The first step to retaining and growing your marketing share.
Consumers have more influence on the growth of your business than ever before. Social media and online reviews tipped the scales years ago to the point that consumers now have a direct and significant impact on customer service policies and even product improvement and development. Why not? They’re the ones using the product or service.
None of the above is news. On the other hand, how your customers are served says a lot about you or your company. It’s easy to become so emotionally or financially involved that you can’t see things from your customer’s perspective–especially entrepreneurs. Let’s look at an example of a customer interaction and see how you would choose to resolve it.
A Typical Customer Experience
A customer calls about a broken part on an $800 mountain bike that they bought from you 18 months ago. The part comes with a 1-year warranty and your cost for the part is $3 ($9.99 retail). Do you:
- Kindly remind them that the part is out of warranty and you would be happy to email them the link to purchase a replacement or you can take their order over the phone (you make $6.99 on a sale).
- Kindly remind them that the part is out of warranty and you would be happy to ship it free if they would like to purchase the replacement part (you make $6.99 on a sale).
- Kindly remind them that the part is out of warranty, but you would be happy to send them the part free of charge and it will go out today (your cost is $7 with shipping).
What’s Your Choice?
If you picked “A” it’s likely that you still use a flip phone and fax machine, because you’re doing business like it’s 1999. “B” is not a terrible choice, but it’s doubtful that your customer will be telling everyone how they got free shipping. “C” is the best choice if you want to convert your customers into ambassadors for your business–consider the cost an advertising expense.
What Your Customers Will Tell You if You Listen
Your customers have expectations for you and your business. If you’re listening, this is what they would tell you.
“I consider myself an informed consumer and I rarely buy on impulse. I like to do some research before I make a purchase, and the higher the cost the more the research I do. I often read company websites, independent product reviews, customer reviews, ask friends, and sometimes even visit a few stores to inspect the items in person. In the end, I am placing my trust in you and what you have to offer.”
“I have clear expectations about what I have purchased from you. If I contact you in the future it is because I have a question or a problem. I hope that you will have a friendly attitude and a willingness to help me. If I leave a voicemail or send you an email, the response time tells me how important I am to you.”
“If a mistake is made on your part, please do your best to make it right. Please let common sense rule over policies and procedures. If you resolve the situation beyond what I expect I will be thrilled.”
“I am interested in hearing from you occasionally if you have information that enhances my experience or educates me about your product or service. Please do not share my contact information or consider it an open invitation to place other items in front of me several times a week.”
“Please be clear on the costs and anything else related to what you are offering. If I am unpleasantly surprised I will be unhappy. It is likely that I will take my business elsewhere in the future, and tell others about my poor experience.”
“Do what you do best and don’t offer more than you can deliver. Referring me to another product or service if you can’t help me is impressive and it motivates me to do business with you in the future.”
“In the end, I hope that you delight me more than you satisfy me. If I am delighted, I will tell others about you and be unreachable by your competition.”
Are you ready to wow your customers? We’d love to hear about your next print marketing project–we’re good listeners. Let’s talk.