Back in 2005, when Twitter was no more than an act of boring someone to death with a naggy tone, I started my career in sales. I worked in a small mobile phone shop in the centre of York that you probably have never heard of, and never will (sadly it shut down a few years later). Although the contracts and mobile phone handsets the shop was selling were from the main networks and manufacturers, we were competing with the bigger boys along the same street. Next door was O2 and The Carphone Warehouse, Orange was opposite and a few doors along you would find Phones4U. Being up against such well-known brands with their billboard advertisements in every big city and prime-time TV advertisement spots meant we had to go the extra mile to get the custom.

My earnings were based on how many contracts I could sign up and the commission potential was high, so I had to sell. I was selling exactly the same product and service as all the big brands up and down the very same street. Going the extra mile was the only benefit that I, and the rest of the shop’s staff, could offer.

So that’s what I did; I took the time to listen to the needs of the customer, let them touch and play with the mobile phones, bartered with the mobile network provider to reduce the £1000+ phone bill the customer racked up because he didn’t realise that overseas calls cost a bomb- however long it took, I wanted to make customers happy. And it worked.

I recall one customer, who returned some weeks later to take another mobile phone contract out for his wife. At some point within our general chitter-chatter while sorting the paperwork he said:

“I know [name of one of those big boy competitors] up the road are doing the same deal but I know you will help me if I have any issues or questions throughout the length of my contract, so I’d rather get it from you”.

It was great to hear this direct from the customer.

A few weeks passed and another gentleman walked into the shop and asks for me by name. He explained to me that his friend, the customer who gave that honest feedback, recommended me and the store I worked In.

It may come across that I’m blowing my own trumpet here, however, my intention is to make the point that good customer service wins business.

And I’m pretty positive you already know this.

So, why am I telling you this?

Well, picture this (hypothetical) scene:

It’s the year 2016 and this same customer comes into the same shop and takes out a mobile phone contract. Technology has moved on quite a bit, so this time, he’s signing up for iPhone 6s. The customer comes to me in this specific shop based on a recommendation by his friend.

The customer leaves the store with his shiny, new iPhone 6s and, like a child on Christmas day, can’t wait to start playing with his new toy. He logs into his Facebook account and updates his status about his new purchase. Next, he’s Tweeting while ordering a latte in the coffee shop next door and then he begins to write a blog post about having the latest phone on his blog from the leather sofa in the window of the coffee shop.

It’s not just that one guy he told about his good experience, he’s potentially told hundreds, possibly even thousands of people, about his ace new phone and the chit-chatter he had with the sales lady in the phone shop, that now they all have heard of.

And this all happens within minutes of making the purchase.

That is a hypothetical situation but the same type of scenario IS happening, all the time. And when people share their experience of a business, service or product online, other people listen.

Let’s give my hypothetical scenario real statistics:

69% of consumers read positive reviews on social media before making a purchase decision (Zendesk).

That’s a fair whack, don’t you agree?

On top of that, 88% of consumers are influenced by online customer service reviews when making buying decisions (Zendesk).

That’s a fair chunk of consumers, right?

Both Facebook and Google+ have the functionality for customers to review businesses and the best news; it’s totally free to do. If you business isn’t currently active on Facebook and Google+, you could be missing out on extra sales.

Everyone understands the importance and benefits of good customer service, however, if you haven’t provided outlets for your customers to share their positive experiences about your business, then you are missing an opportunity.

So this New Year, make ‘getting good reviews’ an essential part of your marketing strategy.

Start by creating social media channels where you customers can find you.

Then, all you have to do is ask. After giving your customers a really good experience, ask them to leave a review on your business social media channels. A little good news goes a long way.