Mistakes happen. Someone mixed up a customer order or made up a bill wrong. You send out an email to the wrong list. There’s a bug in the rice. (This happened to me not so long ago.)
No matter how hard you try, how good your employees are, or how rigorous your quality-control process is, some things slip through the crack.
It’s how you manage after the mistakes where your company’s culture and customer support shows. How you handle the customer after she complains, or after you discover the mistake, determines whether you can manage to retain her.
When I got that tiny bug in my rice, the restaurant manager apologized profusely and when I refused another serving of rice, offered another dish as replacement. We were at a lunch buffet, but for the rest of the meal, we got served at the table. It’s been some months, and I still remember the incident, but I have mostly good feelings about that restaurant. In contrast, I’ve had many experiences at other restaurants where the wait staff made a mistake but were quite blasé about it.
So I found this recent email from the CEO of PowToon both amusing and admirable.
We talked about setting marketing objectives based on the business challenges you are facing, and how marketing can — and should! — help not only with getting the word out about your business, but nurturing your followers and leads till they become customers, and nurturing customers and encouraging them to stay with you.
I thoroughly enjoyed the discussions we had: and if you were there, thank you for being an active participant! And here’s the presentation.
As a business-owner, you have a hundred things clamoring for your attention. But you also need to be on social media, to listen and talk to your customers and to influencers in your industry. Focusing on one or two channels will probably be more useful to you than creating profiles on many that you can’t keep up with.
The biggest factor that determines what social media you should focus on depends, of course, on where your customers are. But here are some other factors that might help you make the decision.
If you’re a B2C business, you probably can’t afford to ignore Facebook. Facebook has a huge user base, and it’s where everyone hangs out — teenagers, office workers, stay-at-home parents, freelancers, grandparents. So you should seriously consider having an active Facebook page if:
We recently met up with Sahil Khan, whose online lifestyle magazine, the Tossed Salad, has a dedicated following. Sahil is also very active on Twitter, and he has been successful in helping restaurants use social media effectively. But hold on — you can listen to the details in his own words in the video below.
And if you’d rather read than watch, the transcript is below. My questions and comments are in bold.
I’ve heard the arguments: it’s too risky, it’s not profitable or measurable… It’s not necessary for your industry. None of these is usually true.
Today, I tell you the real reasons why you shouldn’t be on social media.
You don’t want to listen
Contrary to what most people think, social media is primarily about listening. It enables you to listen to what your customers or even competitors are saying about you. It lets you view conversations about your industry or your competitors. It tells you what people are thinking.
If you’re not interested in any of that, sure, stay off social media. (And don’t talk to your customers, either.)
How do you get over 2,000 people talking about you on Facebook when you have less than 5,000 likes? Any brand with that kind of buzz is doing an amazing job of engaging with its fans… or is it?
We took a look at the Facebook Page of P N Gadgil & Sons. Right now, it has 4,955 likes, which is great for a local jewelry brand. What’s astounding, though, is the number of people talking about it: 2,160. That’s 44 percent.
For those of you not in Pune, India, P N Gadgil is a jewelry brand with several stores in the city. (There’s also a P.N. Gadgil who style themselves PNG Jewelers and also have an active Facebook page.)
Call it marketing or customer service or just call it business strategy — you hardly need to debate the importance of demonstrating to your customers that you value them. We all want to retain customers and usually go above and beyond to please them — by giving something extra, by offering lower rates, or by providing premium service.
Larger businesses have loyalty programs to handle this, but small-business owners usually like to use their own discretion and not allow employees an easy way to make these decisions. But good employees want to keep regular customers happy. They may go ahead and offer these “extras” anyway — by giving the room overlooking the pool, making small repairs in addition to the contracted job, or by over-pouring.
These “extras” are part of your cost of retention, but do you know how much that cost is? Are these extras proportional to the business you are getting from those customers? Are these extras in addition to the priority rates/service you are offering those customers? All these are important questions, but the most important question is — Does your customer even realize you are giving her something extra? Continue reading →