Every business wants five-star reviews. They’re the ultimate vote of confidence from customers and when they’re displayed online, they happen to be a pretty powerful signal to prospects that you’re really good at what you do. We used the analogy before of the spotlight. You’ve seen the big lights shining up into the heavens at NY’s eve – people can’t help being drawn to them like moths. Reviews are your spotlights to the sky – they attract prospective customers to check you out.
A good review-gathering system is a must but you’ve still got to do the hard yards: giving your customers a solution that’s actually worth five stars. You reap what you sow – it’s that simple. Great reviews will come more easily the more value you create for your customers.
We’re going to walk you through exactly what you need to do to provide a five-star solution, including practical tips on how to train your staff. Let’s dive in.
Look After Your Customers
Everyone likes to be looked after; your partner, your granny, your dog … and, of course, your customers.
One way of doing this is to create a customer-centric culture in your company. Putting the focus on the people you serve helps them feel special, and helps your staff understand where they need to be focusing their attention.
Imagine you’re in a romantic relationship. A big part of keeping that spark alive is to make the other person feel special, to make them feel like you’re putting their needs first. Don’t talk so much about yourself – ask them how they’re feeling and what they want. At first lovers do everything they can to help the other feel special…dates, foot rubs, goo-ey phone calls in the late evening..they do it all. For most couples, after a few years they’re lucky to get offered the chip packet while you’re watching TV. Don’t let this be you in business – where you are treating your customers like inconveniences. You gotta stay fresh and focussed on wooing,courting, charming your customers and clients.
They. Always. Come. First.
No-one Likes Mediocrity
No-one likes to feel like they’re ‘settling’ in a relationship, and the same goes for your customers. You aren’t going to get five stars by providing a service that delivers exactly what they expect.
You need to WOW….to shock. You need to awe.
Research has shown that people are more inclined to share high-energy emotional experiences (anger, anxiety, awe, surprise, amusement) than low-energy ones.
Being reliable and consistent won’t necessarily be enough to kickstart the flood of five-star reviews you’re looking for, so make sure every customer experience is one of the following:
- “Wow, that was something really exciting and different!”
- “I didn’t expect that – what a pleasant surprise!”
- “How entertaining! That was really enjoyable.”
Change Isn’t Spontaneous
If you’ve already started making the move to a customer-centric culture and you aren’t seeing results, don’t stress. Good things take time – your company won’t be able to completely reorient itself overnight.
Instead, trust in your processes and look for small, consistent improvements. Here are some key areas to tick off your ‘put customers first list’.
It almost goes without saying (you know we have to) that front-facing teams (like sales and customer service) need to be really on the ball when it comes to having a customer-centric attitude. While every industry and every job has different training requirements, here are a couple of tips virtually all teams can implement:
- Personalise the experience (make the customer feel special)
- Go above and beyond the standard (deliver the unexpected)
- Give them a solution to their problem (be helpful)
- Empathise with them (imagine being in their shoes)
- Be genuine, be honest, and be passionate (be unguarded and real)
Find ways to interpret the above ideas into ‘on the ground’ practices that are measurable.
Culture can often seem like one of those wishy-washy concepts that no-one really gets and no we are not talking about yoghurt. When someone talks about ‘culture’ in a meeting, there’s a pretty good chance that they’re going to receive blank stares and slow, confused nods.
Quick definition: it’s how your company’s internal values manifest themselves in a day-to-day setting aka the decisions people make based on what’s expected. Make sure you, your execs, and every level of management exhibit customer-centric behaviour. You’re the role model for your staff – lead by example.
Where are you going? Imagine a friend asked you to drive them somewhere. You ask, “Where?”. Your friend responds, “Just drive!”. Unless you’re OK with ending up on a bender in a casino three states away that includes washing dishes to pay off a debt to a loan shark (sounds good but it’s not) then have an idea of where you’re going.
The same goes for your staff. You need to really help them understand the connection between their day-to-day job and your customers – how does what they’re doing relates to the company’s ultimate mission? While you’re at it, make sure everyone actually understands what that mission is (especially you el Capitan).
Remember how your teachers always told you to check your work before handing it in? The same goes for creating a customer-centric culture. You need to check in regularly and make sure your staff are on board and your new five-star customer experience is being embraced by the rest of your company (thus influencing culture).
- Make sure your KPIs reflect the values you want
- Incentivise staff to provide great customer experience
- Use customer feedback surveys
- Listen to and act on advice and/or complaints from customers (as long as they’re constructive)
The Bottom Line
Setting the scene for a five-star review isn’t easy but it beats the heck out of hearing crickets instead of your phone ringing. Setting yourself apart from the crowd is going to take time, and you’re going to need to work hard. You’ll have to create a customer-centric culture, focusing on the following areas:
- Front-facing staff
- Company culture
- Company mission
Ultimately, though, you’ll be (massively) rewarded for your efforts. You’re probably already hustling so may as well apply your efforts where they will pay off the most, right? Persevere, and watch those five-star reviews come pouring in.