Engaging Your Customers in a Digital World

“Take Action!” I don’t care what type of business you’re in, what you’re selling, or where you are in your strategic plan, the goal of your marketing message is to motivate your prospects into taking the next step. Today, companies are going to greater lengths to capture their customers’ attention and win their loyalty—They are joining social network sites, they’re blogging, they’re building fan pages, they’re finding new places where their brands can be seen—but are they talking with their customers, are they getting to know their customers, are they talking to their staff to get customer insights, are they asking their customers for feedback as to how they might improve their services. One of the most powerful components to engage customers is sometimes the most undervalued: customer service.

Looking for a ways to engage customers with Tours D’ Force, a Lenawee County virtual tour company began a search for other companies that had already established customer service standards to see what their experiences were.

First they searched Google for “small business with customer service standards” and the results were surprising. The first three page results were as follows: there were no small business companies listed in the search results. The majority were informational websites which occupied 99% of the results. The balance a government site (The Dept. of Energy).

So they then searched Google for “virtual tour customer standards” and found only 2 individual virtual tour providers (Real Vision Studio & Nova Scotia Virtual Tours – Hats off …, to you!) had made mention of customer service standards.

Coming from a quality background Hal Holubik, Owner/Operator of Toursdforce expected the search results to be dominated by or at least making reference to virtual tour company customer service standards. But he was completely WRONG.

He really thought that there would be many virtual tour companies out there that had established customer service standards and that they would publish them. WRONG again. Why don’t more virtual tour companies create and publish standards of service for the whole world to see. Wouldn’t you think that if they did that they would have more loyal customers?

Here are some reasons why they should.

Your customer service standards will help your entire operation perform better and keep your practices repeatable. Your customer service standard should define your brand and give customers a reason for doing business with you.

Your customer service standards will tell your customers that you have a system in place and what it is that you’ll do for them, how you will treat them and what they should expect from you. Theres a way to tell the world why your virtual tour company is better than any other company out there. They show your customers how you will do something for them that no other company will.

Standards provide a practical framework for small business owners and employees to examine, review, and continuously improve any area of a business. Investing time in creating customer service standards leads to increased operational efficiency, improved customer services, increased sales, higher returns, and greater profitability.

I hope that you can see that well-crafted followed and publicized customer service standards can be a valuable engagement opportunity for your company. The truth is that service matters to people, especially in an economy where consumers are thinking as much as ever about which companies deserve their hard earned cash.

As a matter of fact, a recent study from RightNow.com that measured how much more people are willing to spend to get better customer service revealed that 85% of people are willing to spend more money to get better service, with 76 percent willing to pay about 5 percent more to be assured that the customer service they receive is good. More than half (55 percent) would pay a 10 percent premium on the product price to be assured of a higher level of service. But a small number (10 percent) would be willing to ante up 25 percent more for better service.

According to the RightNow survey; word of mouth is the one form of advertising that can’t be bought. Maybe it can’t be bought with hard currency, but it can, apparently, be bought with good service. Their research found that consumers are far more forgiving if a company has earned their trust over time. In fact, almost nine-in-ten consumers are willing to give a company a second chance after a bad experience if they’ve historically experienced great customer service with that company.

That goes right back to why it’s so critical that companies listen to what customers are saying and are responsive to their needs. The insights a company gains by listening closely to its customers will help it deliver better service and create an environment where customers are inclined to stay loyal even when things aren’t perfect.And when it comes to showing customers why they should “choose you”—customer service is the best strategy of all.

Don’t you think it’s time to take a look at your customer service policies and procedures?

Ref: Related documentation:

Tours D’ Force Quality Policies and Procedures

•    Quality Policy PQ 5.2: Customer Focus
http://www.scribd.com/doc/44410280
•    Operational Procedures PP 7.2.3: Customer Feedback and Complaints
http://www.scribd.com/doc/44410608
•    Operational Procedures PP 8.2.1: Customer Satisfaction
http://www.scribd.com/doc/44410929

Hal Holubik
Tours D’ Force
Owner/Organizer
Lenawee County Virtual Tours

Order a Virtual Tour: 517-486-4209