Small Business Marketing Basics | Why Customer Service Is The New Marketing
Small Business Marketing Basics | Being in business means more than just selling your services or goods. In 2014, being in business means selling, engaging, monitoring, online reviewing, generating, social sharing, reputation managing, and – most importantly – listening. In the digital and social world we live in, the separation will be in how you service your customers.
According to a research, a 5% increase in customer retention can increase a company’s profitability by staggering 75%. Customer service is the new marketing! That’s the buzz around town at the moment. Social media provides a public space where potential clients have a chance to see how you service your existing ones before making the decision to purchase your product or hire you. How you interact with clients on social platforms is a reflection of you as a brand.
In a world where consumer and peer reviews are easily accessible via social media and the web, positive customer experiences become amplified and produce word-of-mouth referrals. On the other side, negative customer experiences become amplified as well, and can be fatal to even big businesses.
There are hundreds of different strategies you can use to further improve your customer service, but we believe none are as important as the three small business marketing basics listed below.
Listen | Small Business Marketing Basics
First and foremost, customer service is all about listening to your customers, it’s not rocket science. Receiving feedback from your customers is an excellent way to track and measure your level of service. 86% of clients quit doing business with a company because of a bad customer experience. Today, that same client could go on his blog or Facebook and tell the world of his poor experience. In a worst case scenario, a client receiving disrespectful service could have a blog with over a million dedicated readers, or a Twitter feed with a few thousand followers.
If you focus your energy on listening to your clients and acknowledging their feedback, be it positive or negative, you may find that managing, reviewing, sharing, and engaging naturally grow more easy as well. Positivity brings positivity, and after a good experience with your business, clients will share this satisfying interaction with others.
Add Value | Small Business Marketing Basics
Expectations of clients have increased as they have become a lot more informed and better educated about the choices available to them. To stand out from the competition and build a loyal client base, you can no longer simply provide a product or service; you have to go above and beyond that service.
Do not wait for clients to seek you out with a mention on Twitter or a comment on your Facebook page. Actively listen for terms related to your brand’s current content to find out what clients are saying about you instead of what they are saying to you. By servicing their needs without them asking, you can turn an upset client into one that will support you in new ways. 78% of clients recommend a brand to friends and other contacts after a great customer experience. They will not only tell their friends and family, but they will advocate for you on the same social channels they once used to bash you.
Train | Small Business Marketing Basics
Proper training is one of the best ways to develop a company culture that embraces excellent customer service. Every employee must understand what is expected when interacting with clients. How you handle the problem is far more important than the problem itself. A client has to always feel their best interests are being taken into consideration, even when you can’t give in to their demands. It is far better to say no with a smile, than yes with an attitude.
Businesses must make every employee aware that they are the most powerful marketing tool the company has and help them to understand exactly why their interactions with clients are so vital. Creating a social media policy is an integral part of this plan. By educating, setting best practices and empowering employees you enable them to engage the public on-brand in a purposeful and unified way.
In an era when companies see online support just as a way to protect themselves from costly interactions with their clients, it’s time to consider an entirely different approach: building human-centric customer service through great people and clever technology. So, get to know your clients. Humanize them, and humanize yourself. It’s worth it.