Educating your customers on the benefits of your products and services has long been the definition of marketing, but in this era of immediate access through the internet, that definition has begun to evolve. Word-of-mouth is still and probably always will be the most powerful marketing tool you’ll have in your toolbox, especially with outlets that social media provides. This has become evident with the rise of influencer marketing and review websites like Yelp!, TripAdvisor, Angie’s List, Epinion, and even Facebook.
Now, when buyers use their power to educate your target audience about your products and services with their word-of-mouth marketing, what are your prospective buyers hearing? Are they still only hearing about the benefits your products provide? Or are they also hearing about the customer service your company offers alongside the purchase of the product?
You already know the answer. Your buyers are just as likely to tell their friends and followers about your company’s customer service as they are to talk about how awesome your products are. In some cases, they may be even more likely to talk about the service over the purchase—particularly in the case of a negative experience. News of bad service can reach twice as many people as those positive reviews will.
Not Just About New Customers
Providing excellent customer service for that word-of-mouth marketing isn’t your only takeaway here. Did you know that you’re 60-70% more likely to sell to an existing customer, as opposed to 5-20% likely to sell to a brand new buyer? It’s also seven times more expensive to acquire new customers as it is to keep your existing buyers. That’s reason enough right there to offer the best possible customer service you can, isn’t it?
As you can see, customer service should be a huge part of your marketing efforts. What can you do to make sure your buyers—new and old—get the attention they deserve so they’ll 1.) tell more people about your company and 2.) come back to buy more stuff in the future?
Constantly in Contact
Business hours mean nothing anymore. When your buyers have a problem or a question, they want to reach you immediately. Because social media outlets also offer messaging options, your customers have the avenues to reach out any time of night or day.
You deserve to have a life, too. So how can you balance immediate responses for your customers with taking the kids to baseball games and dance practice? What can you do to manage messages when you’re away on vacation?
Consider adding a bot to your social media messaging apps to let buyers know you’ve received the message and will be in touch soon. More sophisticated bots can even be programmed to carry buyers through a specific set of questions so you can solve the issue before you have to get involved personally.
There are also some texting services that allow you to take business messages on your phone throughout the day. Buyers who may not be savvy with social media can reach you through your business phone number, which is then relayed by text to your mobile phone or other device. This is an added bonus for business owners who may not be comfortable with social media services, too.
Add Value to Their Experience
The internet and online marketplaces have made it possible for anyone to put their products and services in front of buyers. Some sellers on Amazon don’t have to worry about building a brand or even marketing that brand. As long as buyers are searching for their products, those sellers will keep selling.
How can your brand stand out from the crowd? What can you do to ensure your buyers will come back again and again, rather than searching Amazon or other marketplaces when they need or want something? By going above and beyond your competitors with customer service, you increase the chances that your buyers will remember you and tell their friends, family, and followers.
For instance, a video tutorial included with any products that require assembly could cut down on the time, frustration, and potential mistakes that a customer experiences. Free accessories that make a product work better or provide more joy is just another small way to set yourself apart. Even following up immediately after a purchase to make sure the buyer got exactly what they expected can go a long way toward inspiring some loyalty.