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The Power of Public Opinion - Word-of-Mouth is Thicker than Water

Vocal consumers armed with high-tech megaphones are having an unmistakable impact on the popularity of businesses, especially locally.

These days, consumers are smarter, more discriminating and vocal than ever. They're also connected to the Internet and routinely use it to shop and rate businesses. Considering the growing number of ways for a consumer to voice his or her opinions to other consumers, one naturally wonders how much credence consumer ratings have and how they affect sales and customer loyalty.

How Powerful is Public Opinion?

According to a Forrester poll, consumer-to-consumer recommendations-even online consumer postings to forums-carry a higher trust factor than virtually all other forms of advertising, including TV, radio and print .

That's a huge incentive for local businesses to focus on creating value for your customers, ensuring their satisfaction, openly sharing your consumer focus with local residents and shoppers, and promoting your best business practices.

Whatcom Eview gives consumers a way to rate your performance and we see that as a positive for local businesses. If a client or customer is pleased with your business, they will return again and again. Why not let that positive opinion out into the public? Your best customers will become your best advertising assets!

What about Un-happy Customers?

On the other hand, companies can lose business because of dissatisfied clients. Did you know only two to four percent of dissatisfied customers ever complain to a business regarding a poor experience? Conversely, they tell upwards of 20 people about the bad experience!

And the other 96 percent of unhappy customers; what happens to them? They just switch to doing business with your competitors, and you never know why. When polled, 68 percent of those who defect say they do so because of supplier indifference or poor attitude .

So with each unhappy customer, you can potentially lose a little business. Word can spread among locals to stay away, and you lose more business-never knowing why or being given a chance to change your business practices to meet the consumers' needs. With Business Eview, that cycle can change.

How Customer Ratings Can Help

In an economy built on service, the extent to which we prosper will depend on our ability to educate… empower and ennoble…each other .

At Whatcom Eview, because we feel responding to an issue is better than letting an unhappy customer turn into a loose cannon, we see power in good and bad ratings.

A poor rating can be a positive thing when you pair it with a good response. Turn dissatisfied clients into happy ones, and they spread word about your good deeds. In fact, many studies support that a bad consumer experience, when responded to effectively, can enhance a businesses image and overall consumer loyalty.

The Eview makes it easy for consumers to share their opinions about local businesses with the community by rating local businesses online.

Consumers like to rate because:

  • It's fun, easy, quick and FREE!
  • It helps family, friends and community members to find value
  • It gives them power to help raise the local service-standard

Businesses like consumers to rate because:

  • It helps community members discover the value you offer
  • It informs businesses about what is working and/or how you can improve
  • It gives you the power to reclaim lost customers and turn them into assets

The Power of a Loyal Customer

Did you know that at most companies, 20 percent of customers generate more than 80 percent of revenues and profit ?

Wouldn't it be great to know what makes those loyal customers return again and again? If you knew, it might prove easier for you to create more loyal customers.

With that in mind, here's a fact you'll like: just a five percent increase in customer retention can raise profitability by 25 percent .

And here's one that might shock you: It costs five times more to gain a new customer than to retain an existing one .

So, how do you find out what satisfies your most loyal customers and "bottle" that to present to existing customers?

  1. Give them an opportunity to rate your business at Whatcom Eview!
  2. Using the Eview, learn to identify who your loyal customers are.
  3. Encourage those "loyalists" to share their opinions online.
  4. Through surveys, polls and customer feedback discover what it takes to retain your most loyal clients.
  5. Use your ratings as a sales tool by sharing print outs of your scorecard with visitors online and at your business-a powerful tool that shows how you rate and encourages word-of-mouth marketing!
  6. Watch as the positive comments your loyal customers offer can actually help recruit new business for you-a much better return on your investment than any billboard or full-page ad.

Finally, being part of the Eview is Free. We offer, as a community service, the ability for every business to have a web presence and to respond to ratings. And the best businesses do.

  
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