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business 1599838129 600x400 - Competitor Research via Review Sites: Both Possible and Profitable

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Most of us don’t think of Yelp, Google, and Facebook as our best friends. Encounter a disgruntled customer (as we all have), and you spend the next few hours waiting for the negative review to appear.

But what if that review happened to your competitor?

The feedback customers give your competitors helps you understand how to make your company even better.

Here’s how.

Four Issues to Look For

A customer just tapped out a review. What happens next? You start digging for the gems.

Reviews can highlight:

  • Customer service vulnerabilities. Customers aren’t afraid to name names when someone does an exceptionally good (or bad) job. And sometimes, the same department appears in multiple reviews.
  • Price pain points. High fees, extensive shipping costs, rush-order pricing, or tangled returns all spark ire. But they’re all easy problems to solve. When you know what your competitors are doing wrong, you can do things better.
  • Poor digital presence. Do customers complain about slow website load times? Difficult shopping experiences? Intrusive ads?
  • Inferior product. Do customers complain about missing or broken parts? Are repairs expensive or impossible?

Almost every negative review a customer shares with your competitor holds a little nugget of truth for you. Make a point to read each one.

Fix Hidden Problems

You’ve read the reviews, and you understand the issues. What should happen next? Don’t let the data you’ve gathered die with you. Use the complaints within each review to make your product better.

If your review highlights problems with:

  • Customer service, determine the main offenders. If an employee is mentioned by name, a quick LinkedIn search could tie a worker to a job title. With that data, you can train your own employees working in similar roles to avoid the same mistakes. And if the same department is mentioned, show those reviews to your team lead and ensure that yours does better.
  • Price issues, bring the data to your product development team. Can you compete on price? Or could you offer another form of financial benefit through a free-return program or watertight guarantee?
  • Digital issues, feed all that data right back to your IT department, so you can craft an experience without nasty friction.
  • Product problems, talk with your development team. If you share part of the same supply chain, you must fix these issues before they impact your customers. And if you don’t, you have reason to gloat.

Ensure that everyone in your company takes competitor reviews as seriously as you do. Take the information you’ve gleaned and share it.

Enhance Your Marketing Program

You’ve reviewed the comments, and you’ve talked with your team. Now, it’s time to really put the power of reviews to work.

Dig back into the review data, and spotlight one or two issues that consistently appear for your poor competitors. You’ve solved them, and it’s time to spread the good news.

Don’t blast the competition in your ad campaigns. Don’t mention them at all! Instead, focus on how you’re different than your competitors.

For example, if all the complaints focused on a high price and poor return process should spark an ad all about your low price and easy returns. You know this is important for potential consumers, so tell them how you’ve heard them and how you’re prepared to make things better.

Your original reviewers may never see your ad campaigns. And that’s okay! But by highlighting your differences, you could grab a whole new set of customers. And every company wants that, right?

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