Many businesses tend to focus on acquiring NEW customers and lose sight of focusing upon EXISTING customers. The long term value of a customer is far greater than their initial purchase. Existing customers are the FOUNDATION of the holy grail of advertising…
word of mouth advertising.
One of the most frustrating parts about working with clients on their marketing is the frustrating fact of how intertwined customer service is with marketing. Many small business owners say they WANT to leverage the power of word of mouth advertising without recognizing that exceptional customer service is the KEY to tapping into that elusive marketing goal.
Any business that expects to stay afloat by merely using advertising to draw in a never ending supply of new customers is doomed to failure. The cost of acquiring new customers is always much, much higher than the cost to sell to existing customers.
Successful marketing means establishing a solid customer base, then servicing that customer base as you add to it via your marketing and advertising.
Erwin Steneker at the Learn Good Customer Service blog writes:
This is a wake-up call for anyone thinking that customer service is something handled by a customer service department, provided by customer service reps diligently typing at their help desk applications…
Stop chasing that ghost! You’re beating a dead horse!
The time has long gone, where your customer service was the only place unhappy customers could go. The Internet is a common place to talk about just about anything that’s on your mind. Forums, social sites like MySpace and Facebook, Youtube for videos, blogs, customer complaint web sites, the list goes on and on.
These days, it’s much more likely that your mistakes are plastered all over the Information Superhighway instead of coming to you. It’s only human to get mad, and get even.
You need much more than ‘just’ a customer service department to make and keep happy customers.
Every time a customer comes into contact with your business, you either add or take away from that relationship:
A hearty AMEN to that!!!
If you think your customers are happy because they’re not complaining… WAKE UP! Poor customer service has become such a staple these days that it takes a hugely egregious act to prompt a formal complaint from most consumers.
The first symptom that your customer service may need work is not an avalanche of complaints, but rather a lack of “word of mouth” advertising. Current customers aren’t referring new customers to your business anymore. However, instead of looking inside, many small business owners look OUTSIDE and call upon the marketing gods to come to the rescue.
Before you begin any marketing or advertising campaign, take an internal check first of your customer satisfaction amongst CURRENT customers. Remember, satisfied customers will tell 3 or 4 people about your business… dissatisfied ones will tell, on average, 16.