In my last article, I explained four simple tips for increasing customer feedback. I promised that I would follow-up with some additional tips on how to turn positive feedback into something more valuable than just a pat on the back.
Let's be honest here. As business owners, we all know that negative tweets, comments or reviews can hurt our business. Sometimes we get so fixated on fire-proofing our reputation that we forget to utilize the praise that comes our way. Let's look at some of the different ways we can take positive feedback and use it to bolster our reputations and, more importantly, our bottom line.
1. Website testimonials
You've likely read that the value of website testimonials has decreased over the years. Sure, as consumers, we're guarded against any positive quote that appears on your website. Is it real? Did your mom write it? Can it be trusted? Those are real questions, but it's better to have those questions asked about positive testimonials on your website than to not have them at all—and have it assumed that no one likes you. If you can, list the full name of the person providing the testimonial, but even anonymous praise is better than no praise.
2. Your marketing materials
How many movie trailers have you seen where such-and-such magazine says that a movie is "Epic!" or "Simply superb!"? Those snippets of praise employ some of the most creative uses of reviews I have ever seen. Look closely at the tiny text below the quote and you will see that sometimes those quotes are attributed to sources such as "Little Billy's Movie Reviews" or some other obscure critic. Other times, they'll take just the soundbite they need. The quote, "The movies was an absolute stinker, but the special effects were outstanding." becomes "Outstanding" in the TV trailer. Don't lie to your prospective customers, but do not be afraid to edit down a long testimonial and use the most valuable snippets in your marketing materials.
3. Your favored review sites
Many business owners make the mistake of letting their customers find their own way to a review site. If you are a car dealer a review on Cars.com is more valuable than CitySearch. A hotel needs more positive reviews at TripAdvisor, than Fodors. My point is this, you should give your customers direction. Point them to the review site that will benefit your business the most. When I was heavily promoting my book I would often receive e-mails or tweets with positive praise. I would invariably respond by asking them if they could take two minutes to share that praise at Amazon.com. That's where the testimonial would help me the most, not my inbox or a fleeting tweet.
4. Twitter widgets
Not that positive tweets can't help you increase revenue—you just have to capture them before they disappear into the Twitter abyss. I don't know how your business uses the "Favorite" function in its corporate Twitter account, but I like to use Trackur's to capture positive tweets. Simply set up a widget that shows only your favorite tweets, then display said widget on your website, blog or other online property. It helps to keep the positive tweets sticky, while at the same time providing social proof of your awesomeness to potential customers. You can see an example of this in action by scrolling to the bottom of this page.
5. Free market research
What do you actually do with all of the positive praise you receive? Any of the above tactics would be a great start, but you can go even further by using praise to direct your product development and audience targeting. Let's say your customers love your new office chair because it helps to relieve them of backache. You hear that from them, over and over again. That's free market research, right? Take that feedback and use it to craft your next TV commercial or banner ad. Start highlighting your chairs' pain relieving abilities. Go one step further and start designing a brand new line of chairs that focuses on relieving backaches. They'll be a hit because you already know that your target audience will love them!
I want to finish with one last tip: Simply, thank them. Nothing will keep that positive energy going longer—and keep your customers happy—than simply acknowledging them and thanking them for their feedback. You can do that, right?