Ignore the latest marketing hype
Invest in SEO! Build backlinks! SEM! Expand your Facebook presence. You need to Foursquare if you have a store location! You have to do this, invest in that, run these ads, reach this target so many times.
Just stop. Yes, there’s a place for all of the above and most of the aforementioned probably apply to your business, but when you’re talking about your company’s marketing, you need to ask yourself the most important “factor of 60” question of all: How do you rate your customer service? Are you being honest with yourself?
Are you being honest about your customer service?
Nothing is more important than how your organization interacts with people, no matter what kind of organization you are. One-to-one in person, through a chat, on your website, or over the phone, the real question is: How do your previous customers rate your customer service? Do you know? If you do know, to what extent and detail and what did you learn and what corrections did you make? How long ago did you address the quality of your customer service?
If you do not know how previous customers rate your service, why don’t you know? Chances are, there are more than a few negative reviews about your company on Yelp, Google or Yahoo. Customer service is the single most important factor in all of marketing and it is something you can actually fully control in your business that will show in future profits — or losses.
Training your employees is a critical investment, focusing on continuously improving customer service is a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Revisit customer service to build positive cheerleaders
If you do not have an across-the-board A, 90% or whatever is the equivalent to your company’s rating system, you need to first work on this before spending more money on getting people to reach your cashier or go on your website to only be disappointed. If you aren’t familiar with this scenario, you probably don’t go out much, because a large percentage of cashiers, waitresses, call center representatives, financial advisers and bank tellers are rude, incompetent, or even dishonest.
You spend money to research your market, positioning your brand and products, and mobilizing a targeted demographic to only get them to visit your store and be treated rudely at point of sale, or have shelf stockers completely ignore their obvious need for assistance. Or perhaps you got them on your website with clever marketing to browse around and your website is slow, confusing, or worse, doesn’t even have what your marketing told them you had for them.
These negative experiences will quickly turn your profits into losses because not only will they probably not shop with you again, they will potentially become an anti-cheerleader through negative word-of-mouth, or worse, a public antagonist with 500 friends on Facebook only too happy to expose you for ruining their day while still on their smart phone as they make a beeline to your store exit.
That bad taste left in your customer’s mouth will cost you 12 times as much in lost business and negative referrals. Since it generally accepted that it costs about 5 times as much to find a new customer as opposed to getting an existing customer to come back, that means one negative customer interaction could sway your potential profit from this single individual by a factor of 60 times!
Customer service is that potent and critical of a force in marketing. If you underestimate its value in your marketing efforts, chances are you are mystified at your profits and sales closing ratios and you wonder why they don’t line up the way you think they should, but of course measuring your sales closing ratios is another discussion, because unless you count traffic you’re not measuring that either.