Localogy Insider invites experts in a field relevant to our community to share practical advice on how to do the business of local better. In this ExpertTake, BirdEye’s President and COO Dave Lehman discusses how online reviews impact SEO. BirdEye offers a reviews-management platform for small businesses and enterprises.
Customer experience (CX) for SMBs involves the impressions they leave with their customers across every stage of the customer journey. As a trusted advisor and partner who empowers businesses, you already know CX is critical to driving growth, but how do you tell this story to your SMB customers?
Customers want personalized, frictionless experiences and companies today are delivering just that via scalable CX software. Expecting the best from a business is the new normal. It’s no surprise that 86% of customers are willing to pay more for better customer experience. What’s more amazing is that companies with superior customer experience bring in 5.7 X more revenue than their competitors who lag behind.
The Benefits of Customer Experience
Of course, building a great customer experience isn’t always easy for small businesses. Let’s take a second to talk about how you can help your SMB customers drive incremental new and repeat business while you generate more top-line revenue.
Help Your SMB Customers Be Found
The first step to creating a great customer experience is making sure that your client can be discovered. Make sure their business is listed on relevant sites like Google and Facebook with accurate Name, Address, and Phone Number (NAP) data throughout.
Help Your SMB Customers Be Chosen
There’s one thing that can help all of your marketing efforts: reviews. The UI of every publisher site highlights reviews, so how are you helping your SMBs stand apart from the crowd? Consumers research their options by looking at reviews for each of the choices they’re considering. If the overall review rating of a business is low, it is unlikely that your client’s business will be chosen over the competition. If your advertising products and services are built to drive bottom-of-the funnel demand, those products will get diminished ROI unless your SMB customers have strong reviews.
Reviews are more likely to be written by unsatisfied customers, and negative reviews are unavoidable. Luckily, there’s a simple solution: If an SMB asks all their customers to provide feedback, their happy customers will rise to the top and tip the scales in their favor.
Keep the process simple and use multiple ways to request customer feedback (like text and emails) and use drip campaigns to remind SMB customers in case they missed the review request. As the number of reviews grows so will your SMBs’ social proof–as well as their local search engine ranking signals. Take the extra step and promote your SMBs’ happy reviews on their own website and social pages.
Help Your SMB Customers Be Connected
Good CX entails making sure that every interaction the customer has with your clients’ business goes smoothly. Whether sending an invoice or an appointment reminder, make sure your SMBs are reaching out effectively. This includes implementing communication channels their customers may be more comfortable using like Text messaging via SMS or MMS. Customers prefer text messages over phone calls and emails because of their convenience and dependability.
Don’t just stop at your SMBs’ active customers. Think about how they can better connect with potential customers and website visitors. Consider webchat to allow SMBs to have 1:1 conversations with their prospects and convert them into customers. Contrary to what you may be thinking, SMBs do not need an army to manage a website chat. SMBs can manage website visitor text queries on-the-go right from their cellphones. Or you can offer a premium managed service and increase your MRR.
Help Your SMBs Be the Best
Reviews aren’t just a tool to help attract more customers. They also can provide valuable insights into what is and isn’t working with your clients’ operations. The problem is that it’s tough to turn the unstructured data from review text into real insights. It’s tough for an SMB to tell when they’re dealing with a chronic complainer versus a customer with legitimate grievances.
That’s where natural language processing (NLP) can help. NLP can sort through the mountains of customer feedback and provide report cards on the areas that customers are mentioning the most. If customers are complaining about “wait time”, you’ll be able to see that immediately.
NLP can also give insights into what’s working with your SMBs’ competitors by analyzing competitive reviews as well. Competitive data can help give a sneak peek into where your clients’ business can improve. Maybe you’ll see that customers are praising a competitor’s “customer service”. That shows a possible area your client can work to improve and highlight an actionable step to improve their business.
Empower Every Aspect of Your SMBs Customer Journey
BirdEye believes that when small businesses manage every step of the customer journey, they create a positive self-reinforcing cycle (e.g., flywheel) described in the following graphic.
Selling Customer Experience and Incremental MRR
The desire for a quality customer experience is not going away anytime soon. Customers are going to continue to demand quality, so it’s important that your SMBs stay ahead of the curve or get left behind.
SMBs come to you with a problem they need to be solved immediately and being able to deliver on that urgency is how you win deals and expand your market share. When you are ready for your relationship with these businesses to get deeper, you should introduce them to more encompassing aspects of CX software. It’s a great way to build sticky relationships, increase monthly billing and ensure you’re retaining clients for the long haul.
Instead of buying products like listings, reviews, messaging, and NLP from different vendors, consider simplifying things with a consolidated platform. An all-in-one solution can help businesses fix listings, collect and leverage customer feedback, message customers, get actionable insights, and grow revenue.
Don’t let your SMBs’ customer experience fall behind the competition. With a quality CX solution, your clients can deliver exactly what their customers demand.
BirdEye at Localogy 20/20
11:05 – 11:35
Ratings, Reviews and Stars
User-generated content exploded onto the local landscape more than a decade ago, largely pioneered by Yelp. We’ll briefly review the short, but dramatic, shift in local caused by the advent of ratings, reviews, and stars. And we’ll dig into the key issues facing local buyers as they navigate the current environment, where fake reviews are increasingly common and trust is eroding. Will something eventually replace today’s ratings and reviews system? Will stars even matter a year or two from now?
Collin Holmes, Chatmeter
Laura Nelson, Signpost
David Lehman, BirdEye
Visit BirdEye’s website for more information.