This is the last in a blog series on an important customer service study by Dimension Research.

All survey participants were asked if they had seen online reviews of customer service. About two-thirds of participants reported that they did recall reading these online reviews. Review sites were the most common place to read a negative review of customer service where Facebook was the most common place to read a positive review of customer service.

The vast majority of participants who have seen reviews claimed that that information did impact their buying decisions. This was true of both positive reviews as well as negative reviews

Cites most frequented for negative reviews:
Online Review Site: 39%
Facebook: 38%
Company Site: 29%
Yelp: 25%
Twitter: 22%

Cites most frequented for positive reviews:
Fcebook: 44%
Online Review Site: 41%
Company Site: 39%
Twitter: 23%

Readers took the message to heart. Buying decisions were influenced greatly:
All: 88%
Negative: 86%
Positive: 90%

What lessons do we take away from this? Your customer service strategy MUST include monitoring of online review sites. You will (unless you and your staff are super-human) sometimes receive negative reviews. As long as you participate in the conversation, you have a chance of minimizing the negative spin. For an example of this, look at your Trip Advisor. Wise hoteliers respond to negative comments, firt apologizing to the guest, then stating what they are doing to overcome any problems and provide better experiences to other guests.

An often overlooked step is sharing the feedback with those providing the service to customers. If management gets a nice report on social media interactions re your business but it is never shared with the actual service providers, there is far less chance of improvement.

The bottom line is that purchase decisions ARE impacted by online reviews. We can no longer rest on the laurels of a great outbound marketing campaign. We need to see what our customers are saying as that may do more to define our brand than anything we are promoting in traditional marketing channels. Making the front line and the sales team aware of comments that customers have made both positive and negative is a critical part of your strategy. Have you incorporated this is into your customer service strategy? If so, comment on this post and share with our readers!