If you make a stellar product but don’t provide stellar customer service, guess what you won’t have? Very many customers.
If you’re looking for a competitive advantage in business, customer service is the answer. Why? It’s like investing in both customer loyalty and your promotional budget at the same time. Customer service is the new marketing.
What Wow Service Does for Your Business
Not long ago I was having trouble getting Cyfe and MailChimp to work together. Cyfe is a business dashboard that collects and reports on your key performance indices. It integrates with many popular services like MailChimp and Infusionsoft.
I contacted Cyfe customer support, and before long we had MailChimp support on the line as well.
Instead of leaving me to figure out how to fix the integration, both support reps, even though they work for different companies, worked together to troubleshoot and solve my problem. They were very responsive and didn’t give up until they solved it.
As soon as they were done, I tweeted this.
— Michael Hyatt (@MichaelHyatt) December 2, 2014
These guys focused on serving me and wowing me. At that point, I took responsibility for marketing them to my audience.
2 Sides of the Great Amplifier
I’ve done that before on my blog with Zappos, Apple, and others. And I’ve done it on social media more times than I can possibly count. When I have a good experience, I talk about it. And I’m not alone. We’ve all done it, haven’t we?
But here’s the thing: It works in reverse too. In the tweet for Cyfe and MailChimp, someone responded by saying, “Budget [the rental company] certainly falls short in this category.”
Social media amplifies praise and complaints. I’ve complained here before about terrible service I’ve received. And when I see others raise a flag about a company’s service or product, I take note.
Lots do. And that’s why good customer service is good marketing.
3 Undeniable Principles
We can break this down into three undeniable principles entrepreneurs and business owners cannot afford to miss.
- Experience trumps price. There are really only two factors in a purchase: (1) Do I have enough money? (2) Will this product improve my situation? With the first, the only competitive advantages are in cutting prices or raising them to boost perceived value. But the second is wide open for the kind of wow service that sets you apart.
Customers love to talk. We love to talk about our experiences, and that goes for our customer experiences. We want to share what excites us—and we also want to share what infuriates us. The thing companies need to remember is news spreads whether a customer is praising or venting.
Social media turns up the volume. In the old days a customer complaint couldn’t travel very far. But social media has permanently changed that. Companies need to think twice about turning a disgruntled customer’s 200 Facebook friends into a bad PR agency. Instead, they should make it their mission to turn those people into free promoters of their products and services.
It’s hard to go wrong by serving customers with excellence. And increasingly it might be the difference between success and failure.
To win in this environment, entrepreneurs and others business owners need to think past the quality of their products and services and strive for excellence in the total customer experience.