I read a number of internet marketing forums and groups each week.
As a recurring theme I often see people asking on the thoughts and experiences of others about a particular product or service.
This is very common and if truth be told it has put me off specific products previously.
This kind of discussion is common practise in a huge number of industries. I am also part of a real estate forum which discusses exactly the same kinds of things.
The level of service that you offer and are known for can prove to have a huge impact on your client acquisition and retention. This is because it can strongly affect our emotions in a positive or a negative manner.
Let me elaborate before I go on to make some suggestions.
Your reputation isn’t anonymous
We know and have seen that certain companies and brands can become known for being great at something.
Grant Cordone is great at selling. Rolex are great at producing products with fantastic quality. Nike are great at producing innovative products and footwear.
When you consider your brand, company or business; you can likely tell me something you are great at. I believe that we should focus on our strengths and use these to attract customers.
I do however think that being great at customer service also, is not something to overlook. This can be one of the very simplest things to integrate into your business model, as well as one of the most powerful.
I would just ask you to reflect on the level of service you offer.
Could this be improved upon, and if so; what difference could that make to your customer retention or repeat business?
Try not to focus on the notion of customer service as responding to complaints or criticism either. It can be anything to following up on an order. The time it takes to respond to a query, or even recognising a customer as a repeat visitor.
There are so many examples of how powerful strong customer service and customer rewards are in terms of client retention.
I initially considered this topic further after using four different link building services.
One of the companies made an error on my order. It wasn’t a huge deal; I just needed them to correct it.
However it took over two weeks of emails back and forth; of them claiming it was not their error, rather than fixing the issue. In the end I gave up and decided to just not use that company again.
A week later I received another email from them stating that they had found the error on their end, and would rectify it immediately. 3 weeks later they admitted a simple error.
Had they done so initially that would have been fine, I prefer honesty. I had spent thousands on that firm, but not a dollar since. That was how powerful that customer service experience was for me.
Other industry example
I wanted to include an example of companies that think outside of the box to try and provide some inspiration.
Iberostar the hotel chain are a company that showcase their ability to treat every customer as an individual.
If they feel a customer is loyal due to making repeat visits to their hotel, then they may offer them a custom gift as a way of thanks. Examples they have used include birthday cards, flowers, clothing, free airport pickups and room upgrades (note-http://www.trendhunter.com/trends/hotel-loyalty-program).
These things don’t cost a great deal. However to receive a little token gesture like this, especially when unexpected, can mean an awful lot. This is something you would remember; and something you would tell others about.
Therefore increasing customer loyalty and gaining free marketing through word of mouth. These personal customer service touches can be extremely simple. Has a customer mentioned something coming up like a wedding anniversary or a charity event they are doing? Could you send a card? Could you sponsor them without being asked?
If you are able to get to know your clients and build rapport; then there are certainly very low cost options available to you as a business. Which will help build relationships and may well help you gain more sales in the future.
I would also note that if you do have a social media presence, then also be conscious of your response times on those platforms. Sometimes silence can be powerful, and due to nature of social media; people tend to expect quick responses. Facebook is happy to share this data with your audience, so consider how a negative response time could impact any potential new customers.
Be very conscious of the lasting impression your business makes on people; and do not underestimate the emotional significance this brings.
This could results in repeat business, word of mouth marketing, recommendations or even forum and website discussions.
Perhaps the key is to try and make the customer feel that yours is a service they would be worse off without.
The service you provide could well be the platform for your next round of customers.
As a thought to end upon, consider how valued do your last 5 customers feel?
With that in mind would you do anything differently?
About the author
Alan A is the co-founder of Gaps.com, tracking successful online startups to uncover gaps in the market.
This post was written by Admin