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How to Harness the Power of Social Media Feedback

Engaging with consumers enables owners to assess a product's strengths and weaknesses.
March 22, 2011
URL: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/219376

Today's socially-engaged customers like to talk. And whether they're communicating via email, phone, in person, on social media or via some other channel, they expect to be heard.

The way customers used Facebook and Twitter to shout down the Gap's new logo last year is just one dramatic example of the impact today's empowered social consumers can have on a business.

For entrepreneurs, more vocal consumers present a challenge and an opportunity. It means you know exactly what customers are saying about you -- both positive and negative comments. Customer comments can give you insight into what's working and what's not working with your product or service. As the owner, you should participate in the conversation and use customer feedback to make smart business decisions.

Here are three ways to show customers you're listening to their feedback:

Know Where to Look
If people have complaints about your products or services, you want to know about those problems and fix them as soon as possible before other disgruntled customers chime in. If they're saying positive things, you want to know that, too, to determine where you're succeeding and figure out how to build on your strengths.

Get a read on what's already being written and said about your business by:

Get Your Customers Talking
An active listener solicits feedback and encourages two-way conversation with customers. You want to monitor conversation and participate in as well as inspire discussion. Some great ways to do that are:

Respond to Customer Feedback
Your customers have spoken. You've listened. Now what you do with the information?

Don't assume you know how your customers feel about your business. You can't really know for sure until you ask, listen and get a dialogue going.

Owners who don't listen to their customers are missing out on a priceless opportunity to see their business through their customers' eyes -- and to use that intelligence to improve the customer experience. A reservoir of raw, unfiltered business intelligence is yours for the asking, if you're willing to listen.