Someone asked me last week why I write so much about customer service. His point was that I’m a marketing guy. Or. At least, this blog is supposed to be about marketing (so he informed me).
My response was, "That’s a good question. Here’s why…" and I proceeded to tell him that marketing is a lot more than advertising or selling or doing surveys. In fact, for most small businesses, there is more marketing leverage in providing great customer service than in any other activity.
He was still not convinced. "Isn’t the purpose of marketing to get NEW customers?" he asked in his annoying way.
I explained to him that a lot of marketing is indeed focused on getting new customers. But that’s not all there is to marketing. That’s like saying all a doctor does is tell you to say "ah" and stick things in your ears.
In fact, my humble opinion is that too much marketing is focused on attracting new customers and not enough deals with retaining customers or generating referrals.
I saw a study recently that said the cost of attracting a new customer is typically 5 to 10 times more than the cost of keeping a current customer coming back.
If you ask most business owners and executives if they’d rather spend $1 per new customer or $5 to $10 per new customer, how do you think they’d respond?
Of course, not every business can meet their growth goals just by retaining customers and getting referrals from them. I’m thinking of newer businesses that have a small customer base.
But, if every new customer they got told 3 other people how great they were, it wouldn’t take long to ramp up to some nice looking growth numbers.
The bottom line is, whether you’re talking about new or existing customers, if you treat them so well they are thrilled about doing business with you, then two things will happen:
1.They’ll continue to do more business with you (if at all possible).
2.They will tell other people to do business with you.
These outcomes are as natural as breathing.
These days most service is so average it doesn’t even register. Even lousy service is usually not memorable because it’s so common.
But, if someone really knocks our socks off, really goes the extra mile for us, then we’ll remember them. And we’re likely to do more business with them and tell others too.
Tom Peters calls it the "Pursuit of Wow!".
I call it the "Pursuit of E!"
I call it that because great service needs to include what I call the "Five E’s". If you do these well, you’ll consistently outservice your competition and you’ll keep more customers coming back.
The Five E’s are:
Exceed — Go beyond what your customers expect.
Enjoy — Have fun with your job, your business and your customers.
Extra — Do something extra, something special.
Easy — Be easy to do business with.
The first four E’s help you create the fifth E:
Experience — Create a memorable and positive experience.
Your customer service goal should be this:
"Give your customer a good reason to come back and to tell others how great you are."
This is the core of what I call "Smart Service" which is a cornerstone of my "Smart Business System". Over the next few weeks I’ll talk more about this "Smart Service System" and we’ll flesh out the five E’s. We’ll look under the hood and see what’s inside.
Until then, look at your customer service. Are you giving your customers a good reason to come back? Are you giving them a good reason to tell others how wonderful you are?