Educating your customers on the benefits of your products and services has long been the definition of marketing, but in this era of immediate access to reliable information through the internet, this definition is fast evolving. Word-of-mouth is still and probably always will be the most powerful marketing tool, especially with the outlets that social media provides. This is evident with the rise of influencer marketing and review websites such as TripAdvisor, Angie’s List, Epinion, Yelp! and even Facebook.
New research from NewVoiceMedia offers a compelling view of the consequences of poor customer service in the U.S. The results reveal that an estimated $62 billion is lost by U.S. businesses each year following bad customer experiences. With revenue being transferred between companies at such an alarming rate, the study highlights the considerable impact that customers have on a business’s success. Customer experience is the key differentiator, and by doing it well, organizations can drive the customer acquisition, retention and efficiency that make leading companies successful.
Customers Today Are Educated Consumers
Consumers now educate each other about your products and services which means that you have no ‘control’ over what your prospective buyers are hearing. With that in mind, it is important to evaluate questions such as: what are your prospective buyers hearing? Are they still only hearing about the benefits your products provide? Or are they also hearing about the customer service your company offers alongside the purchase of the product?
Treat Your Customers Right
Your buyers are just as likely to tell their friends and followers about your company’s customer service as they are to talk about how awesome your products are. In some cases, they may be even more likely to talk about the service over the purchase—particularly in the case of negative experience because news on bad service will reach the masses twice as fast as the news on good service will.
A “WOW” Customer Experience
After one negative experience, 51% of customers will never do business with that company again. The bottom line is, any business with customers is in the “People” business, which means that: Every return you handle seamlessly and thoughtfully is marketing; Every repair you make for a defective product, even after the warranty has expired, is marketing; Every time you provide a “wow” customer service experience, is marketing; When you assist a customer’s family members, even though they’re not directly your customers (like a travel agent might assist a customer’s family member), that’s marketing. Well-designed customer experience is also marketing: A warm and inviting entrance experience; a seamless exit experience, and a payment experience that does not slow customers down; FAQ’s that are actually helpful; Self-service that actually works is marketing.
How then do you ensure that your customers both old and new receive the attention they deserve?
Constantly in Contact
Business hours mean nothing anymore. In the event of any issues, buyers hope that their supplier remains reachable and reliable to resolve these issues. The use of social media and the option to add a bot to your social media messaging apps lets buyers know you’ve received the message and will be in touch soon. More sophisticated bots can even be programmed to carry buyers through a specific set of questions so you can solve the issue before you have to get involved personally. This ensures that the buyers receive the assistance they require. Even following up immediately after purchase to make sure the buyer got exactly what they expected can go a long way toward inspiring some loyalty.
Benjamin Franklin once said, “Well done is better than well said” which is true in the context of customer management and service. Your customers respond better to what you do rather than what you say you are going to do, and this is exactly why outstanding customer service needs to be part of every company’s marketing strategy.