Customer Relationship

Is Your Marketing Self-Perpetuating?

Is Your Marketing Self-Perpetuating?

As I've thought more about guerilla advertising and how it differs from quality customer engagement that turns customers into promoters, it occurs to me that the key difference is self-perpetuation, or the lack thereof.

The goal of both efforts is to get people talking to their friends or colleagues about your business--to create buzz. But guerilla advertising is based on a staged event or gimmick that may not even be related to the business. Yes, it creates buzz, but that buzz will wear off and then all you are left with is the headache of trying to come up with the next gimmick.

Turning your customers into promoters through quality customer engagement is different. It may not get as big of an initial buzz, but it grows naturally and is self-perpetuating. People end up talking not about your gimmick, but about how remarkable your product or service is. They plant seeds in the minds of their friends that produce additional seeds as those friends give your business a try and spread the seeds to their friends and so on and so on and so on.

Self-perpetuating word of mouth--start planting the seeds.

If you are not regularly staying in touch with your customers someone else will. How do you stay in touch? Learn more

Ode to The Pizza Man

Ode to The Pizza Man

She ordered that night (stomachs were growling)
A few pizzas to keep the kids from howling.

We waited and waited and waited some more,
Must the pepperoni age before it got to the door?

The minutes they ticked by--fifteen then thirty, forty-five, fifty--
Anger joined hunger as the clock ticked past sixty.

At ninety minutes, no less, the doorbell chime rang
Finally some food for our bedraggled gang!

Someone will hear about this she insisted
A phone call was made and the manager listened.

A few days later, by mail was delivered to me,
A note with certificates for two pizzas free!

The long wait of last week, its memory has faded
With thoughts that they listened, we're no longer jaded.

It's pizza tonight from Papa John's once more
the manager there knew how to settle the score.

Mistakes, they happen, but this truth remains:
To the business that listens come the most gains.

[Don't worry, I'm not quitting my day job! Nice to see a business do good and make a save. Aware of other saves you've made or seen made? Tell us about them--and no, you don't need to rhyme.]

The growth of your business will be determined by what your customers say about it. Do you know what they are saying? Learn more

Building trust - insights from my mechanic

Building trust - insights from my mechanic

I have a little '97 Dodge Neon that has been "enjoying" the heat about as much as the rest of the country and began overheating. I took it to Hefners and dropped it off with no fear. I had no worries they were going to be looking for ways to overcharge me or do something unnecessary to fund their vacation.

This kind of trust only comes through experience. On one occasion they explained I had a slow leak in my AC compressor system that would cost about $1000 to fix. However, they suggested topping off the coolant and watching to see how long it lasted to determine if a fix were worth it. Turns out it lasted for about 6 months. So I decided to pay $30 every 6 months rather than $1000. It would take 16 years to make the repair worth it! (probably be using hovercraft or something by then anyway).

I have gone in before and they just tweaked something and charged me nothing! I left the car at a repair place and came back and was charged nothing. Ask anyone that is lucky enough to know Hefners and they will tell you the same kind of stories.

Hefners is not a pretty place, they don't talk to you much, it is not in the nicest neighborhood. But they are honest, look to save you money, and keep you informed and I have been going there for nearly 20 years. They treat you like you are a family member with a car problem.

Are your customers feeling that way about you? What can you do to give them experiences that build trust. This is something that doesn't come from catchy copy or flashy fliers or wizzy webpages or slick salesmen, it comes from experience. With it you will succeed, without it you won't.

[OK, for those of you nearby that want to get some of that Hefner goodness here is their contact info: Hefner's Auto Repair (480)969-8291 they are on 502 N. Center Street, Mesa, Arizona 85201]

The growth of your business will be determined by what your customers say about it. Do you know what they are saying? Learn more

The Power of the Talking Bubble

The Power of the Talking Bubble

Remember the talking bubble from the cartoons? It occurs to me that there is a lot of power in that bubble. In fact, the whole intent of word-of-mouth efforts is to get your business in your customer's bubble.

How much money do we as business owners spend getting our ads up in lights, in a magazine, on TV, or online? Fact is, consumers are more jaded than ever and better at ignoring all that expensive advertising.

The real power is not up on the billboards or on the airwaves. The real power is in the bubble.

You work hard to make sure your customers are happy. Don't waste happy customers. How easy is it for your customers to share with their friends? Learn more

What You Don't Know Will Hurt You.

What You Don't Know Will Hurt You.

I was in a hobby store yesterday buying model rocket engines (think venture scouts making jet propelled barbie cars). Anyway, I noticed a new restaurant had opened up in the same strip mall. While the attendant at the hobby store was ringing up my 24 rocket engines I asked him if he had tried out the new restaurant. His response:

"It's [bleep!]"

Not sure that I heard correctly and a little taken back at the language I said, "Excuse me?" He went on to explain that he hadn't eaten there but a fellow worker had and she had been sick the rest of the day. He also said his manager had ordered a taco and it cost him six bucks and was no bigger than what you can get at Taco Bell. As he handed me my receipt he concluded emphatically once again, "It's [bleep!]" I thanked him and made my way to door once again marvelling at the power of word of mouth.

Think about what happened there. Put yourself in the position of the owner of the new restaurant that just invested multiple thousands of dollars and has been open now for just a few weeks. I doubt he or she has any idea that virtually right next door someone who has never even been in the restaurant is giving out negative recommendations (with neighbors like that who needs enemies...).

It gets worse, studies have shown that irritated customers are five times more likely to vent to a friend than a store rep and on average they will tell four friends. It doesn't say anything about how many people those four will tell, but here I am telling all of you. The study did report that those told about a friend's bad shopping experience are up to five times as likely to avoid the store in question as the original unhappy customer! (read about it here)

What's the solution? First, strive to make every customer experience remarkable. Right behind that has to be a system that consistently invites each customer to tell you how they felt about the experience.

With modern technology, there is no excuse for not inviting your customers to give you feedback. I recently rented a car from Enterprise. A week later I got a call asking how the experience was for me. Phone calls can be expensive, so use the internet. Set up an online survey and hand your customers a card directing them to the url to tell you what they think. Of course there is always the written feedback card. Just make sure you review the feedback regularly and respond to it. The only thing worse than not asking for feedback is asking for it and not responding.

Certainly not all of your customers will respond, but enough will to give you an accurate idea of how things are going and give you the opportunity to "save" a few that were about to tell their four friends who will now be five times as likely to avoid your business!

Get customer feedback, generate referrals, and increase repeat sales for as little as $150 a month. Learn more
Syndicate content

Seeds from the blogworld
We search the business blog world looking for posts that illustrate principles, or "Seeds", that if followed, or "planted", will help small businesses grow. We list them here for your convenience. Enjoy.

Blogroll