Tag Archives: Word-of-Mouth

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.┬áIn 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~

E-Mail Marketing: How To Build a Lead-Generating Mailing List

21 Sep

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Have you ever tried an e-mail marketing campaign and found it didn’t work as well as you had hoped? That’s pretty typical actually. The first step is to obtain e-mail addresses for people who actually want to hear from you. Here are a few ways to improve your results (i.e. get more “reads” and actions).

1. If you are a retail location, make sure you are obtaining e-mail addresses at the point of sale. Ask customers directly and enter it into your system or have them sign up for your newsletter.

2. Loyalty programs are a great way to encourage people to give you their information. The key here is offering them incentives!

3. Offer some of your products…or a sneak peek…for free. Offer a free seminar or class, samples, etc. People LOVE free!!

4. Contests will most assuredly get you e-mail addresses. Tell them the winner will be announced via e-mail to make it more enticing.

5. Utilize social media programs to encourage followers to sign up for your feed or newsletter or e-mail alerts.

6. As I’ve said before, word-of-mouth is a powerful tool. Friends of followers are great sources as well. Encourage your followers to pass along your information to their friends.

7. Get involved in your community. The more your name is out in the community, people will recognize your brand and you will ultimately gain loyalty.

Now it’s time to tailor your message to your audience. Check out the “Get Inside Their Head” post for tips. Good luck!

~Laura~

*Hint: There are only 9 more days left in September. Take advantage of the referral incentive NOW!*

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