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    Six Tips for Turning Customer Feedback into a Powerful Business Tool

    Marketing pros love to talk about Big Data, and with good reason. Without Big Data insights, email campaigns, A/B testing initiatives and programmatic ads, personalized customer engagements and other efforts can prove even less valuable than the heavily branded ads that preceded them. However, many marketers continue to overlook their most valuable data source: their customers. This, even in the face of growing budgets dedicated to collecting and analyzing this data.

    Perhaps the oversight results from the sheer volume of customer feedback available today. Social channels, support forums and review sites give every customer a chance to share his take on retail experiences, critique customer service and air his grievances with a brand’s products. Harnessing this feedback, and welcoming even the most negative of customer reviews, can be daunting. Yet, those reviews have a proven influence. According to a recent survey conducted in part by Censuswide, 62 percent of consumers are more likely to do business with a company after reading a positive review, and one in five will go on to spend at least 10 percent more with that company.

    So, how can your brand listen, measure and act on the VoC in order to turn customer feedback into a powerful business tool? Peter Holten Muhlmann, CEO of Trustpilot, has identified six tips to help your organization take advantage of Big Data opportunities.

    Peter Mühlmann founded Trustpilot in 2007 and has been the main driver behind the company’s continuous global expansion. In 2013, Peter was named Danish Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst & Young.

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    Are Marketers Missing Big Data Opportunities?

    Click through for six ways organizations can tap into the invaluable resource provided by customer feedback, as identified by Peter Holten Muhlmann, CEO of Trustpilot.

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    Encourage Honest, Direct Customer Feedback

    Many brands fear negative reviews because negative stories are frequently the only ones that come to light. The survey from Censuswide found that 59 percent of consumers who write negative reviews do so to protect others from bad experiences, but more than 90 percent of those unhappy customers will return to the brand if an issue is resolved quickly and efficiently.

    Instead of waiting for an error to occur and negative reviews to roll in, proactively reach out to customers after the point of sale. Encourage them to share honest feedback, and be prepared to engage and remedy any issues. Then, keep this channel of communication open. By establishing a dialogue with customers, you begin to earn their trust and ultimately enhance repeat business.

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    Collect Reviews About Customer Service, Not Product Specs

    Product reviews are a powerful sales tool, but the overarching element that wins customer trust and brand loyalty is exceptional customer service. Instead of asking customers about the end result of their purchase, focus conversations on the entire buying experience: How did they hear about the brand? Which touch points and channels are resonating? Did anything about your customer service stand out, or make them feel like they’d establish a personal connection? Reviews that respond to these prompts will help your customer service team turn targeted efforts into sales results.

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    Don’t Lose Review Data in Departmental Silos

    More than half of companies task their marketing or customer service teams with collecting and managing customer reviews. Often, these teams become the endpoint for valuable insights buried in review data, which can help identify issues in the supply chain, sales cycle or in product development. Establish an internal process for routing review data to various teams in your organization to put these insights to work and improve the customer experience moving forward.

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    Treat Reviews Like Any Other Piece of Marketing Content

    Your blogs and eBooks are designed to be sharable, so why aren’t your customer reviews? Marketing tools like click-to-tweet commands can apply to review data when it’s displayed on a third-party website, and, as users read and share review content, your brand receives third-party validation that proves its transparency with users and converts prospects into customers.

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    Use Reviews to Boost SEO

    Search engine algorithms constantly hunt for new content, which is a natural byproduct of proactively collected customer reviews. As an added bonus, reviews focused on customer service are rich with keywords that establish your brand as a consumer-friendly, trustworthy organization. Invest in tools that feed review data to major search engines, such as Google, Bing and Yahoo. Offer the potential to integrate this data with Google AdWords and Bing Merchant Ratings, and give your customers a chance to contribute to the heavy lifting of SEO organically.

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    Measure Review Data with Quantifiable Metrics

    Can you calculate the ROI of customer insights? If you’re not trying, you’re missing out on a valuable opportunity to improve business. Set goals that represent your customer service and retention objectives, such as increased conversions, customer ratings and website click-through rates. Then, benchmark the progress of these as you collect reviews, share them on social platforms and engage with customers, employing quantifiable measurements such as A/B testing whenever possible. These actions help you prove that customer trust is a valuable asset worthy of investment, and one you can back up with hard data.

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