We’ve already told you why being transparent is important for your organization. It builds trust that may otherwise have been hard earned and it helps your organization grow in ways that may have otherwise been impossible. This month in our “Customer Experience” blog series, we’re putting our own advice to use and giving you a look inside KDG—what we do every day to keep our work at its best and our clients at their happiest.
Today, with everything online, you’d think that transparency would be easy. Individuals are oftentimes more than happy to overshare on social media; however, businesses, nonprofits, and institutions of higher education may not actually be sharing enough, which is turning away potential customers, donors, and students. Because people have gotten so used to the availability of information online, they’re starting to expect increased transparency from everyone, regardless of whether you’re simply their Facebook “friend” or the small business down the street that sells them groceries.
In our last blog about transparency, we highlighted a few ways in which your organization can become more transparent online: using an “About Us” page, filming videos, posting on social media, and more. We’ve also used our blog to explain why feedback and listening is vital to building a sense of trust between yourself and your clients.
Separately, both customer experience tips make all the difference in your organization and its performance. However, when the power of both are combined, you have the ultimate customer experience strategy at the ready. Part of being transparent is being honest and part of gathering feedback is actually listening to it. There’s no better way of proving that you’re listening to your clients than by being transparent and putting their praise, questions, and complaints online for the world to see…unedited, unfiltered, and completely honest.
In this spirit, there’s a new fixation on “crowdsourcing” feedback in an effort to become more transparent. More and more companies are giving customers the ability to publicly post feedback on their own time and in their own words. Third-party sites like Yelp already make it possible for businesses to crowdsource feedback, but more businesses have taken to presenting feedback directly on their websites. The popular language learning software Rosetta Stone has a page dedicated to reviews. Custom Ink, a company that specializes in custom apparel, also showcases its reviews on a page entitled “Uncensored Customer Reviews,” leaving very little room for doubt about whether or not the feedback has been edited. Here at KDG, we’ve even dedicated a page on our website to client feedback.
What We’ve Done
It’s been mentioned previously in other blog posts that we at KDG are on a yearlong quest to improve our own customer experience. As a result, we’ve made several significant changes to our site based on the blog posts we’ve been publishing.
First, like Rosetta Stone, Custom Ink, and other businesses, we’ve recently developed a web page on our site dedicated solely to the feedback our clients give.
The purpose of our Customer Satisfaction page is to increase our transparency by showing the public all that our clients have to say—both the good and the bad (though we do filter out any explicit language, if necessary).
We didn’t only want the public to see these reviews. We wanted ourselves to see them, too. These reviews are a way to gauge how well we are performing and whether we are meeting our clients’ needs. For us, they serve as a constant reminder of the job that we do. Thanks to this new page, feedback is always visible. It can’t be hidden or ignored. It forces us to listen and it motivates us to repeat our successes and improve on our faults so that every client is satisfied.
In an article about the importance of being transparent, John Hall, CEO of the marketing strategy company Influence & Co., says to expect that your clients and customers “are going to share their experiences with the world.” We expected this, we wanted this, and we even gave our clients the tools they need to accomplish this.
Accompanying our new feedback page is also a new Giving Back page. We believe that doing well on a project is a reason to do good in the community. For every piece of feedback a client gives us on our weekly email surveys, we donate money to charity. Employees each pick a charity they feel passionate about, from animal shelters to healthcare organizations, and a donation is made in their name when a client provides feedback (good or bad).
We like to think this page sets us apart from other tech companies. It exposes another layer about our employees, a more personal one that even an “About Us” page cannot convey. It demonstrates that we’re more than just designers and developers or marketers and sales professionals. We’re active community members just like our clients and even share a lot of their same cares and concerns.
We’re also starting a new video series that will not only give clients and others an exclusive inside look at the company, the people who work here, and our process, but will also establish us as subject matter experts, something that all businesses should focus on. (Keep a lookout for premier of the first video on our site next month!)
If you want clients or customers to purchase your services or buy your products, show them why they should choose you over someone else. Demonstrate how you can best help them. In other words, build trust. When it comes to trust, it’s always the experts who are most likely to earn it.
What You Can Do
Although we have the resources on hand to easily design and develop these pages of transparency and feedback portals, you don’t have to be a tech company to have a more transparent online presence. There are some strategies that any organization can do, even with minimal resources.
As we mentioned last month, gathering feedback through surveys or emails is a great way to measure the satisfaction and experience of your customers and clients. In addition, if you have an active social media account, customers can leave reviews and feedback, like on your Facebook page. However, now it’s time to take these reviews and survey results a step further. Don’t keep them to yourself. Instead, show them on your website. (For those looking for even more of a reason to start publicly publishing reviews and feedback: studies have shown that the presence of reviews actually improves a website’s SEO score and online visibility.)
To make this simpler, there are several third-party sites and plugins available that automatically update your website to reflect the feedback you receive. WordPress has an ever-growing amount of customer review plugins available, including some free plugins that are perfect for a small company with a careful eye on its budget. However, the other plugins that cost money are relatively inexpensive and, with more control and more options, are well worth the price for a company serious about its online transparency and public feedback.
In addition, the popular business operating system Zoho also has ways of gathering and sharing customer feedback on your website and your social media accounts. Using Zoho, you have the ability to choose who you send feedback requests to and the platform will help you compose a personalized, on-brand email. (If you need help with client feedback using Zoho or any other Zoho solution, we at KDG have one of the only teams of 100% USA-based Zoho certified developers on hand to help.)
If you decide to start sharing your reviews online (and you really should), remember that the key is to be transparent. Don’t try to hide the negative feedback. Doing so won’t make the criticism and complaints go away. In fact, this lack of transparency may only infuriate your clients and diminish your company’s respectability. You’re not only causing your clients to question what you’re hiding, but you’re also insulting their intelligence. Not a single business can have a 100% approval rating every single day, and your customers know this.
Instead, the best thing you can do when it comes to negative feedback is to keep it public on your site, keep it present on your social media profiles, and keep it visible on your Yelp and other third-party accounts. Use the criticism as a reason to constantly work towards making improvements and bettering your organization so it is even stronger in the future.
As mentioned previously, videos are another way you can increase your transparency. They’re universal tools. No matter your company or organization, you can benefit from a video. Use them to add a personal, more human element to your organization, but don’t leave it there. It’s extremely poor practice to waste your valuable time and resources on a series of “behind the scenes” videos that do nothing for the group of people you are hoping to attract. Videos on a company’s website should not be displays of self-gratification. If you want to earn a customer’s trust, don’t try and sell them something in a video, or simply brag about your company, its sales, and its awards in front of a camera. Instead, give clients something that they can use for their own improvement; a bit of knowledge they can take away. And you don’t need a professional film crew, either. Some good lighting, a nice camera, and something important to say is all you need to capture attention and earn trust.
Looking for More Ways to Improve Your Customer Experience?
At KDG, we’ve been using tech solutions to help organizations around the nation create a more welcoming and trustworthy online presence. Our solutions include custom software development of apps for increased accessibility, engaging UI/UX design that showcases all a top college or university has to offer, and comprehensive small business IT support that keeps all websites safe, secure, and running smoothly. We hope this blog post has given you a few ideas when it comes to improving customer satisfaction, but if you need even more help, we have the solutions any organization needs to start offering a more pleasant customer experience.