Monday, October 25, 2010

99 vs. 1 = 99% - Would You Take Those Odds?

Ok, so when you were in school I'm suspecting that if you got 99 out of 100 questions right on an exam you'd be pretty happy (at least I know that would have been the case with me). Heck, I probably would have been satisfied with something even less than missing only one question. Now don't get me wrong, it's not like I was a terrible student, but in most cases if you get in the 90th percentile you're doing pretty darn good so even missing eight or ten questions would still have got me an "A".

Now, let's take this same equation and move it into the business world. Let's say that out of every 100 customers you serve 99 of them that think you're the best thing since sliced bread and will continue to do business with you. May be wishful thinking, but work with me here... You were on time, guarantee your work, delivered exactly what you promised (or maybe even went above and beyond) or whatever the reason... 99% of the time your customers LOVE you. That's a good thing, right? Sure it is...

Well hold on there mister. Let's talk about the ONE lonely sole that felt you did them wrong. Let's talk about the 1%. To them, you may have come off as rude, didn't meet their expectations, were too expensive, one of your employees treated them unfairly, etc... Whatever the case may be, you get the picture here. But the important thing to note is that this person (whether they are justified or not) thinks you suck and they are going to tell the world to right the wrong that has been done unto them.

Let me introduce you to Customer Ratings. These are the little "stars" that people can give you in things like Google, Yahoo Local and review sites like Yelp, Epinions, ConsumerSearch, RateMDs, and others. Now you and I both know that you've got a 99% "perfect" record that would get you an "A" in school, but do these customers always go out and tell the rest of the world they enjoy doing business with you? Maybe, but maybe not. In most cases, unless you ask or you do something really stupendous, they will be content and just keep doing business with you. But, they likely will not take the time (or energy) to seek out a way to submit their feedback on a review site and tell the rest of the world.

Now, back to your (former) customer that felt you were out to get him. Think this guy will go out and tell the world about how evil you are to your fellow man? You bet he will. In this instance with all things being equal, if your business is up against another business in the same industry and you have a negative review that will tip the scales in the favor of your competition! But wait, you have a 99% success rate. Doesn't that count for something? Don't I have an "A"???

With online customer reviews now playing more of an important role in a consumers' decision making process, the opinions of our peers mean more than any form of advertising you can do as a business owner. In fact, in the Socialnomics video (below), one of the key statistics that stands out to me is the fact that 78% of people trust the opinions and views of others, while only 14% trust advertising. This means that you could promote your 99% success rate in an advertisement telling the world how wonderful you are, but you'd only have 14% (if you're lucky) of the readers believe you. Yet in comparison, that ONE customer who felt you were out to get him will be believed by over three-quarters of those that read his comment. Now, all of a sudden that 1% yields quite a bit of power of your potential customer base...



So, what are YOU doing to help with your online reputation and customer ratings? Anything? Did you realize this was even going on? Even if you're not worried about combating negative ratings at this point, did you know that customer reviews can help to enhance your local search rankings? The search engines know this 14/78 statistic and those businesses with reviews are of more importance to consumers, and therefore to the search engines.

If you're wondering how to make this all happen, drop me a note and let's chat. WSI just brought a great service provider into our network called CustomerLobby that can help not only get you the positive reviews your business deserves, but help with your local search results too.

Chat soon...
Eric

P.S. Be sure to keep an eye on Free Webinar Wednesdays as we'll be featuring the CEO of CustomerLobby in an upcoming show and you can learn more about this great new service. If you're not part of the FWW family, hop over to the site and register or join us on Facebook to get the scoop on what's coming up. Don't forget, we have all of our webinars archived on the FWW site, so if you can't join us live you can always watch the session later. The webinars are every Wednesday at 1 pm Eastern and of course, free...
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