Why delivering exceptional customer experiences is your greatest marketing strategy
The Customer is always right! An old adage we’ve heard our entire lives.
Great customer service has always been, and remains to be, one of the key elements that has a direct impact on the success of a company or organization. For a while there, it seemed the practice had been somewhat lost and fairly overlooked by business owners, large and small. But with the swell of the digital age and social media and their rapid evolution, today, more than ever, delivering great customer service is not only of essential importance but it is vital for the survival of an organization.
Years ago, anyone in a customer facing position knew the statistic – a customer who has an unhappy experience with your company would tell, on average, 9-11 people of their dissatisfaction. With today’s active, social media savvy consumer, that reach spans far beyond 9-11 people and, depending on the amount of ‘friends’ they have, their tale of discontent can instantly reach 900-1100 people or more, and that can be pretty scary stuff. While positive reviews and posts about a company or a product can rapidly turn it into an overnight sensation, driving consumers to line up for hours on end – remember the Cronut? – negative and dreadful social ‘conversation’ can have just as powerful of an immediate impact, destroying a company’s reputation with just a few simple key strokes.
Consider this, according to the Mintel flagship report American Lifestyles 2015, the majority of consumers (aged 18-54) use online reviews to help them in their buying decision-making process with 69% of consumers seeking out opinions from others before making a purchase. Furthermore, 70% of customer experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated, regardless of the product or services offered.
In order to survive and differentiate themselves from the competition, companies need to adopt the essential practice of delivering great experiences to their customers. They need to consider customer service with the utmost regard and set their standards high. According to an American Express Survey, 7 in 10 consumers said they are willing to spend more with companies that they believe provide excellent customer service and according to Harris Interactive, 9 out of 10 consumers say they would pay more to ensure a superior customer experience. There’s the proof that competing on price and product isn’t the most effective way to build a business. Excellent service, delivered time and time again is what will sustain a company and help it rise above its stiffest competition.
These numbers illustrate the critical importance for companies and brands to deliver consistently exceptional customer experiences. Today’s consumer is a very different being compared to those from before the internet. They are wiser, more informed and resourceful with all the information they could ever possibly need right in the palm of their hands. They are making altogether educated decisions and are quick to share their experiences, in real time.
Engage in conversation, ask for their feedback, and remember that word of mouth is still one of the most valuable and effective marketing strategies out there. People increasingly trust what their friends and family say about a company or a brand and are placing less and less value on their advertising tactics. The level of customer service that a company offers has become their greatest marketing tool. Show your customers that you value and care about them and they’ll value and care about you right back, and they could very likely tell 900-1100 of their closest friends.
Dolly Konzelmann is the President of Cutting Edjj Consulting (CEC) and The Customer Service Professionals Network (CSPN). With over 20 years in the customer service industry, CEC and CSPN are considered among the most comprehensive consulting, coaching and training companies in Canada. Providing services to organizations of all sizes and public workshops to individuals, CEC and CSPN use a results-based partnership approach to develop and deliver customized solutions that meet an organization’s unique business needs and resolve their most significant issues, helping them to create a lasting competitive advantage. CEC and CSPN are recognized by the HRPA and they offer an array of services including training, consulting, assessment, conferences, studies, networking events and accredited designation programs governed by the Canadian Council of Professional Certification