Customer opinions have never mattered more, when just a few dissatisfied customers have the ability to tank a small business’s reputation on social media and review websites like Yelp. Thirty-percent of consumers say they have posted about customer service problems on social media, and people are twice as likely to tell their friends about problems they’ve had with a brand as they are positive interactions with a company. The sooner a business can recognize a dissatisfied customer and try to come to a resolution, the less likely a negative review will result from the interaction.
From a purely financial perspective, it’s also cheaper to keep existing customers coming back than it is to continue acquiring new ones. Using hyperlocal technology, vendors are helping small and mid-size merchants zero in on unhappy guests and giving them a way to make all of their customers feel heard.
Here are six examples of platforms that merchants can try.
1. ListenPort: Resolve customer issues via SMS
ListenPort is a business intelligence tool that gives merchants a way to accept feedback, suggestions, and questions from their customers on a private platform. Businesses display an SMS number on in-store signage and online, and consumers can text the number from their mobile phones. Managers can review and resolve customer issues in real-time, and they can send micro-surveys as a way to learn more about their customers’ preferences and opinions. ListenPort also gives businesses a way to generate reports based on the data they collect and monitor reviews posted on social media. ListenPort offers a Basic plan for free.
2. flok: Send and receive chat messages with customers
Although flok is primarily a customer loyalty and engagement solution for local businesses, the platform also gives merchants a way to send and receive chat messages with their customers in real-time. Using flok’s auto chat feature, merchants can automatically reach out to customers on their mobile devices after each visit and ask them to rate their experiences. If a customer has a negative rating, then the merchant can follow up personally to resolve the issue before it escalates into a damaging public review. Businesses can try flok’s platform for free.
3. Loop: Address issues before customers walk out the door
Loop is a mobile guest engagement solution that uses automated message routing to enable teams to manage customer requests. Guests can use in-store kiosks or their mobile phones to quickly rate the quality of their experiences, based on short surveys that the business creates. These ratings are then available to the business in real-time, giving employees the opportunity to address negative results before the customer has even walked out the door. Merchants can also recover dissatisfied customers with Loop Messenger, a one-on-one instant messaging platform that connects customers and merchants. In addition to answering questions and resolving disputes, merchants can push offers through the platform. Merchants can contact Loop for custom pricing.
4. Bazaarvoice: Encourage advocacy from customers
Bazaarvoice provides user-generated content marketing solutions for businesses. The company has a Q&A product that merchants can use to resolve any complaints their customers might have, while also answering product questions from people who’ve yet to make a purchase. Businesses can include Q&A tabs on their websites, which give customers a prominent place to ask questions or post complaints. These issues can then be addressed by the business owner, other customers, or even brand manufacturers. Because the content appears on the merchant’s website, it can be moderated and it also helps with search engine optimization. Businesses can contact Bazaarvoice for pricing details.
5. OwnerListens: Respond to negative feedback before it goes public
OwnerListens has a customer feedback solution designed with small businesses in mind. The tool, which gives customers a direct way to chat with businesses and hopefully resolve complaints before they end up on review sites like Yelp, gives merchants a way to privately respond to feedback in real-time. Each business gets an SMS number to post on signage and their website or social media accounts, and customers can message that number with questions or complaints at any time. They can also connect with the business via WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger. Pricing for OwnerListens starts at $10 per month.
6. Medallia: Understand customer feedback in real-time
Large firms in the retail, financial, hospitality, auto, B2B, and telecom industries can use Medallia to capture feedback and take action to improve the customer experience. In-app surveys with location-aware notifications, email surveys, web intercept surveys, sweepstakes, and other data collection methods are used to collect feedback from customers. “Detractor” comments are flagged, giving businesses the opportunity to follow up. Integrating Medallia with the POS takes it one step further, giving managers real insights into what they could do to improve satisfaction rates at their stores. Medallia offers custom pricing to enterprise clients.
Know of other tools businesses can use to recognize dissatisfied customers? Leave a description in the comments.
Stephanie Miles is a senior editor at Street Fight.