Marketing your small business online is tough. Very tough.
You have to stay up to date on all the newest places to get the word out about your business. You have to keep on top of your social media presence. You have to compete with lots of other great businesses who are trying to do the same thing.
And whether your valiant attempts at online marketing will pay off can seem beyond your control.
However, there’s one part of your business that will always be within your control: the way you treat your customers.
Great customer service is the absolute first place you should focus if you are trying to get the word out about your business online. Delighting your customers with a great experience when they contact your company will pay great dividends over time.
Here are just a few ways that great customer service works to your advantage:
- Customers who already like your product will become even more loyal to your company if they receive great customer service. People remember the interactions they have with company representatives, and you want anyone who contacts your company to remember you – in a good way. Happy customers are repeat customers.
- Unhappy customers can be salvaged through good customer service. Is your newest customer upset with the bug that was in the latest release of your software? Is a long-time customer angry about the scratches you made on her floor when you moved her piano? A simple, apologetic phone call from a manager will go a long way towards salvaging the relationship.
- If you delight enough people with great customer service, some of them will inevitably cheerlead for your company online. Our company has received some of its most glowing online reviews from people who have had extended conversations with our cheery customer relations specialists.
At Thumbtack, we used to do a pretty poor job at customer service. There have been times when we didn’t respond to customers for over a week, lost email addresses of some of our most ardent supporters and gave impersonal responses that didn’t answer the customer’s questions.
Then we smartened up, built a team dedicated to customer service and focused on providing quick, personalized responses to any customer inquiries that we received. Today we receive 7,000 email inquiries from customers every week, and we respond to more than 90% of them within 24 hours. We’re growing rapidly – a new person signs up on our site every minute of every day – and we attribute a huge part of our success to happy customers crowing to their friends about the likability and responsiveness of our customer service team.
Are you responding within 24 hours to every customer that contacts your company? Are your customers delighted by the responses they receive from your company, or are they only lukewarm on their experience? Does your company prioritize customer service over other forms of online marketing?
If your answer to any of these questions is “no” – then you need to stop and think about whether the other kinds of online marketing you do are worth your time and expense. Not only will happy customers return again and again and again, but they will also shout about your company from the rooftops. No Twitter accounts, TV ads or SEO expertise are required to get customers to write online about your awesome company.