The Most Effective, Reliable Form of Business Referrals

Most Effective Marketing MethodBy Dawn Berryman

Do you ever think of customer service as a marketing effort? If not, you should. Word of mouth is one of the most effective, reliable forms of business referrals. If you don’t have good customer service, customers will be less likely to talk positively about you, in turn hurting business.

A little niceness really can go a long way. I learned that long ago when I waited tables in college. Those lessons still influence both my professional and personal lives. Good customer service should envelop every aspect of your marketing plan. And, it’s not only important that you are considerate but also available and accommodating to your customers.

Here are a few of my favorite tips to help make your business above average when it comes to customer service.

Be Accessible:

Your website should list not only an e-mail address but also a phone number so that you can be reached if need be. If someone can’t contact you with a question, they most likely aren’t going to feel comfortable sending their hard-earned money to you. I’ve had a few clients recently have great success with the instant chat options, or even the click to leave a voice message. Be creative and think outside the box. Most of all, make it convenient for your customer.

Respond:

I know you have your own, busy life with kids and tons of responsibilities. And, I’m not saying that you need to respond to every e-mail within minutes of receipt, but within one business day is a good goal to strive for. And, better late than never. Life happens; so if you are a little behind on answering e-mails, be sure to still do so.

Be Graceful:

Don’t argue, it’s not worth losing a customer, or future customers over. Even if you don’t feel as though you did anything wrong, be understanding and helpful. Do your best to make your point in a kind way. Argumentative attitudes tend to hurt business more than they help it.

Listen:

When a customer contacts you with a complaint or a compliment, listen! What they have to say is important and could give you crucial insight to what your customers want and what they expect. This can only help you! Listen to what they say and take it to heart. Then, use the feedback to make changes for the better or strengthen what you are already doing right!

Go the Extra Mile:

Once you have a customer, it’s important to keep them! It’s the little things, like a thank-you note included with the order, or future discounts for referrals, etc. that will keep them coming back! Again, think outside of the box and be creative. They will remember the unique efforts you make.

Under Promise and Over Deliver:

This is my favorite rule and I learned it from The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur, Mike Michalowicz. It’s really perfect. Over estimate your turn around or shipping time and then wow them with speedier service. This is for sure something they’ll remember and tell others about.

Have a great customer service story to share? We’d love to hear it, tell us about it in the comments.

Dawn Berryman is the founder of MarketMommy.com and Market Mommy:: The Blog, online marketing resources for mom entrepreneurs. Market Mommy shows moms how and where to market their businesses. She holds a B.A. from Indiana University and has worked in the marketing/communications field for more than 8 years. She resides in rural Ohio with her husband and two young children. For more information, please see: Market Mommy.

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