If you didn’t know it before, know it now: Customer satisfaction plays a HUGE role in the success of your marketing. Great marketing and advertising can’t replace customer service and most importantly – customer satisfaction’s role in the success of your business.
In Adventures in Small Business Marketing, I shared:
Great marketing can bring customers to your business – THE FIRST TIME! Great packaging can get them to pick up and buy the product in the store. Great advertising can get them to walk in the door first time. However, from then on – it’s up to you to follow through and deliver upon the promises you made in the course of your marketing communications.
Allow me to share with you a personal story to illustrate the role customer satisfaction plays in marketing your business.
Five years ago, we moved from the Midwest to Southeastern Florida. Shortly thereafter, my 5 year old minivan began making horrible sounds – it needed a belt replaced so I took the car to the nearest Chrysler dealership’s service department. After all – it was a great excuse to “car shop” while I waited for the estimate.
Remember, I KNEW a new car was in my future – and I also know the “tricks” of a car dealership’s service department. (My father was a car dealer.) Even knowing this, I was still AMAZED at how they treated me as if I had S-T-U-P-I-D tattooed on my forehead. The repairs they claimed I needed were ridiculous – a few had been made three months earlier. The list of repairs they presented was truly a great work of fiction – and far exceeded the value of the car!
Here I was with a 5 year old mini van…. and I’m at a freaking CAR DEALERSHIP that supposedly makes their money SELLING CARS! These idiots were more interested in squeezing money out of me for unnecessary repairs than in establishing a relationship with me that would mean not only future repairs for the service department but also a possible customer for another van in the near future.
I later learned that this dealership treated EVERYONE like they’re stupid – car buyers as well as service customers. I wish this was a condition limited only to this particular car dealership – but it’s not. I’ve written about it before in New Media Tricks and Tips or I wish you would just tell me you think I’m stupid to my face….
I wasn’t surprised when six months later – the dealership quietly closed their doors. Long before Chrysler began pulling franchises from dealers – these idiots pruned themselves from the pack. In a community where 60 new people were moving into the area every day -and other new car dealerships were springing up daily as a result – these idiots were driving customers away in droves.
I will give them, the fought all the way to the end. They tried to lure new people into the dealership by advertising non-stop on every media available. Everywhere you turned, there was an ad for this dealership. The problem is – no amount of advertising could repair the damage they were doing by treating their customers like idiots.
I know we did our part to put that dealership out of business. Both my husband and I made sure to spread the word with the kind of word of mouth advertising that no one should EVER want for their business!!!
When we did end up buying a new car two months later – no amount of advertising could draw us back into that dealership. The damage was done.
On my way home from that fateful day at the car dealership, I saw a sign that read “Dave Fixes Cars.” I decided to pull in and give Dave a shot. Dave replaced the offending belt – AND ONLY THE OFFENDING BELT for a reasonable price. I was so thrilled; I wrote him a check for double the amount.
A few weeks later when my daughter’s car started acting up, guess who we called? That’s right Dave. Dave has fixed all three of our cars ever since!
Oh, and in the middle of a “horrible” economy – Dave has had to move his shop up the road to a larger facility. He’s had to hire help as well. Dave is busy and quite honestly, I’m not surprised. He’s never once in 5 years tried to “milk” me for more business. He’s straight forward and honest. While many more auto dealerships and repair shops are closing their doors – Dave is expanding.
Dave has built his business on customer satisfaction.
After my horrible experience at the car dealership – and my delight in his honesty – I found myself singing Dave’s praises – well, until this day. Obviously – others have felt the same way as well.
When Dave spends money advertising his business- he not only reminds his current customers where he is – and in this case – where he’s move his business to – but he gets new customers as well. Those new customers are as delighted as Dave’s established customers… and his business continues to grwo.
Are you using the recession as an excuse? Dave’s business is growing – take a good hard look at your customer’s satisfaction if yours isn’t.