A weekly marketing column by Graham McGregor

Graham McGregor: An overlooked way to promote any business

Photo / Thinkstock
Photo / Thinkstock

I received a superb infographic recently by customer service expert Peter Shankman.

I really liked this infographic because it shows exactly how much money businesses lose each day thanks to horrible customer service.

It also shows what they stand to gain if they simply improve it by a few notches.

You can download a copy of this excellent infographic here.

I contacted Peter and asked if he would mind sharing some helpful tips on how to turn normal customers and clients into delighted raving fans for any business.

Peter kindly obliged and here are four of the comments he shared with me.

Over to Peter...

Hands down, the most overlooked part of running any small business is customer service.

Small businesses spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on marketing, trying to convince people they're the best, yet if they simply improve their customer service by a fraction, the customers will do it for them!

Here are four simple ways to improve your small business customer service, starting today:

1. Empower Your Employees to make decisions

At some point, you need to start trusting your employees to make the right decisions. There's nothing worse for a customer than to hear "Oh, well I'll have to ask my manager, I'm not allowed to do that." It happens all the time, and it's frustrating. Let your employees have the power to make a customer leave your business happy, and that customer will not only come back, but bring friends.

2. Say hello without selling

One of the biggest problems with email marketing is that small businesses believe that without a call to action (i.e., BUY THIS,) there's no point in sending the email.

Totally incorrect. Send out an email once in a while just saying hi, with an interesting story or titbit that appeals directly to your audience. Do this, and your audience will react a lot more positively when you DO email them to buy something.

3. Own your mistakes

You're going to screw up. It's a matter of when, not if.

When you do, own it. "Here's what we did wrong, here's how we're going to make it right by you, and here's how we're going to make sure we never do it again."

4. Make it easy to share how good you are

Social media guarantees that good or bad, people will be talking about you, and sharing what you're doing. But nothing good comes out of simply "asking" them to share how great you are. Remember No one believes you're awesome if you're the one who has to tell them.

Instead, SHOW them. Everyone has a camera phone, right? They don't even make phones without cameras in them anymore.

So do something worthy of somebody taking a photo of it. A coffee chain I know allows every employee to give a "whatever" discount, the more fun the better, up to 50 cents on orders of four dollars, and up to a dollar on orders over ten dollars. So the employees have a blast with this! "Nice smile" discount. "Cute dog" discount.

And guess what They don't abuse it, and sales are up!

There are actual Pinterest boards devoted to these amazing receipt discounts, where customers photograph each receipt and try to out-do each other.

Amazing. What can you do, and what can you allow your employees to do, that will do the same thing?

A helpful bonus:

If you don't remember anything else, remember this:

• Focus on the customers you have to get the customers you want.

• Don't worry about "likes," "followers," and "fans."

• Focus on treating the customers you have the best way you know how, and they'll bring you the customers you want.

• "Revolve your world around the customer and more customers will revolve around you." - Heather Williams

Action Exercise: What can you do in the next 30 days to create raving fans for your business?

Graham McGregor is a marketing consultant and the creator of the 396 page 'Unfair Business Advantage Report.' www.theunfairbusinessadvantage.com (This is free and has now been read by business owners from 27 countries.) You can email him at the link above.

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A weekly marketing column by Graham McGregor

Graham has had 36 years 'hands on' experience in sales and marketing. He has sold a range of services including advertising, sales training, personal development, life insurance, IT services, investment property and business consulting services.

Read more by Graham McGregor

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