How do you define marketing?
Do you think of it in terms of what big brands are offering you to buy every time you come across an ad on your phone, TV or on the big screen? If so, is it an effective approach? Do you allow it to be the only factor in shaping the way you feel about a particular brand or product? Or is there something more to effective modern marketing?
“Marketing is the process of interesting potential customers and clients in your products and/or services”, or so states The Balance.
However, in today’s oversaturated market where everything is for sale and at the tip a consumer’s fingers, is there such a way of singling out the best product or service? What is more, how is Jack from Hamilton, Ontario to know where to go in order to get the best possible car repair service? Is he to blindly trust commercials and ads he sees on his devices or all over town? Or should he roll the dice with the first vehicle repair shop he can find when his car breaks down?
Let’s go back to the definition of marketing for a second. In the opinion of The Balance, it can be further expanded:
“Marketing is the process of letting consumers know why they should choose your product or service over those of your competitors. If you’re not doing that, you’re not marketing – it’s really that simple. The key is to find the right method and to define the right message to educate and influence your consumers.
Companies make the mistake of thinking that marketing is just one thing, but it’s actually much broader than that. It’s everything the consumer encounters when he does business with you. This includes advertising, what he hears by word of mouth, and the customer service he receives. It includes the follow-up care that your business provides. All these efforts fall under the umbrella of marketing and creating a decision within the consumer as to whether to choose your company initially or for repeat business.”
It is getting increasingly hard to earn consumer’s trust, is it not?
As people are constantly bombarded with gimmicky marketing campaigns for an unlimited number of products and services, it’s becoming more and more difficult to stand out in the crowd. Marketing a product or service is simply not enough anymore – it’s up to the company behind it to put its own reputation at stake and a seal of quality of sorts.
And that is exactly where customer service comes into play!
Great customer service is the way to show all the people who come into your shop that you care about them and their opinion. Moreover, a favorable opinion will make that customer not only come back, but also bring their friends, colleagues and whoever else is there.
Providing the best possible experience to Jack is as important as it is fixing his car at a reasonable price. Why? Because that may be the only thing that will make you or break you in his eyes.
Let’s put ourselves in Jack’s shoes.
He is stranded on the side of the road because his car has unexpectedly broken down on him. He is slightly panicky and concerned about his vehicle. So he finds your vehicle repair shop online and decides to go to you for help.
If Cindy, the receptionist at your shop welcomes him with a warm smile and a helping hand, he will immediately feel a little bit better, right? Getting right on fixing Jack’s car will certainly be a plus in his book seeing as nobody likes waiting, correct? And if he is visibly satisfied with not only the job done on his car but also the payment service and a “You’re always welcome back” goodbye, he will come back, surely?
That is great customer service and, by extension, great marketing, people!
As some of you here may be asking if this approach is applicable to digital marketing, we are here to say: Yes, absolutely! You just need a different channel of communication with your customers. Just as you don’t need a physical store anymore to sell clothes, you don’t have to talk face-to-face with your customers to point them in the right direction. Instead of a clerk coming down the aisle and help a grandma choose an ugly Christmas sweater, you can just have her talk to the customer support team on live chat. As you read in one of one of our previous posts, it should come as no surprise that immediate answers to customer inquiries lead to purchases, so make customers feel cherished and they will come back and be loyal. Don’t be afraid to communicate with them, as they can give you great feedback about the good, the bad and the ugly about the way you run your business.
Aside from live chat, you can also use company Social Media profiles to actively communicate with your customers, not just to engage them and promote content.
You can solve their real-time problems in a somewhat informal setting, thus telling them you are always there for them. What also helps create a better picture about your company and the way you treat customers is the fact that every comment they may leave about you and their experience with you is out there for the world to see.
Not only that, but every such review that doesn’t garner a reaction from you is reflected badly upon your reputation.
“The best way to counteract any consequences negative reviews might have on your business is to act on them. Show that you care. Respond to a bad review as soon as possible and with good arguments about not only the reasoning behind your company process but also the way you will improve it. That way you will show the person leaving the negative review that you are willing and prepared to do everything you can to truly better your product/service and their customer experience.” – Aleksandar Mitic, Account Manager at TheIuvo
So, think about it. What does it cost you to provide excellent customer service and create loyal customer base?
All you really need are great interpersonal skills of the employees who believe in the company and whatever it is you are selling.
It doesn’t take much to show Jack from Hamilton kindness and pay a bit of attention to his problem while he is explaining it. By showing him he is important to you, you are putting him first. The loyalty that is born from this kind of customer service cannot be bought with ads.
“It’s very logical: There is proven ROI in doing whatever you can to turn your customers into advocates for your brand or business. The way to create advocates is to offer superior customer service.”– Gary Vaynerchuk, “The Thank You Economy”