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Give Customers What They Want (And Quickly!)

Published Wednesday Feb 17, 2016

Modern consumers have grown up in a world of technology and innovation. They intuitively know how to define and expect exceptional customer service. So give it them. Here's how:

Does your company measure up?
As social media continues to change the way people communicate, it has become an increasingly important tool for small businesses. 

Today’s customers like to find their own answers, at their own speed. More than 90 percent will check a website for answers before emailing or calling for help, so your website can make a huge difference in how you are perceived.

Do consumers write about your customer service through social media?
Keep in mind, there are now 7.2 billion people on the planet and of those the following numbers make for interesting reading:

• Almost 2.1 billion people have social media accounts;

• 3.65 billion mobile users have access to the Internet via smartphones and tablets;

• Close to 1.7 billion people have active social media accounts.

Are the comments positive or negative?
Did you know that consumers complain about brands 879 million times a year on Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites? What’s worse is brands aren’t responding. Seven in eight messages to brands go unanswered within 72 hours. Now that’s a shame. A missed opportunity to be proactive and use customer complaints to turn a complaining customer into a loyal customer.

• After a positive customer service experience, 69% of Americans would recommend your company to others;

• 75% of customers believe it takes too long to reach a live agent.

You need to show them that you aren't a machine and answer your phone in a timely manner.

Word-of-mouth can be a powerful form of advertising.
Verbal buzz on social media about your business or product passed from one reliable person to the next is still the most cost-effective way to build a loyal following, expand your business, and reach new customers. How does it start? Give them an amazing customer experience and encourage your customers to think of themselves as partners in your business. Like I’ve said before, the organization chart at your business should show the customer at the top.

The average person trusts word of mouth much more than your organization’s advertising message.
How your customers feel about you and what they are prepared to tell others about you can influence your revenues and profits. According to a Nielsen Report, there’s exciting growth in consumer attitudes toward word-of-mouth recommendations. The study found that fully 92% of consumers around the world now say they trust word-of-mouth or recommendations from friends and family, above all other forms of advertising. It’s worth repeating … people trust the opinions of friends and family more than any ad campaign you can put together.

Marketing brings a customer in; customer service keeps them coming back.
In a thriving business, customers are not optional; it’s a requirement for businesses to survive. Your customer services marketing strategy must focus on delivering processes, experiences, and intangibles to customers rather than physical goods and transactions. It involves integrating a focus on the customer throughout the firm and across all functions starting with social media.

• Repeat customers spend 33% more than new customers;

• Referrals among repeat customers are 107% higher.

Social media is a normal and central form of communications.
The increasing use of social media demonstrates to people the power they have as individuals to make a huge difference. Social media creates opportunities for individual involvement that feel personal. Personal involvement encourages participation; participation creates ownership; ownership creates loyalty. Smart social media in your “Service Strategy” matters.

By John Tschohl, president of the Service Quality Institute in Minnesota.

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