It's Marketing Monday and one of the strongest tools you have is Customer Service. No matter how big or small your business is, you've got to stay on top of customer issues and provide the very best service. We're a word of mouth business and nothing spreads faster than bad news - so, make it a point to build relationships with all your customers and stay on top of the challenges, always working for a fast resolution.
A customer is the most important visitor on our premises.
He is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him. He is not an interruption in our work.
He is the purpose of it. He is not an outsider in our business. He is part of it.
We are not doing him a favor by serving him.
He is doing us a favor by giving us an opportunity to do so.”
Okay, so the quote above is on "He" overload and is certainly a little dated, but it doesn't change the power of the message!
In 2012 I joined Trip Advisor.com. The reason was a request from one of our favorite local restaurants who asked us to put up a post. This is a "Mom and Pop" Italian restaurant - nothing fancy, but their food is outstanding and we've gotten pretty friendly with the owners. I had no problem in helping to spread the word.
Well, I got into Trip Advisor and found it was fun to share our experiences. Stay with me, because there's a really good point to my post this morning.
My first negative post was about a place here in Sarasota called "G. Wiz" and was positioned as the Sarasota children's science center. The post was entitled "What a Waste!" and just from the title, you can imagine my approach was anything but complimentary! We took our granddaughter there and it was truly a waste of time and money.
But I never would have bothered to post anything had it not been for a horrible experience with customer service. We were leaving after less than an hour there and I complained to the front desk. Many of the exhibits weren't working. The place was dirty and tired. It wasn't cheap to get in and wasn't worth our time. Her response was pure arrogance with a touch of attitude. You know the type. Her entire body language and comment screamed, "I don't care -I-didn't-build-it!" She ignored our complaint, telling us there was nothing she could do.
I posted on trip advisor and a year later there were 1300+ reads. To date, even though they closed several years ago there have been almost eight thousand. What makes it so sad is just a little good customer service would have neutralized everything and maybe even got us back when they did some renovations. All it took was a little empathy and good customer service.
Think about the experiences each client has when working with you. You'll never be able to please everybody, but you can build a relationship on trust and your client's belief in your ability to provide great service. Your goal with each client is the same; to exceed expectations and become habit-forming. Maintain that level of service and you'll always be able to bridge the credibility gap when it comes to a problem.
Most of you don't have a big staff, but regardless, remember to train everybody who talks to clients. When you do hit the wall with an unhappy client, work to resolve issues quickly and ALWAYS play the empathy card. You can defuse almost any situation with two sentences,
"I can't blame you for being upset, but the buck stops here. Let's see if I can help."
Years ago, in my Polaroid days, they used to say, one unhappy customer had the ability to influence 3-5 people...Today, because of social media, that number is in the thousands. Virtually everybody has the same potential reach as small magazines and newspapers had twenty years ago!
"People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care!"
PS I really got into Trip Advisor over the years. It only takes a minute and I review just about every place we go. Today, I'm coming up on 70,000 reads since those early posts in 2012.
Check out "Why?" one of the most popular features on the SCU Blog. It's a very simple concept - one image, one artist and one short sound bite. Each artist shares what makes the image one of their most favorite. We're over 100 artists featured since the project started. Click on the link above and you can scroll through all of the episodes to date.