What’s the cheapest, most effective way to get new customers for your small business? Buy advertising? Redo your website? Put your phone number on all your vehicles?
None of those, according to Micah Solomon, the author of “Ignore Your Customers (And They’ll Go Away).” He claims the most efficient way to attract new business is to provide excellent service to the customers you already have. In other words, word-of-mouth marketing.
It makes sense. Obviously, it’s much easier (and cheaper) to keep your current customers coming back than it is to find new ones. But beyond that, truly impressing customers transforms them into brand enthusiasts. As they tell their friends and post reviews about their experience, new prospects will learn about your business in the most positive way possible. You’ll have made a great impression without saying a word.
I’m a big fan of advertising, but even the best ad can’t compete with an enthusiastic endorsement from someone who really enjoyed working with you or who loves your product.
So how does a small businessperson, already one of the busiest people around, generate that enthusiasm and make customers so happy they can’t wait to tell their friends?
The secret is a near-fanatical devotion to customer service—having a strong, consistent customer focus that goes beyond the basic transaction and inspires them to share their experiences with friends and on social media. If you focus only on the transaction and not on the total customer experience, you’re missing a genuine opportunity to build your business.
Here are three things you can do to create an exceptional brand experience for your customers.
1. Love the one you’re with.
Whether the customer is standing in front of you, talking to you on the phone, or texting, focus on that person’s needs at that moment. And occasionally do something unexpected to make them happy. For example, my plumber gave us a free bottle of drain cleaner. A real estate agent I know gives clients a bottle of champagne when she hands them the keys to their new home. A restaurant my wife and I frequent treats us to free dessert every so often. No matter what business you’re in, there’s something you can do to surprise and delight your customers and inspire them to spread the word.
It can be as simple as sending a thank-you note to an individual customer or offering a group a special promotion.
2. Think about the customer experience.
First impressions—and every contact after that—last, so think like a customer. Imagine what it’s like to work with your company, and review your experience, from the first contact to payment and beyond.
Index provides several opportunities to build a better brand experience—enabling users to respond to missed calls immediately, offer callers options to book an appointment, provide a way to ask questions, or simply let callers know when you’ll get back to them.
Index also gives businesses the chance to encourage customers to leave reviews and spread the word about good experiences. It can be as simple as “We’re a small business and rely on referrals from our customers. If you like our service, please let your family and friends know. If there’s something we can improve, just let us know.”
A word of caution: Pay attention to details. Seemingly little things, like typos, incorrect information, or sloppy responses, are a big deal. Proofread messages at least twice before hitting “send.”
Every touchpoint should leave customers feeling good about your business.
3. Put technology to work, for you and your customers.
Meet customers where they are by providing lots of options. Not all customers are able (or willing) to set up appointments online, so make sure they can call or text you if they choose.
Then text to stay connected with your customers by confirming an appointment time, notifying them about an expected delivery date, or clarifying your return policy, for example.
The bottom line is that delighting customers can build your bottom line. Adding texting technology is an easy and effective way to help small companies be more responsive and create stronger customer relationships. Index’s all-in-one solution (link) makes it easy to manage customer communication—from the first touch to follow-up bookings and reviews.
No matter what industry you’re in, or what device you’re using, Index can help you run and grow your business easily with the power of text, because delighting customers with unexpectedly great service will earn you endorsements—and new business referrals—that no amount of advertising can buy.