I was invited as a member of a professional marketing organization, to a seminar facilitated by Scott Friedman. The seminar titled was “Connecting with Customers and Employees” and it was held at Legend Hotel, Kuala Lumpur. Heck it was fun but i learned one thing; “fun can be shared to more people and more often and funnier, if only you want to and allowed to”. As for Scott seminar, it was fine (could be better) but i was there to learn and i came with empty cup so i gathered quite a bit (almost half empty after that). 🙂
Perhaps i can add on what i have learned from the program and more on my personal experiences as a restaurateur, waiter, service man, consultant and also a human being. Since i’ll be launching a Marketing e-Book real soon, i thought maybe i would like to touch a little bit on customer service as a marketing tool for small business owners and entrepreneurs.
I always approach my thinking as a customer except when i do consulting because in my consulting practice (where i deal with strategic issues and high level), there are aplenty of customers. If we only focus on the customer (as in client), they are most likely not the user of the product/service and we focus only to the user of the product/service, we might overlook the policies and business governance of the client. Therefore a good mix, suppored by data and abreast with both or multiple customers are very crucial. That aside, what do exactly small business owners and entrepreneurs can do for their customer service? Here are some pointers.
As Scott Friedman pointed out, that speed is the currency of today’s business. If you can deliver faster, better, sooner and so on, you are likely to be the favorite of your customer. Nevertheless, to make sure you are speedier or at least speedy enough, the use of technology is a must. For example, during my seminar with Scott, my client called and wanted some data for her top management presentation, should i say “i can’t attend to you customer because i am busy attending a customer service seminar??” Funny? That exactly what went to my mind just now. Customer 1st i said, so i rushed out and attended to her data she wanted and emailed to her. I saved my day!
The big mistake that many marketing people and customer service do is to lie to their customer on their state as if “this problem is beyond my control and i cant do anything about it and i have done enough to mitigate it”. In the seminar a guy said that he was expecting his newly-bought furniture to arrive 24 hours earlier but all he gotten was “natural disaster seemed to attack his transporter to deliver the furniture on time”. You follow? He called them up a few times, but the transporter said “traffic jam, lorry breakdown, tire punctured, furniture was heavy and so on”. What they could have done is tell him the truth, that “we’ll be late and we can only reach you 24hours from now”.
This is difficult to do, really. Most of the time i find myself feel awkward because whenever we meet new people, sometimes for business reason and we meet them at a seminar like what i attended. I tend to give away my card without or less talk about my business or trying to convince them what i do. i prefer to ask them about what they do because i am interested in their background and how they do their work. I once being stalked by a salesman and he said he wanted to show he is very interested to do business with me!! That’s ridiculous and i almost call the police station for that.
4. Be Innovative
I agreed with innovation and it has to be something that the customer wants. As small business, we have limitations of resources such as money. We dont have much to spend (or rather invest!) in lavish dinner or golf set or expensive tour for our clients. Therefore we need to use creativity. With constraints, creativity will flourish. I remember one of my close friends said, ‘When you dont have enough money, use creativity”. He is from zubedy. And because of that zubedy over the years has come up with numerous creative stuffs.
5. Talk to your customers
When i ran my restaurant i like to talk to my customers, what i realized was there are things that i like but they don’t like. and vice versa. I found this disturbing because as the owner, i want to craft it the way i want it right? Wrong! So i changed a lot of things to meet my customer needs, but alas my restaurant was shortlived because i dont have enough money to sustain it. I remember one day i was at a small cafe and i happened to be their 1st customer. I was very early and had a fried rice. Then a guy approached me and asked whether the curry taste good, i said yes and it’s yummy!! he thanked because he said he usually ask that to all 1st customer of the day. 🙂
6. Give Give Give
i dont see any reason why we shouldnt give to customers that buy from us. i mean give give give service. i despise businesses that are too cost-centric to the extent they are overly calculative to their customers. For example, i like businesses that give trial and stop the service for easily after the trial period with no string attached. I love restaurant that give a side portion to my daughter like potato wedges or chips because the kid’s portion is rather too big or maybe a half scoop of ice cream. i admire transport company that send in furniture earlier than expected.
from my experience, customer service must come from the heart and it needs a lot of examples so it can be followed. I still remember a business owner that sells 2nd hand car. He approached and tried so hard to convince me to buy his car, but later he realized that the model i wanted is not in his list. What did he do? Instead of saying “bye-bye” he asked my phone number because he is confident he could find a friend or someone who might have the car that i wanted and he does it freely; he offered the service. isn’t that a real wow?? he just called me and i said “big thank you bro!!!”
he just make my day! God bless him!
Watch out for my Marketing Plan e-Book release soon! The Marketing Plan Breakthrough S6PEC is READY! Buy HERE! ONLY USD 19.90 WITH LAUNCHING DISCOUNT! For any further inquiry on the e-book or you have any question about business (strategy and marketing), please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org