Archive for November, 2011

Referrals

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

A word about referrals…and a few statistics, too!

Satisfied customers are your best salespeople, because they spread the word about your quality, value and service to their friends.

Keep in mind that a bad referral is as damaging as a good referral is helpful.

  • In the off-line world, one person’s bad experience with a business is conveyed personally to an average of 22 people.
  • In the online world it’s much worse, because your disgruntled customers can broadcast their dissatisfaction at discussion groups frequented by hundreds or thousands of people.

 

*Source: Guerilla Marketing

Don’t Forget Your Front Line

Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

Delivering exceptional customer service is necessary in today’s competitive marketplace. In addition to your customers, don’t forget to treat your employees well. Many businesses drop the ball in this area. Especially with the current rate of unemployment, many business owners think their workers should be happy to have a job. While this may partially be true, remember, while you are trying so hard to create the best experience for your customers, it only takes one contact with an unhappy, disengaged or disgruntled employee to change a customer’s perception of the service you provide.

Be sure to add employee satisfaction to your marketing plan. This does not always mean you will need to add to your budget. Very often employee morale can be improved or maintained through open communication. Incorporating employee surveys or a suggestion box are easy ways to get feedback. Opening a dialogue with employees and engaging them in the company’s strategy goes a long way. Adding these types of improvements will often help reduce staff turnover and the costs involved in recruiting, hiring and training new employees.

Increasing satisfaction and minimizing problems are the ultimate goals in managing our relationships with customers. Use each customer encounter or point of contact as an opportunity to develop and build trust. Even problems and complaints can be used as a way to go above and beyond expectations in remedying the situation. It’s a good idea to create a system of recording customer interactions to help determine patterns not only in customer complaints, but in their preferences as well.

For example, many luxury hotels observe the choices guests select during their stay, such as extra towels, then extra towels are provided every time that customer visits. Upscale retailers tend to have personal shoppers who record preferences in colors, styles, brands and size so they can notify their client when new merchandise appears.

Adding a personal touch to your interactions with customers can go a long way. It doesn’t always have to be an up sell or business related. Simply paying compliments or asking specific questions about something that was discussed in a previous conversation helps to create that elusive customer loyalty.