The Court of Public Opinion Rules

If you're like most consumers today, you use Google search all the time when you need a product or service and aren't sure where to get it. And you know a simple query about a company will bring up Google's summary, including customer reviews.

Never before has one customer had the ability to make such an impact on a company's business, thanks to Google and social media. 

If you're like most consumers today, you use Google search anywhere from occasionally to all the time when you need a product or service and aren't sure where to get it. And you know a simple query about a company will bring up Google's summary, including customer reviews and ratings. I personally live and die by these reviews. When I'm not sure where to send my business, and all other things are equal, you bet I will base my decision on what those Google reviews and ratings say.

I went through this process recently, in fact, as I was looking for a company to rent from for our annual Renters' Review, on page 24. There was one instance during my search where a negative review actually managed to turn me away from a company, even though it was closer to where I live than the one I ultimately rented from.

You can see this happening on social media too, particularly Facebook. I've noticed that more and more equipment rental companies are maintaining Facebook pages, as they should, particularly if they serve the DIY market. It's an excellent way to showcase what you have to offer, as well as establish a personal "vibe" or "atmosphere" for your company. Keep in mind, however, that Facebook also presents the perfect place for customers to highlight the good, the bad and the ugly of their experience with your company. And news travels faster and farther than ever before.

Something else to keep in mind in this new age of customer feedback is the need to respond to it quickly and every time (if there's a problem). Keep tabs on what people are saying about you on Google, Facebook, Yelp, etc. Respond to complaints quickly, sincerely and productively or that disgruntled customer will get the last word on your company. Not only will a personal response allow you to possibly keep a customer who would have otherwise gone elsewhere, it will also show prospective clients that you care about serving them and do your best to right any wrongs that might come up. This is extra work, but it can't be ignored in today's business world.

If you're not paying attention to the court of public opinion, you should be. The old saying "the customer is always right" has never been more true.

 

 

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