How Effective is Customer Service in Your Marketing Plan?

As a small business owner, can you honestly say that your business is really WOWING your clients? As professionals, we all know how important customer service is in building and sustaining a successful business. So why is it that the majority of small businesses seem to be getting it wrong?

customer serviceCustomer Service should be the cornerstone of your business. It’s what sets the “good” ones apart from the “great” ones. It’s the reason customers come back and one of the best ways to get a “leg up” on your competition, without spending a fortune.   The problem is, knowing customer service is important and doing something about it are two different things.

Good intentions must turn into action. There has to be constant focus on how you are specifically going to WOW your clients. If not, it becomes another thing that falls through the cracks. Day in and day out, your challenge becomes keeping great customer service front and center throughout every area of your small business.

So… How do you do this?

  1. Know your reputation – online and offline

This one is simple. Provide a great customer service experience and your customers will do your marketing for you. Get people talking about how great you are and how responsive you are to customers’ needs. This can work in the opposite way too – and even faster. Remarkably bad customer service will get people talking, tweeting, and texting before you can even realize what has happened. Know what is being said about you in the community, and online.

Consider this: 88% of consumers TRUST and make decisions based on online reviews. This is as much or more than personal recommendations. That number is HUGE! What does this mean for you? It matters what people are saying about you online. A Lot.   Check out services like HootSuite, Talkwalker and more that scan the web and send alerts to you every time you/your business is mentioned.   You will never regret building a great online reputation with your customers – current and potential.

  1. Be consistent among communication channels

Make sure you are talking to customers and clients the in the same or similar way on the phone as you do online. Give people a remarkable experience in any way that they come in contact with you.

  1. Don’t leave customers wondering

Gone are the days of waiting for days for a response to an email. Now, we live in a society that expects instant gratification. When you receive a notification from a client or customer, it is expected that you will get back to them within 24 hours – at the very most. Consider adding an automated response letting them know their email has been received and someone will be responding in XX hours.

For social media interactions/reviews and bad/good comments, plan to respond as soon as possible. Social media spreads immediately and you want to stay on top of this as much as you can.

  1. Leave a social footprint

If you have a great reputation, let your customers know about it! People make decisions based on what other people think – it’s just the way we do things. We are all influencers. If you can show your network how much your existing customers trust you, your sales funnel grows with prospects! One easy way to add a GREAT social footprint – add testimonials to your website. Ask clients to talk/write about their experiences with you and make sure you are updating the testimonials on an ongoing basis so prospects are always seeing new views.

  1. Be genuine

At the end of the day, we all just wanted to be treated well. It’s the little things that make the biggest difference… that first impression on the phone, the tone of voice, the way we felt when asked questions or when we told our concerns about a product or service we received. We all want to be heard. Treat every customer like it’s a new relationship. Look at every touchpoint and figure out how you can enhance that experience.

 

Remember, this is your most important marketing tool.

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