Hear from the experts on some of the most common work issues facing businesses today

Consumer Champion Martin Newman and business leaders Joe Bush, CEO of The Chat Shop at The Light Box in Chiswick, and Flavilla Fongang, CEO of  3 Colours Rule at Parkhall in Dulwich, give their expert advice on two work issues. 

Q “Our business has little presence on Google, other than our address listing and website. We need customer reviews on external sites like Trustpilot, but few make an effort to write a review, apart from disgruntled customers! How can we encourage our happy customers to leave a review? It’s like we’re being held hostage by the web! Can we challenge these bad reviews?”

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Flavilla Fongang, CEO of 3 Colour Rules at Parkhall in Dulwich

A Flavilla: When it comes to getting customer reviews, there’s an effective approach that works well and will allow you to always get five-star customer feedback. It is known as the honeymoon phase. For the honeymoon phase to be effective, it’s important to define with your clients the relationship you want to build. At the beginning of a new client relationship, express your expectation and validate it with them. Let them know that if the product or service is delivered successfully, you will ask them for a five-star review. This is powerful customer psychology that is highly effective.

When the service/product is delivered successfully and the client is delighted, you are now in the honeymoon phase. This is when the agreement made with the client should be reminded and will be fulfilled without resistance. To summarise: set your expectation, agree with your client, deliver successfully and get your recommendation effortlessly. The same honeymoon phase can also be used to obtain more referrals from happy clients.

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Joe Bush, CEO of The Chat Shop at The Light Box in Chiswick

A Joe: Customers will review for two reasons: either they’re a bit unhappy with the service, or they have been delighted and feel you’ve gone over and above reasonable expectations. Map out your customer experience journey and identify where you’re letting customers down, as well as opportunities to improve. Frequent conversations with customers and prospects will create insights on what delights, so make it easy for them to get in touch, and they’ll reach out directly before posting a bad review. Once you’re happy you’re giving your customers an excellent experience, it’s easy to invite them all to write a review online.

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Martin Newman, Consumer Champion

A Martin: First, consumers are becoming cynical about the authenticity of ratings and reviews. There’s been a lot of coverage of late as to whether reviews are fake or not. Are they populated by customers or by the business? So take them with a pinch of salt.

That said, many consumers do still make purchase decisions based on a rating or review. You can ask for someone to leave you a review through an exit pop-up on the website. You can also encourage them to do so when you deliver their order to them. A note in the packaging or a follow-up email might encourage them. In terms of addressing negative reviews, the best policy is transparency and engagement. Contact the customer and see what you can do to resolve their issue.

Q “My business has developed a great strategy to elevate the customer experience (CX), but our marketing and design teams are at loggerheads! They have very different views on how we should execute our CX plan. How can I get them to work more closely and deliver our customers a great CX?”

A Flavilla: Agreeing to disagree can be brilliant, as it means your team feels free to voice their opinions – so thank them for that. Also, everyone should be reminded why they are doing it. The best way to settle disagreements when it comes to approach is to get a group of people outside of those two teams to give their feedback. Then simply vote and pick the most popular approach. When it comes to clients’ work delivery, we always offer multiple options and let the clients choose. Don’t see this as a negative – disagreement means people are passionate about what they do.

A Joe: It sounds like you need to involve the marketing and design teams in the strategic planning process. I’d schedule a workshop with the teams to work through the strategy and identify where there are differences of opinion, and take it as an opportunity to refine the approach further. At the end of it, you’ll have a better strategy and a more engaged, collaborative team.

A Martin: Measure and incentivise both teams on the same key performance indicators. If you focus on customer centricity, customer satisfaction and sales, and measure everyone against these factors, then you drive all teams to work collaboratively.

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