3 Types of Consumer Feedback You Should Not Ignore (And How to Respond to Them)

May 18, 2016

14279306964_f661d8df0b_mWith the many channels consumers have to provide feedback to your business – from online review sites to social media pages – knowing where to focus your attention can be overwhelming.

Luckily there are plenty of killer social monitoring solutions so businesses can easily automate tracking consumer feedback online. Some are even so sophisticated they can spot emerging trends and understand sarcasm, slang and emojis.

But even the best software won’t help if you don’t know how to use it well. With consumer feedback, there are three areas to explore:

  1. Positive Feedback
  2. Negative Feedback
  3. Silent Feedback

Each tells you a lot about your audience, and each requires a specific approach to keep your business humming along happily.

Yes they love you, now what?

With positive feedback it’s easy to stop at patting yourself on the back and counting all the “likes.” After all, what else is left to do if your customers already love you? Good marketers know the answer to that question is: “Lots.”

For starters, it’s an opportunity to engage consumers – by thanking them for their support. And of course you can use any available information to promote your brand – by lifting quotes from customer emails or online reviews, and publishing them to your website as testimonials.

But that’s just the beginning. With social listening software you can analyze consumers’ emotions to find the people who like your brand most – the ones who call themselves “passionate,” “obsessed,” “in love,” and “customers for life.” These are the people you want to engage and inspire to be influencers for your brand.

Why is it so important to court consumers you’ve already won over? Because being at the top now doesn’t mean you’ll stay there. That’s another reason it’s important to stay attuned to social analytics in real time. If the winds of change start blowing you off course, you want to adjust your sails before your brand runs aground. So keep the love flowing.

Never go to bed angry

Negative feedback is even more important to catch and address right away. Why? One reason is consumers now look to social media as a customer service portal – one which lends itself to quick resolution. According to Social Media Research, 42 percent of consumers complaining on social media expect a response within an hour.

A speedy response is paramount, because as Help Scout reminds us, “news of bad customer service reaches more than twice as many ears as praise for a good service experience.” And on social media that news travels in an instant.

Letting negative comments of any kind sit unanswered is an invitation to a potential viral social disaster. But how you handle such issues publicly matters too – and you never want to make things worse when all of social is watching.

Maria Elena Duron at AllBusiness recommends, “As you much as you can, if someone is enraged online, try to move the conversation offline. This action will show others watching that you are listening, and you’re attentive and concerned, all of which are a positive reflection on you and your business.” Take control by nipping negativity in the bud!

The silent treatment

Not all consumers are vocal with their disapproval – but what consumers don’t say or do can be just as valuable feedback.

According to Insightly, consumers’ inactions – like not opening an email, or unsubscribing – are clues you need to tweak your campaign. The problem could be as simple as sending your e-mail at the wrong time of day, or as serious as your messaging being “off” for your audience – either way, the “silence” speaks volumes.

For social silence Insightly suggests examining your social feeds: “You might find that you’re putting out nothing but retweets or self-promotional content, in which case, you’re turning off followers.”

This is an area where social data can work wonders. Consumers may not tell you what’s turning them off, but exploring how they engage with your competitors can clue you in to what they do like. Offer the same type of content and see what happens.

Embrace feedback in all forms

Feedback matters. The simple act of asking for consumer feedback can improve customer retention and help you understand your audience better – as can seeking out feedback that’s less direct. Watching for, and responding to, each type of feedback gives your brand the chance to wow consumers, no matter their mood. That’s bound to make a good impression.


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