Turning happy customers into advocates is a common marketing tactic.
But in recent years, the importance of social proof has grown exponentially. In 2020, 87% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses (up from 67% in 2010).
Traditional word-of-mouth referrals are still critically important. That said, it’s now commonplace for potential customers to validate a company’s online presence–even if they’ve been referred directly by a trusted source–before making a purchase decision. Your online presence and reviews (or lack thereof) will likely influence what happens next.
But that’s just one of the many ways that social proof may affect your MSP. In general, social proof can help you to:
- Generate new leads
- Stand out from the crowd
- Build trust with your customers
- Add credibility to your business
- Justify high price points
- Attract top talent
- Enhance your marketing efforts
In this article, we’ll explore how collecting quality feedback is the foundation for valuable social proof. We’ll then dive into the benefits of leveraging social proof from your feedback system and share tactics for how to elicit and publicly share feedback from clients.
Table of contents
- Collecting quality feedback is the foundation for social proof
- Five benefits of leveraging social proof from a robust feedback collection system
- 1. Stand out in an oversaturated market
- 2. Improve your referral quality and build trust
- 3. Attract top talent to your MSP
- 4. Easily improve your marketing efforts
- 5. Justify your competitive pricing models
- How to elicit and publicly share feedback from customers
- Wrapping up
Collecting quality feedback is the foundation for social proof
MSPs that track customer satisfaction via both CSAT and NPS surveys have a better chance of leveraging consistent, high-quality social proof.
Why? Because social proof is a reflection of the customer experience. If the customer experience is poor, chances are your reviews will skew negative. But if the customer experience is positive, your reviews will likely follow suit.
In order to elicit quality social proof, you must have a solid understanding of:
- What your team is doing well on each individual ticket and interaction
- How your team is managing the customer experience and journey on the whole
- How your customer relationships are progressing
This way, you can identify the root cause of both pain points and wins and use those insights to enhance the customer experience on every level.
Top Tip: The only way to collect such a wide array of data is by running surveys that ask questions about both individual ticket metrics and the business relationship on a larger scale (i.e. CSAT and NPS). And the best way to collect both CSAT and NPS data together is from a customer feedback system that’s designed specifically for MSPs.
Of course, the only way to give rise to consistent social proof is to run recurring customer feedback surveys. This way, you’re generating plenty of opportunities for your customers to weigh in publicly on their experience with your MSP.
Five benefits of leveraging social proof from a robust feedback collection system
Social proof is a public extension of your feedback collection system. What your customers think of your business has always mattered, but the way that customers share that information with their network is evolving.
Online reviews now play a pivotal role in influencing customer behavior:
- 94% of people state that positive reviews make them more likely to use a business
- On the flip side, 92% of people state that negative reviews will deter them from using a business
- Further, 79% of people report trusting online reviews as much as personal recommendations from friends and family
Let’s dive into the top five benefits of leveraging social proof for your MSP.
1. Stand out in an oversaturated market
MSPs that prioritize customer satisfaction have a better chance of differentiating themselves in a crowded market. That’s because high-quality services lead to high-quality reviews which give you an edge over your competitors.
If you’re already focused on measuring customer satisfaction, you’re past several of the roadblocks to collecting quality social proof.
But if you want to take your feedback to the next level, one of the most important places to showcase your social proof is on Google Reviews, allowing potential customers to:
- Discover your business amongst a sea of competitors. This helps you to stand out in your total available market (TAM), which is the biggest umbrella of your target audience. When somebody searches for MSP services, the more reviews and review activity (e.g. responding to comments) that you have, the higher you will rank in the search engine results.
- Find your brand when searching for businesses nearby (or in a specific location). This amplifies your exposure amongst your serviceable available market (SAM), which is your target audience within geographical reach. This is critical for when potential customers search for MSPs nearby because they need a local service provider. If you have a presence on Google and plenty of reviews, your business will move to the top of the list.
- Increase brand trust and awareness. This helps to move the needle on the qualified leads in your serviceable obtainable market (SOM). These are prospects that align most with your ideal customer profile (ICP) and are geographically close by, thus most likely to make a purchase.
Logan Morello, a Client Partner at Big Sur Technologies, notes that “Google is the competitive battlefield when it comes to digital presence and overall brand perception these days. For potential clients, it’s the first impression and arguably the most important piece of a customer’s journey.”
Morello uses SmileBack to leverage Google Reviews and notes that social proof is now a key part of their overall marketing strategy to drive growth.
We’ll dive into exactly how you can use SmileBack’s Google Review feature later on. For now, let’s get back to the key benefits of social proof.
2. Improve your referral quality and build trust
As we mentioned earlier, referrals are one of the most effective ways to gain new business as an MSP.
But as the market grows, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to get aligned referrals (e.g. referrals that will be a good fit with your offerings and processes). This is primarily due to the fact that customer demands are changing, along with the fact that there’s a growing need for the services that MSPs provide.
This makes it even more important to both understand and publicly display:
- What you do well
- Why and how your solutions and services have helped your existing customers
By making this information publicly available, potential customers that have been referred to your business have a chance to read real-life stories about how you’ve helped similar customers with similar needs.
This way, when a new referral approaches your business, they already know what you’re capable of helping them with because they’ve seen your reviews. Conversely, if somebody gets referred to your business and sees that your offerings, services, or strategies don’t align well with their needs, they may choose to look elsewhere.
While that may intuitively feel like a missed opportunity, it’s actually a win. That customer will be happier in the long run, and you won’t have to worry about signing a client that is destined to be dissatisfied because they weren’t a good fit.
3. Attract top talent to your MSP
Speaking of a good fit, the most successful businesses are often the ones with a talented and motivated workforce. Studies show that the most productive employees are often the happiest ones, and employee happiness is borne from a positive work environment.
Equally as important as prioritizing the customer experience is taking care of your team. The happier your team is, the more motivated they will be to do a great job, which always leads to happier customers.
And we’ll say it again: happy customers are the bedrock of quality, consistent social proof.
Just like potential customers, potential employees search online for social proof when scouting employment opportunities. If you have a strong online presence full of positive testimonials, Google reviews, and detailed case studies, new talent is more likely to be attracted to your brand.
Another metric that candidates gauge is company morale. More often than not, candidates will draw a line from customer satisfaction to employee satisfaction. Recruiters know that people make decisions based on the input of others, so the more positive reviews you have out there (from customers and employees alike), the better chance you have of reeling in top talent.
4. Easily improve your marketing efforts
44% of MSPs list marketing as their top pain point. It’s not that MSPs don’t know how to market their business, it’s that they often lack the resources, or time, to develop and execute strategic marketing initiatives.
The good news is that social proof is easy to automate and requires very little marketing experience, expertise, or training. With the click of a few buttons, you can easily display your CSAT and NPS scores (along with positive testimonials) on Google, your website and across various marketing materials.
Not to mention, if you’re already collecting this feedback, you won’t need to spend any additional money.
OnboardIT President Brandon Garrett has been leveraging SmileBack’s Google reviews feature to market his business. He notes that:
“Google Reviews is the most important social evidence that people will use when searching for an MSP or validating our brand. We’ve learned that if you make it easy for people to leave a review, especially at the same time they are already leaving feedback, they’ll likely adopt the process.”
Sure, executing a full-blown marketing campaign is often a worthy investment—but many MSPs simply don’t have the time. The best jumpoff point is to leverage the feedback you’re already collecting to elevate your online presence, sit back, and watch the results roll in.
5. Justify your competitive pricing models
Another way to stand out from the crowd is by deploying a competitive pricing model. Of course, the best way to support higher prices is by providing a top-notch customer experience.
Once you do that, and elicit positive feedback via customer surveys, it’s key to promote these affirmative experiences online. This works to:
- Provide an explanation for higher than average price points
- Counter actual objections (e.g. “your price is too high”)
- Immediately alleviate pricing concerns
For example, a potential lead may initially be surprised at your higher prices. But imagine that they are scrolling through reviews and come across one like so:
“At first, I was surprised by Company A’s prices compared to other MSPs. But then I read about how great the experience of working with them was and I figured I should see for myself.
It’s now 6 months later and I can say that Company A has exceeded my expectations. They’re attentive, always willing to help, have great processes and product knowledge and have made my business run more efficiently. They’re definitely worth the higher price tag.”
A review like this works to call out the elephant in the room, so to speak. It goes to show that you know your prices are higher than most, but that you have a reason for it. Moreover, they shouldn’t just take your word for it, they should listen to your existing customers and draw from those real-life experiences.
How to elicit and publicly share feedback from customers
The easiest and arguably one of the most effective ways to elicit social proof is straight from the customer surveys you’re already sending out.
But as we mentioned above, consistent social proof is far better than a few reviews here and there. That’s because if you only have five reviews, for example, one negative review can significantly impact your overall score. Whereas if you have 50 positive reviews, one negative review will barely scratch the surface.
In other words, the more reviews that you have (be it Google, CSAT, or NPS) the higher your aggregate star or number rating, and the better your business will come across.
Let’s explore the three most popular ways to elicit and publicly share feedback from your customers via their CSAT and NPS survey responses.
Google is often the first place that people go to learn about a business.
Put simply, a strong presence on Google My Business reviews will help you build brand authority and grow your online presence.
With SmileBack, it’s simple to push positive comments from your CSAT and NPS surveys to Google Reviews. This way, potential new customers can see both how your business handles individual tickets as well as how businesses enjoy working with you on a larger scale.
Once a customer rates a ticket positively, they’ll have an opportunity to check a box that states they’d like to post their comment to your Google my Business page. From there, they’re led to your Google Review page where all they have to do is hit “paste”.
To learn more about how to set this up for your business, check out our Help Center article on setting up your Google My Business review feature or book a consultation call with our customer feedback specialists.
While Google Reviews are currently a shiny object, generating testimonials through website widgets and/or marketing reviews is actually easier, more scalable and potentially more valuable.
CSAT and NPS are both critical customer satisfaction metrics. Therefore, showing them off on your website is one of the best ways to promote how happy your customers are with your services and how strong your client relationships are.
That said, you may not want every single review, or review type, publicized. For example, if you’re a relatively new MSP, you probably haven’t had enough time to gauge valuable NPS ratings. But, you likely have been able to begin capturing CSAT scores on your tickets.
Therefore, it may make more sense to only display your CSAT score at first until you’ve had enough time to cultivate your client relationships.
If you fall into that bucket, you can take advantage of our simple widget, which allows you to display either your CSAT or your NPS score on your website, rather than both at once.
Conversely, if you’ve been collecting feedback for quite some time, you’ll likely want to take advantage of the opportunity to display all of your survey results.
If that’s the case, you can deploy our super widget to showcase both your CSAT and NPS results together.
Alternatively, you can choose to display either your CSAT or NPS scores along with their corresponding positive customer comments in order to add testimonials alongside your ratings.
This adds an extra layer of social proof as it lets people identify specific characteristics about your team and unique reasons that lead to your aggregate score.
To deploy our simple widget + reviews, your customers will need to have enabled marketing permissions.
In order to use your client’s comments in your marketing materials, they will need to give you permission. That’s because, as it should be, what they say about your business and who they say it to is entirely up to them.
Again, that’s why paying attention to the customer experience is so important. If you take the time to create a positive environment and devote energy to nurturing your relationships, your customers will be more eager to return the favor. If not, it will be more difficult, and potentially awkward, to ask for testimonials.
Imagine if you asked for a review (or a referral) from a customer that has had a negative experience with your business. The fact that you didn’t already know the relationship was on thin ice could further damage your relationship (e.g. they may wonder how and why you didn’t know in the first place). Worst case scenario is they feel frustrated enough to cut ties and find another vendor.
Best practice is to always keep the customer experience top of mind and consistently nurture those relationships. Ideally, they’ll eventually feel comfortable enough to turn on marketing permissions and allow you to use their comments for social proof.
From there, your marketing team can use those comments across all varieties of marketing materials, such as website testimonials, Google reviews, case studies, social media posts, blog posts and so on.
Here’s a meta example of how we’ve used this very tool to promote this very feature on our home page:
To learn more about how to set this up for your business, check out our Help Center article on using client comments in marketing materials.
As the world continues to move online, social proof is only going to grow in importance. But in order to share meaningful feedback with your existing and potential customers, you need to first have a simple means of collecting it.
Once you’ve set yourself up with a feedback specialist like SmileBack, you’re only a few clicks away from eliciting positive Google reviews, displaying your real-time CSAT and NPS scores on your website and getting permission from your customers to use their positive comments in your public marketing materials.