I've always been a staunch advocate of great customer service and many great business books - especially from the 80s and 90s such as 'The Pursuit of Wow' by Tom Peters - talk about how great customer service is key to success. Worryingly I get the feeling the drive for short term profit means businesses are not paying attention. If you are fed up of waiting for hours on the phone or chasing a company that has over charged you will understand.
Here are my arguments why great customer service is an invaluable marketing tool:
Customer loyalty is CHEAPER than customer acquisition
It's proven that it's cheaper to keep customers with loyalty schemes than it is to spend money finding new customers. If you neglect customers they go elsewhere meaning you have to spend money finding new business but if you do a great job, show you care and deliver a great overall service then customers will stay.
Happy customers generate new customers by recommending you
When Think Twice Marketing started, our main source of customers was through social media, business networking and other routes. Now, our biggest lead generation is our existing customers. Sometimes it's good to prompt customers by asking if they would or could refer or by offering an incentive but the key point is that if they will only recommend your services if they are happy.
Credibility and ratings are critical in today's online world
Ever looked at a place to go in the summer and despite having lots of 4 or 5-star reviews you have decided not to go there because of a single poor 1-star review? Every business no matter how good has an unhappy customer from time to time, for whatever reason, and it sucks to lose business like this. But that's the way we operate. Bad reviews put us off buying. Great reviews make us want to buy.
It's worth pointing out that if you do have an unhappy customer, it's important to do what you can to correct the situation and make sure you respond so other people can see. Responding to a bad review online and showing you are doing what you can to improve the situation will make a difference.
You can command a higher price
Having a reputation for great customer service means that you might be able to command a higher price than your competition. Added to this, pretty much any business has a group of target customers who want premium products and are willing to pay for them.
A chance to stand out
Imagine a customer receives 3 quotes. One from you and two from similar businesses. There are many ways to stand out but arguably one of the best ways is to send a clear message to the customer that you offer unrivalled customer service. It could just be that one thing that's enough to persuade a customer to work with you.
So, in summary...
At Think Twice Marketing, we like to challenge the way businesses do their marketing and we believe that customer service is critical to marketing success. That's why we have built our business on long-term happy customers with great reviews. We understand that delivering great service might not be in the hands of the marketer but we should argue the case for great service. For small businesses this may be easier to implement as business owners often have to do a lot of the marketing and sales.
At the end of the day, we are all customers and we expect good customer service. There's on reason why we should treat customers the way we would like to be treated.
For great customer service with your marketing, get in touch.
The opinions in these blog posts are those of marketing professional and book author Darren Hignett.