Have you ever seen a long queue in front of a restaurant and instantly concluded that the food there must be excellent, so you decided to join it? Have you ever found yourself laughing along to the canned laughter on your favorite TV shows even though the scene wasn’t actually that funny? If you answered yes to either question, you are one of the many people who have been influenced by social proof.
Social proof is defined by Hubspot as “the concept that people will conform to the actions of others under the assumption that those actions are reflective of the correct behavior.” Other names for it include the bandwagon effect, the herd mentality, conformity, and so on.
Marketers and advertisers are throwing this phrase around because social proof is the new currency of credibility.
In the past, customers were content to watch advertisements and read posters about products and services, and they accepted that information as a given. However, with massive search engines such as Google springing up in the past decade, objective information has become far more accessible to the everyday person. People would rather trust the opinions of their neighbors rather than what the company has to say about their own product.
In other words, social proof, in the form of customer reviews, might well provide more credibility than run-of-the-mill advertisements. In fact, according to a 2012 study from Nielsen, 92% of global consumers trust earned media above all other forms of advertising.
Hence, it is imperative that businesses do right by their customers; otherwise, they risk the wrath of negative reviews. More than ever before, it is becoming clear that stellar customer service is a key to creating positive social proof that generates consumer trust and confidence.
Here are some statistics that show that stellar customer service is key:
In sum, people today are more inclined to share their customer experiences, and potential consumers are also more likely to read reviews before making a purchase decision.
To put simply: good customer service = positive reviews = more customers.
Therefore, if you want more business, create customer service experiences that inspire customers to tell others; you can be sure that the social proof gained from these recommendations will buy you enough credibility to attract other customers.
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