If you’re a small business owner, there are some essential truths you must know about marketing your small business. If you’re like most small business owners, you probably assume that crafting a smart small business marketing strategy is the most important thing you can do to grow your small business.
It’s true. An effective marketing strategy is an important part of building a successful business. Effective strategic marketing is like planning a trip -but if your business has piss poor customer service – it’s a trip you’ll be taking alone.
First a bit of a “history” lesson. Long ago – way back in the 1990’s – when the internet was shiny and new – websites were yet another example of one way communication. Businesses put up static websites and talked AT their customers. That was then and this is now. The current state of the web is referred to as Web 2.0 – because the conversation on the internet is not limited to those who can code in HTML. Average, every day people are launching blogs and even those without blogs are leaving comments on blogs
That means the customer has even more power than ever before – to make or break your business.
If you didn’t know it before, you should come to grips with this important fact now:
The best marketing strategy can’t overcome piss poor customer service.
Some unfortunate business owners are learning this lesson the hard way.
Cath Lawson can be a small business owners’ best friend – or worst enemy. See, Cath Lawson has incredibly popular blog about success in life and on the internet. When she likes a product, she shares it with the thousands of visitors who make her blog a regular stop – like this post: 26 Practical Resources For Starting An Online Business
However, disappoint her and she’ll be sharing that experience as well with the thousands of visitors as well. For example, in her post How I Became Sky TV’s Customer Complaints Centre, she shares how Sky TV not only treated her to some of the worst customer service on the planet but how she now gets literally dozens of similar complaints from other abused customers. She writes:
If You’re A Bad Company Like Sky TV – The Internet Talks About You
The Internet talks and if consumer complaints aren’t dealt with efficiently, it keeps talking. And it’s not like getting bad newspaper press, which is often dumped in a wastepaper basket and forgotten about a few days later. If the stories are true – they stay there and there’s bugger all you can do to remove them. And worse still – sometimes they spread through social media, faster than a plague of locusts.
This is a good thing for individual customers. In the past, big businesses got away with ignoring customer complaints. But now consumers can reach thousands of people online quickly, which is great, because if large companies rip them off, plenty of people get to know about it and they can vote with their feet.
Do you think that Sky TV knew she was a popular blogger when they refused to issue a refund? I’ll guarantee you that the amount she was charged is miniscule in comparison with what her blog posts are doing to their reptuation!
in What Every Business Owner Must Know About Web 2.0, I share that Bloggers are the ULTIMATE power customers.
I cover the topic of POWER CUSTOMERS in my book Beyond the Niche: Essential Tools You Need to Create Marketing Messages that Deliver Results. If someone is satisfied with the service provided by your business, they’ll tell 3 people on average. If they’re upset, they’ll make it a mission and tell 16. That figure assumes they don’t have a blog.
This is why I heartily recommend that every small business owner should treat every customer like they’re a “POWER CUSTOMER”. See, with the advances in technology – anyone can have a blog. Even people who can barely send email can blog.
The best marketing strategy can’t overcome piss poor customer service!
Social Marketing is Like Showing Up Naked to a Cocktail Party – If there’s one term that you must keep in mind in the age of Web 2.0, it would have to be TRANSPARENCY! Web 2.0 provides a window to your business and if your customers aren’t pleased – they’ll make sure to share it with the world.
This can be a blessing for the customer service minded business – and can be the worst curse of all for the business that hopes its customers will never find each other and band together. Which camp does your business fall in?