If that was the end of it, business owners might not have to worry as much about their reputation. But it doesn’t. Research suggests that a satisfied customer will tell about five other people about their experience. Dissatisfied customers will tell approximately 20 other people.
Those numbers, especially for the unhappy customer, are why business owners are continually urged to do everything they can to maintain high standards for customer satisfaction.
Yet those numbers represent only those people who we told mostly by word of mouth.
Today the potential audience that people can tell is much larger. Why? Welcome to the impact of social media.
There are two reasons why social media is so powerful in terms of your business reputation. First, look at the size of the audiences. We have all heard about certain viral customer complaints that went viral. Certainly those can have some substantial impact but what about a single negative comment just among friends.
Let’s look at a couple of examples. I routinely use TripAdvisor to post reviews of restaurants and hotels. I recently made three posts. According to TripAdvisor, within 10 days approximately 60 people had read those reviews.
Let’s move on to social media such as Facebook. Now the potential reach gets much bigger. For example I have about 250 friends. Already the audience is four times greater. But now friends tell their friends. If only 10% pass of my friends share the post with perhaps their 250 friends, 6500 people have now read something negative about your reputation.
And if sheer numbers aren’t enough to make you cringe, consider the second issue. People believe what they read online. Although the rate varies by generation, about 50% of baby-boomers and 80% of millennials accept the reviews they find online as valid. And that rate only goes up if I know the person writing the review.
More than ever before, customer satisfaction makes a difference in terms of reputation. And the trend is going to keep on growing.
So: (1) keep your customers satisfied and (2) monitor your online reputation. The time spent doing these will be time well spent.