Customers have all the power these days. Your competitors are a quick Internet search away, and websites provide public forums to file complaints, valid or not. Consider customer service as a marketing tool. Shed light on positive reviews, and use positive feedback to create a strategic approach to a great customer experience.

customer-service

In a compilation of customer service statistics for 2014, Fonolo reports, “the customer experience will reign as the primary investment target in 2014 as 68 percent of businesses plan to increase their customer management spend.” The site also notes, “82 percent of consumers say the number one factor that leads to a great customer service experience is having their issues resolved quickly.”

Here are some tips on how to provide excellent customer service:

Consider Reputation Over Individual Sales

Customer service is more important than ever these days, and the tactics of taking care of customers is perhaps a more valuable marketing tool than traditional measures like advertising or special offers. People simply want their experience with companies to be fulfilling.

An article from Forbes advises businesses to avoid being shortsighted in dealing with existing customers. Every customer is a gatekeeper to recurring revenue for your company in one way or another. Valuing small-term profits over your company’s long-term reputation and “trying to optimize profit on a sale-by-sale basis is a fool’s game,” Forbes says. That type of strategy “leads to frustrated customers and lost repeat business.”

Conversely, identify your most loyal customers and send them a gift basket with some type of thoughtful thank-you, which will differentiate your business from your competitors.

Use Video to Highlight Testimonials

If negative reviews and unflattering testimonials can ruin businesses, then positive reviews can set your business apart. Your best customers are great assets because they reflect how your company treated them.

Consumers have become disenchanted with advertising and marketing, which is why referrals are so popular right now. A survey by the American Marketing Association states that 90 percent of consumers trust peer reviews and 70 percent trust online reviews.

Furthermore, Jennifer Alsever of Inc. says that the power of social-review trends, like the popularity of sites like Yelp and Trip Advisor, is “amplified with video testimonials, where would-be customers can actually see and hear the inside scoop from like-minded individuals.” And there’s no marketing substitute for getting real people to share the truth about what makes your company worth their time and money.

Listen to Your Customers

If you are going to go through all the trouble of asking customers what they think, then be sure you are willing to listen and take action. Be available to listen to your customers, and understand their concerns, problems and even their compliments. Most consumers are tired of getting automated surveys, help lines and reps that can’t do anything for them. As the head of your business, take some calls, answer some emails and address your customers. Then, be sure to take action based upon their comments. Reward employees for great customer service, and fix any problem areas. It’s the little things that count in a referral society.