity, even if given the option.
  • Finding out who is dissatisfied and looking for ways to make it right affords businesses the opportunity to generate positive reviews that would have otherwise been nonexistent.
  • By looking for trends in customer feedback, businesses can prioritize and tackle larger issues that impact more people which, in turn, influence more reviews.

If you love your customers, they’ll love you right back. Adopting customer-centric strategies like NPS helps drive repeat business and increases the quantity and quality of reviews organically.

Whether or not your organization chooses to ask some customers or all customers for reviews thereafter, nothing beats knowing the true drivers of customer loyalty at your organization.

If you’re curious about how Listen360 can help you build a brand that customers adore, give us a shout.

You may have noticed a slight drop in your total number of reviews on Google. Google is known for making changes that can greatly impact businesses, but doesn’t always make formal announcements or provide notice.

They seem to be in the process of removing reviews that do not have a name associated with them. While some businesses still have anonymous reviews, many have reported that their anonymous reviews are completely gone from both their business page and their star rating calculation.

These reviews look something like this:

 

 

We can only assume that Google is doing this to improve accountability among the reviewing public and protect consumers from fake reviews. Our hope is that this change will result in more honest reviews and fewer overly-critical reviews that often come from anonymous users.

While this doesn’t directly impact Listen360, we empathize with the businesses that are impacted by this change. Here are some suggestions to continue building a solid online reputation:

  • Continue to gather Google reviews and diversify your presence on other review platforms, such as Facebook.
  • Display customer feedback on your own testimonial page or add a testimonial widget to your website.
  • Continue delivering a great customer experience so that you are building a strong reputation – both on and offline.

We hope this information helped shed some light on the recent Google changes. If you have any questions or need assistance, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

Listen360 Customers:

You may be wondering how Google’s change will impact Listen360 reports and other tools you may be using to gather analytics on your reviews. While anonymous reviews may have been removed from the web by Google, Listen360 will keep a record of these reviews and you’ll be able to see them in the reviews dashboard. If you are utilizing a Listen360 testimonial page, website widget, or AdStars, these features will not be affected by this Google change.