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August 30, 2021

This One Important Factor Drives Both Customer Satisfaction AND Dissatisfaction

After examining 10,000 customer reviews we've discovered a curious pattern: a singular concept drives both satisfaction AND dissatisfaction simultaneously.

When I was in kindergarten, I remember being taught some key social skills. In the classroom, my peers and I were regularly showered with praise when we showed that we were good listeners, demonstrated patience, shared our toys, and expressed kindness to others. 

These skills, we were told, are not only mandatory in school, but they are essential to becoming a grown-up. 

Now, as a Review Response Specialist at Widewail, I spend my days expressing gratitude on behalf of businesses that are complimented for their employees’ kindness, listening skills, and ability to share their time amongst customers. 

My responses to these reviews about employees remind me of those days in kindergarten when people expressed appreciation for the simple things that made me a good person.

Some of this simplicity is lost when considering what will make our customers happy. We think pricing or efficiency are the most important factors influencing our customer’s mood.

And, yes, they are important. But something else is even more important.

What drives both customer satisfaction and dissatisfaction: the quality of interactions with employees is the primary reason for a customer’s happiness.

Recurring patterns in positive reviews:

  • Adjectives with a positive connotation, such as “wonderful,” “fantastic,” “exceptional”

  • Adjectives related to a person, such as “patient,” “knowledgeable,” “courteous”

  • A person’s name

We've come to this conclusion after analyzing 10,000 customer reviews.

In other words, the customer’s experience with the staff at the dealership had the most sway on whether or not the customer had a positive experience. When employees were “patient,” “knowledgeable,” and “courteous,” customers noticed. And they left a review

In the above review, we see that Morgan’s friendliness, willingness to help and patience was important to the reviewer. The overall quality of the customer’s interaction with Morgan was positive because Morgan demonstrated these basic social skills. 

It may not be inherently surprising that customers appreciate pleasant experiences with employees, but it does emphasize an important and sometimes secondary element to business.

Remind yourself of this point monthly: it’s our basic human instinct to appreciate the simple parts of interactions with others. Simply put, we enjoy being appreciated, respected, informed, and cared for. The extent to which these elementary needs are met determines the quality of one’s experience.

Common phrases in negative reviews:

  • “Talked down”

  • Salesman or service agents “talking” and not paying attention to the customer

  • Agent “talking over” the customer

  • “Talking” to a manager or agent in various circumstances

  • Wanting to “talk” to a manager/agent and not being able to

To further demonstrate this, let’s look at an example of a dissatisfied customer.

In the above Yelp review, the customer is frustrated because Farhad didn’t show up after he said he would, and then Joe was inattentive and he complained. As we can see, the reviewer’s basic needs were not met. And this determined the quality of their experience, giving the customer those “bad vibes.”

Your customers will typically be quite happy – and likely to leave a review – whenever your employees demonstrate these standard relationship skills we’ve all learned and practiced since our childhood. 

Customers’ positive reviews not only show us what satisfies customers, but they also tell us which qualities we value as a society. Whether handled internally or via an online review management service, a review response strategy is integral for businesses of any size. 

It’s the simple things that are most important to making someone’s experience at your business a great one. A little bit of kindness and willingness to help from an employee will mean a lot to a customer…maybe even enough to write a review.

What's Widewail?

Widewail is a reputation management software and services company based in Burlington, VT. We help hundreds of small local businesses and national brands like Lexus and BH Property Management generate and respond to reviews.

Learn more about our core products:

Engage: Review response managed services

Invite: Send automated SMS review requests to all your customers

Free Resource  The Reputation Management Playbook Download Now

Keaton Smith

I’m a writer, philosopher, climber, mountain biker, and a fried-egg enthusiast. Before joining Widewail as a Review Response Specialist, I attended Middlebury College and studied Philosophy and Art History. I grew up in Michigan, but I fell in love with Vermont while in school.

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