Customer Service Needs to be a Part Of Your Marketing
I recently visited a local beauty service shop. I won’t say much more about the business itself (which is local to Santa Rosa, and not a hair salon or wellness brand) because this post isn’t meant to call them out, persay. I went to them because I had heard about their service through friends, I saw their ads on Facebook, and heard about them on the radio (you know, the typical seven touchpoints before I contacted them). So I was intrigued to try it out.
When I went in for my initial consultation, the customer service was fine. (I feel like there has to be a word that is better than mediocre, but still not great...so “fine” it is.) It was wasn’t memorable, but they did make me feel comfortable, which is important. Especially considering that I had a consultation with a competitor, and they made me feel really uncomfortable – which is a whole other blog post in itself. I made my first appointment, and beforehand I received an email letting me know what to expect. The service was fine, and I left feeling good.
… And then, radio silence.
About a week later, I emailed them asking a question and never heard back. Maybe I could have called, but I would much rather communicate through email than a phone call. And the question wasn't extraordinarily important, so I didn't bother calling them. Not only did they not email me back, but I never even got a follow-up email, phone call, or direct mail piece asking how I was doing or incentivizing me to make my second appointment (the service I had usually takes 2-3 appointments to get results).
This is beyond a missed opportunity – and one that a lot of businesses forget about, unfortunately. Connecting with current customers and encouraging them to be a repeat customer is actually easier than getting that customer in the first place. Communication after they leave your establishment is a way to make your customer feel good about their experience and make them want to come back.
It’s the little things that make your customers remember your brand, like sending them home with the information they need to know after coming to your establishment. Or sending a follow-up email asking how they are.
Or, if we're talking about a winery, a great way to follow up with customers is engaging with them through social media. Whether it be on Instagram where they tag your brand or location, or they leave a review on Facebook, brands now have the opportunity to simply thank people for coming by.
It’s obvious that this beauty business spent a good amount of money on local marketing services. I wish they would put some more effort into keeping the customer feeling good about the experience afterward. We all know it is the age of word-of-mouth; social media amplifies this, especially when someone has a bad experience.
This is definitely not a case in which I had a bad experience – in fact, I’m happy with the results. I just see so much potential for additional engagement, and I have a pet peeve when it comes to companies that can – and don’t – do more.
The hotel industry thrives on customer service
A few years back, I went to Playa del Carmen on my honeymoon. My husband and I stayed in an all-inclusive resort and we were blown away by the attention to detail with their customer service. Of course, they were trying to sell a timeshare at the end of the day, but even after we went through the presentation and said no, they were still gracious. Yes, even after they didn't make the sale, they still had fabulous customer service. That's memorable, and that's what's going to get me to tell other people about how amazing the Paradisus Playa del Carmen is.
Great customer service really isn’t that hard.
Maybe it's because I worked at Starbucks for three years during college, but for me, customer service has to be ingrained in the culture of the business. If it doesn't come from the top down, employees might not even realize that they aren't providing good customer service.
There is a difference between “Oh yeah, you need 3-4 treatments,” and “Our clients see the best results after 3 treatments. We space them out over time and we are here to make you feel confident.”
In addition to making the initial sale and providing excellent customer service while the customer is at your location, customer service is also about the experience afterward. At Starbucks, many times when someone was trying a new drink (and told us), we would engage with them and see if they liked the drink. I would much rather have a customer leave with a drink they enjoy than have them leave with a literal bad taste in their mouth. That same philosophy can be used with other businesses.
Whether it's through surveys, an email asking for more information, or connecting one-on-one, finding out what your customers like definitely helps your marketing in the long-run.
So even if you're a small business who mainly deals with a few customers, or a medium-sized business that deals with hundreds of customers per day, make sure to treat them well because that's how you build loyal fans. If you want more details, I recommend Simon Sinek’s book, START WITH WHY. The book is game-changing when it comes to figuring out your business.