Archive | October, 2010

Good Customer Service = Customer Loyalty

26 Oct

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Last week, I talked about the importance of customer service to your publicity. Now, let’s talk about customer service and how it pertains to customer loyalty.

“Customer loyalty matters, because selling more to current customers is easier and cheaper than finding and selling to new ones.” — Chintan Bharwada of MarketingProfs.com

Wouldn’t you prefer to do less work and sell more than have to work that much harder to secure new clientele? I would. And you should, too! It’s not only smart business, but efficient business as well.

Consider this:
1. Unless you give them some valid reason, your customers can just as easily patronize a competitor (or forgo the product/service altogether). Their willingness to return to you is only partly out of necessity.
2.  Cultivate relationships with clients you have determined to be “influential.” What I mean is, those customers that you have identified as loyal to your brand will be more likely to promote your business to friends and other contacts to whom you would not normally have access.
3. You have to exceed your customers’ expectations. Give them what they want and a little more…even if they don’t know they want/need it. Today, the bar is set higher because more and more business owners are realizing the importance of customer service and how it plays into their bottom line. You have to be better than good; be outstanding!
4.  It’s small and seems obvious while talking about customer loyalty, but offering some sort of a loyalty program can go a long way as long as you make sure the reward is something the customer really wants or needs.

There are truly endless ways to offer customer service to preserve customer loyalty. It should be an everyday practice…should become like second-nature. I challenge you to try it and just wait for the positive results. You’ll be happy you did. If you’d like more advice on offering good customer service or how to better market your business, contact me. I would love to hear from you. Best of luck.

~Laura~

***You still have some time to take advantage of the new client promotion… 5 days, anyway. Check out the “Services” page for details. Don’t miss out on this opportunity!!***

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Customer Service and Its Place in the Public Relations Mix

20 Oct

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

“Never underestimate the value of customer service to your Branding, and never think for a moment that customer service is not a form of public relations.” — Michael Levine, A branded WORLD

There you have it. Seems simple, right? Well, not always. I don’t know why, but sometimes we forget the smallest and easiest way to keep people talking about our businesses; and it can be so simple. In fact, according to Levine, “customer service might be the purest form of public relations.” I have to say that I absolutely agree with that. Think about it: How often do you patronize a business and decide you never want to go back because of the way you were treated? Consider that perspective in your business dealings. Are you approachable, compassionate, friendly, etc? Do you do your very best to exceed your customers’ expectations? If not, maybe it’s time to revisit some basic principles of customer service.

Your goal is to attract customers and ultimately receive business from them. You’re not going to do that if you (or your staff) don’t make a good first (or second, or third….) impression.
1) It starts with making a promise to your customer and above all else, sticking to it! Your regular customers — and even potential ones who hear positive things (remember, word-of-mouth is POWERFUL!) — are going to start counting on you to deliver on your promises and will continue to come back if you continue to keep that promise. Make a friend, you have one for life. If you make an enemy, they are sure to tell everyone!
2) How do you deal with customer complaints? It’s good to have a “policy”, but sometimes you need to be flexible in how you enforce it. Consider it a sort of compromise so that you are still meeting customers’ needs while maintaining your integrity.
3) The way you greet your customers is important whether you’re face-to-face on on the phone. I once worked for a company who’s most basic value was customer service. We were encouraged (a nice word for “required” in this case) to answer the phone with a smile and greet customers the same way. Believe it or not, you can hear a smile in someone’s voice even over the phone!!

I think the Bottom Line is: Put yourself in the place of your customers. How do you want to be approached? Translate that into your every-day practices. Honestly, your clients will go out of their way to see you over your competition!

True story to emphasize my point– Where I live, there are basically two ways to cross the river: a) extremely busy highway/bridge or b) the costly Turnpike (costly, relatively speaking; $1 to go about 3 miles). 90% of the time I’m going to take the Turnpike because nowhere else that I have traveled has there been such incredibly pleasant employees! Honest! Every time my husband and I drive through, we comment about the amazing customer service…and it’s just the Turnpike. But it makes the drive a little less stressful (because a half mile down from the toll booths you can expect to sit in bumper-to-bumper traffic).

Take a good look at your customer service. If it’s not already a priority, consider making it one! Customer service is public relations, too. Good luck!

~Laura~

Today’s Musing…

18 Oct

Monday, October 18, 2010

There is a vast wealth of (FREE!) tools available to you as a small business with a small budget for publicizing your events. Check out the websites of your local news channels as they often have events calendars on which you can add your event. Likewise, your local radio stations and newspaper websites frequently have similar programs available. In Central PA, we have a great resource at WITF.org called RSVPA where you can add — in detail — your event specific to the location and purpose. You should absolutely check it out!

This is a fabulous — and effective — way to raise awareness about your events…especially if you don’t have the time or staff resources to devote to press releases or a full-scale public relations campaign. Recently for a client, I utilized these tools and was able to put together a pretty comprehensive publicity campaign. They ended up getting good coverage for the event.
Good luck! And if I can help, please let me know!

~Laura~

***Only 13 more days to take advantage of October’s new client special! Check out the “Services” page for details.***

Website Update

13 Oct

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Well, I’m finally back. I apologize for the lack of communication for a few days. I was “out of commission” Monday and yesterday because I was sick. But, today, I’m back to business as usual.

So over the weekend, I decided that I really like this format for my website and am, therefore, closing my other website. So from now on, please do not use http://www.lrdelaneymarketing.com as it is no longer available. I hope that you are enjoying the blog updates and and the new format. Keep coming back!! I love all the visits!

~Laura~

Customer Expectations

7 Oct

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Today is my Friday so I’m going to make this a quick little reminder. (I’m heading home for my sister’s wedding!!!)

It doesn’t matter who your customer is. Whether you are a business-to-business (B2B) or business-to-consumer (B2C) company, you still have to listen to the expectations of your customer. That is the only way to ensure success on all sides. Your customer gets what they need and you make a sale. Customer surveys are a beautiful took to gauge their satisfaction. Follow up with returning customers or ask for feedback at checkout. Use the feedback to your advantage and create an even more fulfilling experience.

That’s all for this week. I hope you have a wonderful weekend. See you on Monday!
~Laura~

October Special

4 Oct

Monday, October 4, 2010

Welcome to October. In my mind, it’s the official indicator of autumn and one of my favorite times of the year. I forever look forward to going apple and pumpkin picking, especially now that I have a little one with which to share it. To celebrate the new crispness in the air, the beautiful “fall sky” and the organic feel of the season (with all the homemade pumpkin and apple pies, applesauce, and so much more delicious-ness), I want to offer all new clients a 10% discount*! Contact me today to find out how you can move your business or non-profit to the next level of visibility and save while doing it!

-Thank you to all of you who took advantage of the September referral special!-

Enjoy the beautiful weather. Get outside with your family to see what’s in store for you. Our Creator has some amazing surprises!

~Laura~

*Contract must be signed by Sunday, October 31. Scope of project may continue past that date. Offer valid on all contracts. One per client. Valid for Pennsylvania businesses only.
P.S. Congratulations to my sister, Emily, and her fiance, Scott, who will be married this coming Saturday!!

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