Customer service is more important to your marketing strategy today than many business owners realize. Because of brand exposure 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 – Critical to Reputation Management and Effective Marketing
With review sites such as Yelp taking prominent positions in the search engine results for local business searches, businesses must know what is being said about them 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.
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 through superior customer service
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 and ask them to provide reviews for you on these review sites. Who better to tell the world about you than your existing, satisfied clients?
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. You can run but you cannot hide so 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 bad review or 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.