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Do comments online contain "hidden" real time customer feedback?

Online Customer FeedbackAccording to Forrester there are over 500 Billion, with a B, product opinion comments made each year.  If you break that down to an average across those with access to the internet it ends up being about 250 comments per person or 100,000 comments a minute.  But is there real time customer feedback hidden in those comments? Or does it just prove that there are some people out there with nothing better to do that make comments online?

 

Take a look at any of the big retailer websites these days and click on product, anything from a loaf of bread to writeable CD's, and you'll see someone took the time to go and publish their opinion.  Some comments may be very detailed while some are just a rating. Regardless, the influence of comments and reviews online are beginning to carry more weight than those in our own networks. That being said, ask yourself... "If my customers are getting purchasing advice from people online off of comments, should I care what they are saying and will it help me with improving customer service?" If you still answered no it may be time to wake up. 

People are out there talking about you, your products, and the service they received whether you like it or not.  At the end of the day you can't go out on your website and put a banner up and say "Please kindly refrain from commenting about us online" and expect your problems to be solved.  It's time to take a look at the customer feedback diamonds hiding in those comments because just listening to whats being said could save you a huge headache later. 
 

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