Let’s face it: you’re operating a business in a time when the customer holds all (or most) of the cards. If she finds your product or service less than satisfactory, she has tons of other companies lining up to compete for her business. What’s more, these companies (your competitors) are oftentimes offering up price discounts and other incentives to attract new customers, so she has even greater motivation to consider switching.
Every interaction with a customer, from the moment they become aware of your business, provides an important marketing opportunity. Now I don’t mean another chance to advertise additional products or services, or to layer on another sales pitch. By “marketing opportunity,” I simply mean a chance to earn additional business from the customer.
Understanding a customer’s total potential value
The value of a new customer goes beyond what you paid for the lead and is greater than the product or service that customer purchased. Happy customers continue to purchase your products and services, driving more revenue and more profit with no additional acquisition costs. Of equal or perhaps more value, they also become an extension of your marketing efforts by carrying the message about your business to other consumers via referrals, reviews, and word-of-mouth marketing. Not surprisingly, consumers consistently rank ‘personal recommendation from a friend’ as the most influential factor in choosing a business to work with. It’s also not shocking that 90% of consumers say their buying decisions are influenced by online reviews.
When you include future purchases, referrals, positive reviews and word-of-mouth in the equation and realize the total potential value of your customers is something worth singing about, the next logical question is how to seize that value…
Getting in the business of making customers happy
Let’s assume you’re really good at what you do and the product or service purchased by your customers is always of superior quality. Should your customer service efforts stop there? No! In fact, the “little things” – like calling the customer after the job is complete to make sure she’s satisfied, or sending a friendly email reminder before her appointment – can make a huge impact on how that customer values your company. Think of it this way – your average customer expects you to provide good products or service. But they do not expect the “little things” you do to make them extra happy, and those seemingly little things have an outsized impact on how they feel about your business.
Do you remember the last time a business went out of their way to make you happy? How did that make you feel about the business?
Getting customers to talk about a job well done
Many small businesses are doing the hard part (providing the great customer experience) and some are doing the “little things”, too, but are failing to realize the full value afforded by those efforts. Sure their customers are likely to retain longer, which is great, but the added benefits of additional referrals and positive online reviews don’t necessarily happen organically. Even word-of-mouth marketing takes a little boost to realize its full potential.
Once you’ve made your customer happy, this is the time to ask them to write a positive review online or to refer your business to friends and family. What you’ll tend to find is most happy customers are very receptive to these requests. (And if the customer seems hesitant, there’s still a silver lining – you receive valuable feedback on how to improve your business!) It also helps to provide a physical item, like a business card, to facilitate the referral process.
By understanding customers are worth more than a single job, doing the little things to ensure their satisfaction, and asking those customers to tell their friends, you can dramatically change the value of your customer base and with that, the economics of your entire business.
How are you using these tips to help grow your business? Let us know in the comments box below!