21st Century Ratings and Reviews: How to Win Friends and Influence People in the Digital Age

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In the age of digital marketing, it’s sometimes challenging to embrace some of the biggest and time-tested tenets of customer satisfaction. “After all of these years, the primary thing that people have the most problems with are interactions with other people,” explained Patrick Morin at AIM 2013 in the conference kick-off presentation 21st Century Reviews: How to Win Friends and Influence People. Morin--one of the country’s top rated Dale Carnegie certified speakers and a partner at the Cross Partnership--joined multifamily industry consultant Margette Hepfner for an exclusive application of Carnegie’s customer service mantra to the world of online apartment ratings and reviews, an arena where Hepfner noted the following trends: • A lack of a review can be as harmful or more harmful than negative reviews. • Consumers will recommend or purchase from a product or service with a four out of five star rating 80 to 84 percent of the time. For products and services with only three stars, the purchase recommend rate drops drastically to 14 percent. • Consumers are only 2 percent likely to engage with a firm that has no ratings and reviews. “Prospects interacting with reviews spend 25 percent more time online and are 40 percent more likely to convert into a lead, Hepfner said. “Fact: it’s better to control the conversation.” The session also included a lightning round workshop in Carnegie’s “Twelve Ways To Win People to Your Way of Thinking:” • The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it. • Show respect for other people’s opinions. Never say “you’re wrong.” • If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically. • Begin in a friendly way. • Get the other person saying “yes, yes” immediately. • Let the other person do a great deal of the talking. • Let the other person feel the idea is his or hers. • Try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view. • Be sympathetic with the other person’s ideas and desires. • Appeal to the nobler motives. • Dramatize your ideas. • Throw down a challenge. While Morin acknowledged that many of Carnegie’s customer service commandments may seem like common sense, he affirmed that consistent application of the principles--particularly in the face of customer conflict--remains a key challenge. “Your culture is your strategy, and customer service related cultures like Zappos and Nordstrom take off,” Morin said. “Remember that we are building relationships. Sometimes these rules are the blinding flash of the obvious, but the problem is that common sense does not always mean common practice.” By LinnellTaylor Marketing

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