How big a part does superior customer service play in your marketing strategy? Do you consider customer service to be part of your marketing mix at all? The belief that marketing stops once you’ve enticed someone to come into your store, or give you a call, or send an email, is a mistaken one. Marketing is more than luring prospects to your business. It’s about persuading customers to return. Customer service is paramount in helping you achieve this. Today, providing high levels of customer service is more important than ever because, as we’ll discuss later, your clients are doing more of your marketing for you!
Re-evaluating Your Approach To Customer Service
Customer service should always be a priority, but in a marketing sense you might want to revisit your approach to the most important people in your business. Existing customers are an undervalued resource, and far more effort seems to go into attracting prospects. Think of the time and energy you spend on luring new customers through your marketing tactics, and compare that with the amount of effort you devote to marketing to people who have already done business with you.
Call it retrospective marketing if you like, but whatever you call it, remaining attractive and viable to existing customers should be a major part of your business strategy. Do not ignore this lucrative market. Following up and providing customer service after the fact can have a big pay off down the track. Contacting them and checking they are happy with the previous transaction should be a starting point. Staying in touch and keeping them aware of special offers, or new products and services, should be the next step. The existing customer liked you enough to do business with you once – why not do more to maximize your chances of repeat business? The amount of service you provide after the transaction could seal the deal….again.
When Your Customers Become Your Marketers
We live in an online society; we meet online, we communicate online, we entertain ourselves, we shop online…and we express our opinion online. So many websites and online forums now exist that we can, if we choose, express an opinion and confidently expect it to be read right across the world. It is word of mouth gone viral, and if you run a small business it’s a phenomenon you must be aware of.
‘Word of mouth’ no longer resembles village gossip, with a limited reach. When the internet is involved, and a huge audience is exposed to opinions about your small business, the opportunity to exploit it is too good to be ignored. To do this, and to ensure those opinions are favorable, you need to take your customer service to a higher level than ever before. By doing so, you are creating a form of marketing that money just can’t buy. It’s free, impartial and authentic.
Conversely, a drop in your customer satisfaction level can hurt your business big time. People are more likely to complain than they are to compliment, and when they take their complaints online, the fallout can be disastrous. Again, delivering better customer service as a deliberate part of your marketing strategy is key to minimizing the number of negative reactions towards your small business.
If you start to think of customer service as an integral part of your marketing mix, you will go a long way towards improving standards and increasing client satisfaction. You expect other parts of your marketing to be perfect, such as advertising and promotions, and by thinking of customer service in the same way, you will be more likely to make a conscious effort to lift standards in that area as well. Great customer service should be a priority anyway, but knowing it can be beneficial to your marketing mix should be all the motivation you need to actually provide it.
Cynthia Lee is a marketing and advertising strategist working with Zoomstix branded USB sticks. When not dreaming up new promotional ideas, she loves keeping an eye on the latest technology and gadgets, good food and furry animals big and small.