What Have You Done For Me Lately?
Some of you reading this post will chuckle at the title and bust a few Janet Jackson-like dance moves while sitting at your desk. (By the way, you’re welcome for the earworm.) All of you reading this post should ponder what these words have to do with customer service. Customers breathe life into your product and your company. As such, you need a customer service program that handles compliments, complaints and comments better than anyone else out there. You might have the greatest product ever to grace the marketplace, but the bottom line is customers will always want to know: What have you done for me lately? Be prepared with these customer service moves.
It’s a Matter of Trust. If your customers don’t trust your company or your product, they won’t buy from you. Like any business relationship, building a loyal customer base takes time, and it requires constant care. Essentially, you need to be responsive, visible, and trustworthy. We’ll talk about the first two in detail later in the post. In our business, being trustworthy means keeping your word. Avoid making promises that you can’t fulfill. It also means that your product keeps its promises, too. No exceptions.
What Have You Done For Me Lately? Focus on the customer, not the product. Educate your customers about how your product will benefit them. Show them how it will make their lives easier/healthier/happier. Again, your customers want to know, “What have you (or your product) done for me lately?” Set yourself apart by anticipating your customers’ needs. This can be done simply by paying close attention to what they are saying about your product online. Additionally, think about ways you can make your customers’ experiences unique, meaningful and memorable.
Be responsive. One of the easiest ways to build trust, maintain customers, and gain new business is to respond quickly, appropriately, and professionally to every question, comment, or piece of feedback. Emphasis on the every. People want their thoughts and opinions to be acknowledged. That’s why retailer websites and social media outlets contain thousands of product and service reviews. When a customer takes time to offer feedback, acknowledge it. It takes all of two minutes to respond with a “Thanks for taking time to submit your thoughts. We love to hear what our customers have to say.” You didn’t make a commitment to change the world, but you acknowledged a person’s opinion and advanced a rung on the “respect and trust” ladder. Should you run up against a customer complaint, have a plan in place for fixing reasonable problems in such a way that the disgruntled customer will still recommend you to their friends. Keep a close eyes on your social media marketing efforts. These efficient and inexpensive marketing tools have redefined the phrase, “word of mouth.” You’ve heard the adage “Good news travels fast; bad news travel faster.” Online, that translates into “Good news travels fast; bad news travels at warp speed.” You have to react quickly.
Be visible. Put yourself out there! Being visible builds trust. I guarantee that you’ve been Googled more times than you can count. Consumers fancy themselves pseudo-detectives. Everybody Googles everyone and everything. If your customers can’t find you, you’ve got a visibility problem, and that’s not good. It’s no longer enough to have a website. You have to actively participate in social media. And if you haven’t done so already, start a product blog (or blogs if you have more than one product). Yes, blogging is ubiquitous, and that’s exactly why you need to start writing one. (This is the one time you need to jump off that bridge because everyone else is, regardless of what your mom said.) But even that’s not enough. Increase your visibility by reading and contributing to blogs in your industry. If you don’t have time to plod through the blogosphere to find suitable blogs, consider using aggregators, which are sites and apps built to help users find sites to match their interests. One aggregator to try is Delightful Blogs. Don’t have time to write and update a blog? Not confident in your writing skills? Hire someone does to it for you. The world is full of qualified college students and freelance writers looking to gain experience and a paycheck.
Do your own dirty work. Don’t expect your affiliates to handle your customer service. Ultimately, it’s your product. This is one situation in which the adage If you want it done right, do it yourself truly applies.
So… what have you done for your customers lately?