In 2023, it's clear that AI and other technologies are transforming the way we work, search, and learn about new things. But, in a shocking turn of events, humans — real, live humans — are being called upon to satisfy consumers.
And, if consumers don't get what they want, they'll use their free will, sentience, and emotions to go straight to a review page and give you a rating that they see fit.
Think your 3.5-star review doesn't truly matter because it "can't possibly tell the whole story?"
Oh, it matters.
Through digging into the customer experience industry, I recently learned that trust drops an astonishing 67% when reviews drop from four stars to three.
Conversely, trust spikes up to 95% at the five-star level.
These are some pretty good reasons to keep your customers happy.
Still not convinced customer service is a worthy investment? New research shows that when customer experience is part of your overall brand strategy:
- Revenue increases by 2%-7%
- Profitability expands 1%-2%
- Satisfaction and engagement blast up 20%-30%
Despite all the technological growth out there, my team at Trends is betting that there's money in human-centric customer experience solutions.
Boosting Five-Star Ratings
Leveraging Tech to Empower Humans
For the tech-savvy Trendster or customer service innovator, there’s an opportunity to develop or invest in affordable, automated, AI-powered software to support the humans tasked with making consumers happy.
For example, you could develop, test, or invest in tools that streamlines you or your service team tasks, enabling a friendly, engaging, but simplified intake process. You can also explore features that humanize the service team with realistic photos and video chat options.
Or, leverage platforms that aggregate and analyze interactions with customer service teams, and pairs it with AI to suggest streamlined service processes for businesses in real-time.
In the name of excellent CX, you should also go above and beyond by making an inclusive interface so that all customers feel comfortable accessing support.
Learning from Lucrative Customer-First Brands
While getting reviews up definitely won't hurt, providing a great customer experience also results in returning customers, upgrades, or retained customers in tougher times because they've developed trust for your brand.
And, on the Trends team, we've covered countless examples of how brands have driven financial growth by prioritizing their customer -- beyond the ratings.
From 2021 to 2023, HubSpot's Trends team has done deep dives into the lucrative business opportunities in customer reviews. As the workplace landscape shifted, customer interactions didn't lose importance. In fact, many affordable customer experience startups, like Freshworks, reported a 20% revenue increase in Q1.
This demonstrated that even though businesses are cutting costs, they’re not willing to skimp on CX.
Need more examples?
- Baby monitor brand Nanit made national news after they 10x’d conversions when they prioritized CX by adding human customer-service reps to calm the fears of new parents.
- Meanwhile, bigger brands like Apple have begun to offer video chats with live product specialists to enhance the online shopping experience.
Not Avoiding Negatives
Negative reviews can actually build trust by showing consumers that the brand values transparency and honest feedback.
Use in-app tools to handle negative comments: For example, respond to an Instagram Reel with another Reel, politely setting the customer straight and offering solutions or new knowledge.
Added bonus: It’s just more positive brand content working to combat the unavoidable, occasional negative comment.
Google is the best place for tackling small to medium local business reviews. But, these businesses can be especially vulnerable to negative reviews because they are so niche. Still, you shouldn't avoid or ignore them as they come in.
Sure, Google's less glossy than Instagram and TikTok — but there is money to be made by mastering Google Business Profile.
Rather than just thinking about these reviews as feedback and customer service, think of them as free promotional content where you have a great chance to present the transparent, thoughtful humans behind your business. Reply to every comment and review to keep the human connection alive and engaged.
Taking Your Customer Experience Beyond Five Stars
While these are all just a few examples of how to maintain or innovate a great customer experience -- as well as a great customer rating, you shouldn't stop there. To learn more about the latest consumer preferences or customer experience trends, check out this post.
Editor's Note: This piece was originally published in our Trends Newsletter and later edited and adapted to publish on the HubSpot Blog.