The strategic management and marketing of a service business is completely different from that of a manufacturing business. While all kinds of companies are trying to keep up with the fast digital transformations, the greatest challenge for service oriented businesses is about meeting the needs of their customers. Think of any service oriented business, a dentist in your neighborhood perhaps. What is the platform for recommendations? How would people come to know about the clinic or how good it is? It’s the existing customers that are crucial to the success of a service business. In fact, according to BrightLocal’s Local Consumer Review Survey 2016; 84% of modern consumers would rely on online reviews as with personal recommendations.
The above is so true with the advent of the real time interactive feedback and social media. People so to a place and talk about it in real time. Coming back to our dentist again, customers are likely to post about their experience and this would include everything from the moment they stepped in to the resolution of their problem. A patient to a neighboring dentist would also be the best person in giving answers to questions like how welcoming the place was, how prompt was the service, what was the infrastructure like, how good was the dentist, and the list goes on. People read and share these experiences online, not just in social media but across several review platforms. Consequently, it also becomes essential for marketers to come up with a review management system for businesses, howsoever local or global it is.
The ways to achieving positive online reviews for service businesses:
- Listening to individual customer: For services, every customer is important. From the moment that the business representative has picked up the phone for booking an appointment, the customer can be a crucial means of marketing. Good reviews automatically translate into more footfalls but one negative review can be disastrous. Every customer is thus an opportunity.
- Exploiting product and service differences: With service businesses, the product differentiation is about how special the customer felt doing business. While you must be able to highlight the specialty of your services, you should also be looking to build a relationship that makes the customer voluntarily vouch for you!
- Show your passion for work: With service business, it’s the passion that makes the difference. It’s your commitment that will bring back the customer to your doors for a second time and write a positive review on their social handles.
- Seek help: Once you know that a customer is satisfied, it also helps to ask him/her to leave a positive review of platforms that matter (bring business).
Much has been said about the importance of online reviews, but when it comes down to services, especially, the local ones, the challenge is phenomenal. A recent article by the Harvard Business Review suggests that marketing today has come down to a single thing – customer experience. It’s more important than the quality of the product or the value of the service. Customer experience has cumulative impact at multiple touch points, resulting in a relationship that goes on to define the service provider.