Every company in the world wants to increase its brand awareness, and there are many ways to do so – from leveraging traditional yet effective marketing to offering quality online content. However, in order to outshine the competition and make the brand really stand out, what companies need to do is provide good customer service. Why? Because people love to share their experiences.
When you provide great service, your customers will spread the word, increasing your company’s reputation. Conversely, with poor service, you risk being bad-mouthed, which can seriously affect the way your company is perceived. In short, customer service affects your brand. Therefore, you should take some simple measures to make sure your company always creates a positive experience for your customers, turning them into free advocates of your brand. Here are some things to consider!
PROVIDING QUALITY CUSTOMER SERVICE
For your customer service to boost the value of your brand, it must surpass the expectations of your customers. Therefore, you should always try to make them as happy as possible. Begin by personalizing the customer experience – call them by their name and offer something special. Create a human touch by treating your customers in a friendly, polite and respectful way. Always listen to what they are saying, and show empathy when they have a problem or concern. Make sure to answer all their questions and resolve their issues in a timely manner.
With quality customer service that meets their needs and exceeds their expectations, your customers will develop feelings of loyalty and trust that will ultimately result in recommendations to their friends, family members, and the online community. When they are satisfied, rest assured they will talk about it.
SATISFYING EACH AND EVERY CUSTOMER
Remember that every customer counts. As a busy business owner or manager, you might feel tempted to focus only on customers who will most likely buy, but don’t fall in that trap. Instead, make up your mind to satisfy every customer, even those who might not buy very much or very often. The following scenario illustrates the power that comes with satisfying every customer:
While shopping for a computer, Betty sends an e-mail to Company A to ask about a particular model. Company A doesn’t recognize the value of customer service excellence, so no one from their support team responds to Betty’s inquiry. Instead, Company A focuses on serving its regular customers because the time spent helping them will more likely result in future sales. Or so they think.
Betty becomes annoyed at Company A’s failure to respond to her question, so she turns to Company B. When Company B’s customer service team receives Betty’s inquiry, they quickly respond with an in-depth, personalized answer to her questions. Additionally, Company B provides Betty with a special discount on the computer she wants to buy. Of course, Betty buys the equipment from Company B.
The story does not end with Betty’s purchase. She logs into Facebook and tells all her friends about the negative experience with Company A, as well as about her positive experience with Company B.
In our example, Company A lost a sale from Betty, but they also lost an unknown number of sales from the adverse effects of Betty’s word-of-mouth. Company B won two times. First, they sold Betty a computer. Second, they gained Betty as a loyal customer and advocate.
PAYING ATTENTION TO SOCIAL MEDIA
Today, social media have become a place where customers increasingly share their opinions about companies. In fact, sometimes it takes only one bad review to cause serious repercussions. Complaints get a lot of attention on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites, creating publicity nightmares for companies that don’t provide good customer service.
Adverse publicity results in negative opinions that cause people to avoid companies like Company A. In our example, neither Company A nor Company B knew Betty had thousands of Facebook friends and an active presence. This fact created a lot of damage for Company B because Betty wrote a scathing Facebook post about her negative experience and shared it with her friends. In her post, she purposely told everyone to avoid Company A and to buy from Company B. After reading Betty’s post, Facebook users “liked” it and shared it with their network of friends. Soon, many people found out about Company A’s lousy service and decided to shop, instead, at Company B.
As you can see, social media can affect your company in two ways. First, your customers might share their experiences with your business there. Regardless of whether they shopped in your brick-and-mortar store, spoke to your staff on the phone, or contacted your company via email, people will talk about their experience online.
Second, you can use social media to provide quality customer service to your clients in a public setting. When you address customer inquiries on social media, everyone can see that you respond quickly and professionally to all questions and work to satisfy every customer, including those who have complaints. Even bad experiences can serve your company when you apologize for a problem, provide compensation, and take steps to prevent the same problem from recurring.
In the modern business environment, you cannot succeed merely by creating good products and services and marketing them through traditional channels – you need to provide great customer service as well. Customers want to know they can trust your company to protect their investment if something goes wrong. They also want to be able to get information about your goods and services in a reasonable amount of time. When you provide quality customer service, you create happy customers who not only shop with your company but also share their experiences. That way, you gain free ambassadors that will jumpstart sales and boost the much-needed awareness of your brand.
By Natalie Smith. Natalie is a freelance writer who is passionate about topics such as marketing, customer service, social media, and business in general. She is also an ardent reader and a sports fan. Reach her @Natalie Smith.