An American Express survey in 2011 found that 75% of customers feel they get better service from small businesses. Is there a lesson here for marketers? (Other than the obvious, “don’t act like your average airline or mobile phone company.”)
Yes, there is, and as this MarketingProfs article points out, you can do worse than to think like a retail business owner in a small town.
Start by treating everyone well. Think about the customer and his or her experience. With the rise of Yelp and other online reviewing venues, we’re all small-town entrepreneurs in a way. And just like you wouldn’t want to get on the wrong side of your village’s loud mouth, you don’t want to give anyone the incentive to take to Twitter with their complaints. You don’t know who has 10 followers and who has 10,000.
And no flame wars when you feel you’ve been wronged. No hiding your head in the sand, either. Respond to complaints promptly and unemotionally. Stick to the facts and make it clear that your goal is to make things right.
Respond to positive comments, as well. If someone has taken the time to crow about their great experience, either directly to you or via social media, let them know you appreciate their kind thoughts.
Also remember that you have to play for the long term. Take the time to create and nurture relationships and to get involved in the online communities where your audience congregates. It may be tempting to go for the sale right now, but you’ll be better off sticking to a lower-key approach. The content marketing you do today isn’t necessarily going to get customers in the door tomorrow. But done right, it can get customers in the door for years to come if you think about more than the sale.