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March 26, 2019

How Online Customer Service is Actually Free Marketing

Widewail explores how online customer service acts as a free source of marketing and brings in new business.

By Jane Garfinkel - Review Response Specialist

Online customer service is the new normal.

If you’re not answering reviews, questions, and comments about your business online, then you’re not meeting the standard that customers have come to expect.

Google My Business (GMB) has even started including “respond to customers” as a recommended goal in their onboarding process. Don’t view it as a burden, view it as a benefit. Staying engaged online means more than treating current patrons with respect.

In this article, we explore how improving your customer’s experience online serves as a free source of marketing, and brings in new business.

Demonstrate In-Store and Post-Purchase Customer Service

Business review sites provide priceless information to potential customers. We’re not just talking about a company’s address, hours, and phone number, either.

Online review sites act as a preview for the type of in-store and post-purchase service customers can expect. A business which ignores their reviews sends the message that they don’t truly care about their guests.

On the other hand, a business which learns how to respond to online reviews the right way will demonstrate that they prioritize their customers’ satisfaction, even after the transaction is complete.

Engaging with your patrons online is the best opportunity to impress future customers with your service, before they ever step inside your store.

Improve Your Search Ranking

The rank of your GMB in local results can have a dramatic impact on your business.

In fact, the top spot in search generally sees CTR’s of around 30%.

So, what’s the easiest way to improve your SEO ranking on Google and earn a coveted spot in the Local 3-Pack?

Get more reviews and respond to them.

Research from Search Engine Journal as well as Moz’s local search ranking factors suggest that regularly-updated relevant content, exactly what you get in reviews, is the key to healthy SEO. When you respond to a review it triggers an email to the customer, providing them excellent service, but it also triggers a signal to Google, showing them that you’re an active business.

The simple process of requesting and responding to reviews will improve your search ranking and bring more people to your website, leading to more business down the line.

Gain Access to Free Marketing

Reviews are the ultimate user-generated content: customers trust them more than traditional advertising and they’re completely free.

Television commercials and newspaper ads have their place, but consistently soliciting and answering reviews is the most cost-efficient way to highlight your business and earn the trust of with future patrons.

Don’t make overt pitches in your responses, simply reiterate and clarify the thoughts of your customers.

If done properly, your GMB will soon overflow with honest descriptions of your services and products. Readers will understand exactly what your business has to offer, and they will feel confident knowing that the information came from people just like them.

The next time you tackle online customer service, remember that you’re doing more than due diligence: you’re building your clientele.

You don’t have to do it alone, either.

Widewail makes it easy for local businesses to take care of their current customers while gaining new ones in the process. Learn more about our review generation and response products here.

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Jane Garfinkel

I’m a New Jersey native who joined the Widewail team during my brief stint in Burlington. Now living in Jersey City, I currently serve as the Response Team Lead and Content Specialist. My background is in writing and my work has been published by Thrillist, Reductress, McSweeneys, The Rumpus, and more. I occasionally update my own blog No Meat, Some Potatoes, and in my free time I hang out with my dog Jake.

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