I write quite a lot on the subject of Internet Marketing of late, which admittedly tends to focus on the technology. There are however other aspects of the marketing equation that have nothing to do with technology, or at least very little to do with it. These are human aspects of marketing, that have to do with the human relationships of the marketing equation.
Taking care of your clients is the focus of this blog post, and if done right, great customer care can stand as a means to market your business or organisation, in itself. The beauty of taking this approach to effective marketing is that, it does not take too much of your resources, and is a win-win for both your clients and your business.
We are all searching for something authentic in our daily experiences, whether its in the friendships we have, or its in romantic relationships, and even in business interactions. Your business or organisation, should aim to identify what the authentic experiences are for each and every client.
An authentic experience, may be as simple as asking your client the simple but important question, of if there is something you may help them with, or it can be as complex as providing a tailor-made solution, that addresses that specific client’s particular needs, in response to their particular problem.
When practising great customer care, you should aim to provide experiences that resonate with your client’s sense of personal value to your business or organisation. Their experience of the interaction between them and your business or organisation, should be in line with their expectations, of what being treated like a valued customer feels like.
In any situation where you interact with your clients, situations of conflict or discontent are bound to arise, sooner or later. Great customer care, demands that you treat your clients during such situations, with the utmost courtesy and diplomacy. You should never allow such situations to escalate out of control.
Diffusing such situations as quickly as possible, when they arise, should be your objective, if you are to practice great customer care. Every situation will demand a different level of care and approach to diffuse. A simple apology may suffice in some circumstances, whilst compensation may be required in others.
Resolving issues with customers before they escalate, will reward you with a peace of mind in your daily operations, but also build your reputation in a positive way. The longer issues stay unresolved, the worse off is the reputation of your business or organisation going to be.
Of-course, no amount of great customer service, will save you from the consequences of doing a poor job, or delivering your services horribly. In fact, if you do a horrible job of what you do, you will in turn provide a horrible experience, that will also result in issues between you and your clients escalating. At the end of the day, there is no substitute for doing an excellent job.
In order to do a great job, you have to set a high standard for yourself, your business or your organisation. By setting the standard high and executing consistently, you will ensure that you always do a great job, that leaves your clients satisfied.
Once you start providing authentic customer experiences, resolving issues with customers before they get out of hand, and delivering a great product or service, you will begin to see the number of business referrals start to increase.
There is nothing more powerful than word of mouth in marketing. Once someone speaks great things about your business or organisation, it carries a lot of weight with the ears that are listening, because in all likelihood, the speaker and the listener have already formed a relationship of trust.
Great customer care will therefore pay great dividends for your business or organisation in the long run, allowing you to build your customer base based on referrals from your existing customers, who will be a strong voice in your corner, that will be bringing in new business.
Everywhere you ask, you will hear that it costs more to acquire a new customer, than it costs to retain an existing one. You will hear varying proportions as to how much more, depending on whom you ask, but everybody seems to agree that retaining an existing customer is cheaper.
Great customer care through creating authentic experiences, promptly resolving issues and delivering great products or services, will enable your business or organisations to better keep the clients you already have. Better customer retention will therefore save your business or organisation money in the long run.
In order to do things proficiently, it is always a good idea to have a system in place. Just as you have a system for accounting, or one for production, you should invest in a customer relationship management (CRM) system. This system will enable you to have a structured way in which you manage your clients.
Depending on how big or complex your business or organisation is, your system can be simple or complex, by a vast range of degrees. For instance, for a very small business, the system may be based on a spreadsheet using a program like Microsoft Office or Open Office.
Ideal systems are web based, that may be proprietary such as Zoho CRM, or Open Source and free such as SuiteCRM. Ultimately you need an appropriate system, that allows you to be effective at managing your clients, and your relationships with them. And remember, great customer care is marketing in itself.
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