A close friend mentioned that he was in a restaurant recently and was astonished at how poor the customer service had been – this was particularly disappointing as it was a good quality restaurant and still relatively new.
This comment coincided with another made to me by a friend who commented that she only ever seems to go to a restaurant 3 times – first to try it out and be pleased, the second time to take others as she has recommended it and after the third she would swear never to go to that restaurant again due mostly to variable food and poor customer service.
You may have a great product, but if the service is poor, consumers will not bother and this can make or break your business. None of us much patience for lousy customer service and easily get tired of waiting for a menu or that first drink you are gasping for. We get fed up trying to get a live person on the line, going through an interrogation to return something or trying to communicate through a language barrier.
Whatever business you run, if you provide your customers with a simple, efficient, pleasant experience they will revisit your business over and over. More importantly, they might tell others how good your business is!
There are a number of secrets to good customer service, the first one is knowing exactly what YOU want.
You are the captain of the ship and the visionary for the future of your business, so you need to have a clearly defined plan for your business and that must include customer service. There are 3 main goals you need to consider:
- It needs to be easy for your customers to do business with you. You can do this with help guides, advertised discounts, easy-to-follow prompts, your website and other technology based programmes to help them shop.
- Doing business with you needs to be a warm and pleasant experience. Your staff must be knowledgeable, approachable, warm and patient. Regular training is an essential part of investing in your staff’s knowledge. Most importantly, your customers need to feel like they are getting a good value for their time and money. Perceived value goes beyond the price of the products and extends to their entire shopping experience.
- You must change your mind set and ask yourself “How can I NOT afford to do these things?” This shouldn’t be a question of expenses, but making and keep happy customers.
With these thoughts in mind, regardless of how big or small your business, you also need to take a few things into consideration when deciding on the actual programmes and standards you’ll put into place.
- Share your customer service vision with the rest of your staff – make sure they’re on board.
- Connect your staff incentive programmes and bonuses directly to customer service.
- Monitor the level of customer service your staff is putting out by regularly surveying your customers.
- Know when you can ignore what your customers want.
- Continuously focus on your business goals.
Now, that you know what you want, you can starting thinking about how to meet those wants and create a positive customer service experience.
Remember, if your customers have a good experience of your business, they might tell others how good it was – if they have a bad experience, they absolutely will tell everyone they know about that too!!
If you’re having a hard time deciding on what you want, the tools, resources and coaches in our FREE test drive can help you define the wants and needs of your company in relation to customer service.
After presenting at a recent seminar, in the Q&A session, one person asked a great question; “How can I make sure that I can run a successful and reusable marketing campaign?”
These are the 5 elements that I shared that I consider essential for any campaign to stand a chance of success.
In my opinion, the 5 essential elements are:
- Define your Market Dominating Position (MDP)
- Create an effective sales offer
- Avoid the marketing pitfalls
- Use a world-class marketing perspective
- Get results!
Simple! We’ll go through each one of these, so you can see exactly how to use them and how they all affect the overall outcome of your marketing campaign. Once you have these basics down, you can use them over and over again.
1. Define your Market Dominating Proposition (MDP)
Most marketing I see is about what you do, what you sell, how you operate!
Take the time to ask yourself some questions from the perspective of the customers/clients. What would it take to get your attention? What needs do you have that need to be met? What are the promises you want fulfilled?
Once you know the answers to these questions you can start putting together a plan to meet these needs. Then take a look at what, if any, MDP your competitors are using to help you develop your own MDP. Your MDP is what you are “promising” your customers/clients. This is what’s going to set you apart from your competition – you will most certainly need to specialise and you may also need to innovate!
2. Put an effective sales offer to work
To develop an effective sales plan, you need to follow a number of steps:
- Put together a headline that interrupts your prospect and gets immediate attention.
- Share benefits of your products/services but from the customers’ perspective.
- Identify the specific needs met by your products/services.
- Make it easy to do business with you by offering no-risk guarantees.
- Share your specific sales proposition.
- Walk your customers/clients through how they should respond and act.
- Motivate with a clear, striking and no-risk call to action.
What this all means is, you need to put together what makes your products/services special and compel customers to buy them. But, remember, if they don’t feel like they NEED your product, they won’t buy. You also need to plan for the fact that they may need to buy but not yet. You may, therefore, need to answer a question, solve a problem or even feed an obsession.
You need to provide them with all the information they need to make an informed and confident decision. Buyer’s remorse is one of the worst things that can happen.
3. Avoid the marketing pitfalls
There are a number of major marketing pitfalls that many businesses fall into and you should avoid:
- Ignore market testing and push on with a poorly researched and inaccurate plan.
- Offer an incomplete case, or reasons, throughout the marketing plan.
- Failure to understand the true needs of prospective customers/clients.
- Failing to diversify the marketing options.
This list is not exhaustive, but these are all areas to avoid. If you’ve been working through these blog articles, avoiding these pitfalls should be easy and natural.
4. Use a world-class marketing perspective
Having a world-class marketing perspective is important, especially if you want to attract customers/clients from all over the world. You can do this a number of different techniques and activities:
- Benchmark against the best-in-class marketing companies. As an example, I have always viewed Guinness as one of the best examples of powerful and compelling marketing that has kept a 258 year old brand fresh and exciting!
- Linked to this, watch for high quality marketing everywhere you can find and keep a file for future ideas to consider.Always keep an Ideas Journal and scribble down any innovative ideas that occur to you or that you see that you might be able to replicate.
- Encourage your marketing department, marketing partner or yourself, to measure everything and then to try new things and dump the things that aren’t working.
- Continuously test market your marketing activity. This is the only way to stay successful and know what’s working and, more importantly, what’s not.
- Try finding your own marketing as if you were a prospect and then order from your own company under a different name and analyse the process of ordering, shipping, online store, customer service and the product itself. This may show you areas for improvement in the customer experience.
- When out in public, watch how consumers or business customers behave in different situations and how they consider their purchases. Look for how this might apply to your own business.
- Take the opportunity to step down a notch or two and work on the front lines with your sales and customer service staff.
- Continuously acknowledge hard work from your staff and vendors – not just the successful results. Everyone works better when they feel appreciated.
- Seek out and always listen to feedback from employees and customers. Remember, all feedback is a gift!
- Offer more relevant and engaging information in your marketing than anyone else. The more information you offer, the more products/services you’ll sell.
- A great marketing plan can only get better. Continue to fine tune and refine your marketing plan based on testing results and feedback.
- Be classy in your marketing. Make sure your marketing and advertising fits your company image, products/service and quality.
- Focus on what you say and how you say it, don’t worry so much about where you say it. The best marketing ideas, if implemented effectively, turn into the best marketing naturally.
- Develop all your ads, campaigns and sales materials as if you were wanting to include everything you’ve done into a portfolio of your work. Never produce a piece of marketing that you are not proud of!
By using these techniques you can put your name out there to the world and become one of the top brands in your chosen industry.
5. Get results!
The last area to talk about is the best-satisfied customers. If your customers aren’t satisfied, you’ve wasted all your marketing resources and all chance of positive word-of-mouth advertising. You can satisfy your customers by:
- Providing quality products/services
- Providing high quality customer service
- Providing a low-pressure, highly informative sales experience
- Taking all the risk away with a great guarantee
As an additional benefit, here’s a couple of simple techniques that work every time to generate more business and create more customer engagement:
- Build your database with a contest.
- Do regular mailings with sales, discounts, or other incentives.
- Find other creative ways to keep your current customers coming back for more.
Guinness will tell you that “It takes adventurous spirit and irrepressible ingenuity to do things the Guinness® way” – perhaps if you approach your marketing with an adventurous spirit and an irrepressible ingenuity, then your brand will be standing proud in 258 years time!
The Imora Marketing Academy
It is so simple! So, why aren’t you starting today? We can help you put together a great marketing plan that will get you results. Try our FREE test drive and find the tools and resources you need built by some of the biggest names in the marketing world.
I’ve seen 2 social media posts recently where people have been reaching out for support (both with a very generic ‘Looking for a business consultant’ message which, in both cases, has turned out to be not quite what they were looking for).
Anyway, in both cases, they had a string of responses/offers on the social media platform, in one case over 100 separate offers. These were things like “I can recommend Joe Smith”, or “I can help you” or the one I really loved “Hey PM me”.
In both cases, I hunted on the internet, found a phone number and rang the individual. Now, I don’t know whether they will become clients or not – depends on whether there is a fit – but in both cases, I was told that I was the ONLY person to have made a telephone contact!!
Why are we all hiding behind social media?
Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s a great tool for connecting, but you have to know when to drop off the social media and make it personal.
Think about it from your own perspective, when have you ever bought ANYTHING just from a social media connection?
So, come on gang, if you see an opportunity and it feels like there’s a good fit – stop broadcasting, pick up the phone and make it personal!!
If my experience is anything to go by, you will absolutely be in the minority!!
At a networking event yesterday, there were two really good questions raised about different business strategies.
One was asking about the development of a 12 month email strategy and the second was about how to make the most of social media. This second question seemed to really resonate with people as many people seem to find themselves doing social media because they feel they should, but struggling to see any real benefit beyond accumulating followers, likes and so on … and this question may resonate with you as well.
The second question was “I have over 1,000 connections on LinkedIn, but I get no business from them. What am I doing wrong?”. There then ensued an excellent round table discussion which asked lots of questions and then generated lots of ideas and suggestions for the person asking the question.*
What was particularly interesting about the discussion of both questions was that there was a very definite need for clarity of message in both businesses. During the round table questioning, it became apparent that both owners have strong businesses with a good client base, a clearly defined niche market and these were smart people. Both had impressive and well established portfolios of products and services. Both were clear on what they offered, had great business names and knew where they wanted to go – and yet, in neither case, did the marketing make clear what was special about these terrific businesses.
The problem here is a difference between Inside Reality and Outside Perception. You may well be a leader in your specialist niche, but if your target prospects do not see that in the way you market your business, how will they know?
There are very few, if any, markets where there is no competition. So, it is imperative that, as a business owner, you define your Market Dominating Position – by answering this question:
“What exactly makes your business different from your competitors
as perceived by your target prospects and customers?”
And here’s the secret: the second half of that sentence makes a whole world of difference!
I know this sounds brutal but in most circumstances people don’t care about your qualifications, how long you’ve been in business, that you might be family owned, that you offer the best quality, you really work to understand their business etc etc … you probably get the picture!
What people care about is;
“Does this company understand my problem(s)
and do they have a solution(s) that might help?”
If you can answer this question with your Market Dominating Position, then social media, email campaigns and all the other elements of how you market your business instantly become much easier and much more successful!!
If you want to know a little more, click HERE to watch a 3 minute animation … I promise you will find it illuminating!
*This was a very different and very impressive format of networking event – if you’d like to know more about it, let me know and I will be happy to put you in touch with the organiser.
There was a great piece of research done in the mid 2000’s which proved that whatever we might be taught by the expression ‘don’t judge a book by it’s cover’, the truth is that we all establish our first impression in the blink of an eye.
What’s worse is that longer exposures don’t significantly alter those first impressions (they might even boost your confidence in your instant judgments!)
The same is true of your marketing.
Research done by the Nielsen Norman Group proved that the speed at which visitors would leave a website was very high at the 10 second point. If a user stays for longer than say 30 seconds then it is probable that the user would stay for an increasingly long time.
In other words, the first 10 seconds of the page visit are critical for users’ decision to stay or leave.
In the same way as we naturally make instant judgements about whether we are going to like someone, we also make virtually instant judgements about whether a website (or any other piece of marketing for that matter) is going to be worth looking at or not.
To make your content worth looking at it needs to be:
RELEVANT & COMPELLING!
It needs to catch the eye of the visitor and engage them with content that’s relevant to their search immediately – and you only have a few seconds to make that connection!!
The authors of the research put it beautifully when they said:
some initial screening has to be passed before a page is examined in detail
In other words, a visitor will only glance at your site. If it is not immediately obvious that it is relevant to their search and then providing a compelling reason to dig further, the visitor is gone faster than you can say “please comment on my article” !!
So, have a look at your own website (and that of your competitors) and just check your marketing against these three simple questions:
- Do I say what other people don’t say?
- Do I do what other people can’t do?
- Is my solution to the prospects problem obvious?
If the answer is NO to any of these, then you need to seriously revisit your marketing activity – because the chances are that it is not doing anything for you currently!