What happens when the student is ready to become the teacher? That’s right – more and more, customers are using product reviews not just to give feedback to the company, but also to offer advice and help to one another.

There are a few reasons why “customer to customer service” is great for companies, and why it should be encouraged with proper supervision.

Customers trust each other

Marketing departments can explain all of a product’s best features to a customer, but how much does a customer really trust a company to tell the whole truth? Do they trust the company to be as honest about the product’s flaws as they do about its features? Probably not.

But by allowing customers to communicate with one another via online reviews, a community of trust is developed. Not just about the good things, but the bad, as well. If a customer has a problem with a product, there is a good chance they aren’t going to believe a company response – or at least, they might suspect the company is downplaying the problem or offering short-term, easy solutions.

Whereas if a fellow customer helps them, and explains that the solution to their problem is an easy fix, they are far more likely to try it – and in the process, become a satisfied customer again.

There is just no substitute for genuine feedback about the actual customer experience. - Highlight to share -

Customers are your most rigorous testers

R&D departments can do all the rigorous, real-world testing they want, but there is just no substitute for genuine feedback about the actual customer experience. It is hard to be truly 100% sure how a product will perform without actually deploying it and seeing how it, well, performs!

This is why companies can sometimes be blindsided by certain customer complaints. “The widget doesn’t work when it’s upside-down? Why, we never even thought to test it upside-down!” But if your customers are using it upside-down in the real world, you better be darn sure you have a solution to make it work upside-down.

Which is where your customers come in – because if one person has used it upside-down, odds are others have too, and there’s a good chance one of them has come up with their own homemade solution to get it working. So monitor product reviews and discussions, and see if there isn’t a saviour in the comments. You might just learn something.

Customers don’t want to feel alone

Humans are social creatures, despite what it may look like when everyone at the pub is staring at their phones. We don’t want to feel alone. This applies to our purchases, too.

Customers are far less likely to purchase a product if there is no existing community around it. - Highlight to share -

Customers are far less likely to purchase a product if there is no existing community around it. A quick web search will show whether a certain product’s customers are alone shouting for help in the wilderness, or if there is an organized, helpful support system in place. Customers are reassured by the idea that should a problem arise, they have dozens of other helpful people to reach out to for assistance. After all, wouldn’t you rather have a list of doctors to call rather than perform the surgery yourself?

Customers are a product's greatest asset in more ways than one. - Highlight to share -

Customers are a product’s greatest asset in more ways than one. It’s up to your marketing and customer service team to collaborate to ensure that customers feel valued – and add value too.

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Why the best customer service teams are actually your customers