Customer service is more important to your marketing strategy today than many business owners realize. It is more than just a support function for your company. Customer service has the potential to be a powerful asset in strengthening your marketing efforts. It has a pivotal role in shaping brand perception, fostering customer loyalty, and driving word-of-mouth marketing.
Because your brand is continuously exposed to potential customers via social media, marketing needs to be concerned with the entire customer experience. Companies that provide excellent customer service strengthen their marketing by simplifying the task of tracking and managing the perception of your brand. If your customer service is brilliant, marketing becomes the process of staying visible to your customers and prospects.
When your customer service is lacking, marketing then has an added burden of reputation management – tracking and responding to negative reviews.
Customer service effects reputation management
With review sites and Google Reviews taking prominent positions in the search engine results for local businesses, you must know what is being said about you and why. It has become too easy to submit reviews for the world to see. When you have a disgruntled customer, negative reviews are a given.
Be sure you implement a regular web presence analysis for your business to eliminate any surprises. Knowing what is being said about your business helps you take a proactive approach rather than a reactive one when something negative is posted.
In a world where consumers trust online reviews more than company marketing messages, people will scour the Internet to get help when trying to decide which product to buy or service to hire.
Create a quality brand reputation
Include customer service in your marketing plan.
Create a total customer experience that includes providing excellent customer service. This includes responding quickly to emails, promptly returning phone calls and resolving complaints quickly and professionally. Do you:
- Know how your current clients view their experience with your business?
- Go provide something of value that strengthens your relationship with your clients and sets you apart from your competition?
Nurture your current clients to ensure future references and testimonials
If you want to land new clients, use your relationship with your current clients. Ask them to provide reviews for you on your Google Business Profile or relevant review sites. Who better to tell the world about you than your existing, satisfied clients?
Incorporate your Google review link in your emails asking for a review so that it is easy for your satisfied customers to leave a review. Sign into the Google account that manages your profile then search for your business name. Click on the arrow on the right to expose the “Ask for reviews” option.
Click on Ask for reviews to get your review link:
Now you can add this direct link to your website, email it to loyal customers or turn it into a QR code so you can add it to your marketing materials.
Create a customer experience that is worth talking about.
So many small business owners feel “nickel and dimed” by their service providers. They avoid calling to ask a question because it results in an invoice regardless of the type of question asked.
If you provide a service, create service packages that include access to you via phone and email. Make it easy for your clients to contact you when they have a question that only you can answer.
A great example of superior service is a real estate attorney who charges a flat fee for a closing. Although the fee may be a bit higher, you know you can send email or call with questions without wondering what the final invoice will look like. This was not only liberating, but it made the closing process that much less stressful.
Monitor your reputation online and respond to negative reviews professionally.
Businesses will never please all customers all the time. Those who have had a bad customer experience will be vocal about their concerns. Respond to these reviews professionally, honestly and humbly whenever you can. If the only review visible on the Internet is a one star negative review, your business will feel the pain. But surround that one bad review with several quality reviews and it will fade away.
Having the best marketing that drives inbound leads and new clients is a wonderful thing. But if paired with average customer service, one negative review or mediocre customer experience can turn all your marketing into a wasted effort.
Before your business finds itself in this situation, make it a priority to provide an experience that your customers will be happy to acknowledge publicly with quality reviews and referrals. This will help your business build stronger relationships with your customers, cultivate brand loyalty and generate positive word-of-mouth marketing.