Customer Service is an Extension of Your Marketing Efforts

Not even the best marketing or the best “deal” can make up for poor customer service during the sales process. Here’s an example. Last fall, I needed to purchase new tires for my car so I made an appointment online at a local discount tire retailer. I was enticed by the “sale.” After receiving a call that the tires I requested were not in stock, I was assured by the sales rep that I would be contacted once they were ordered and ready to be installed. Fast forward to six months later and still no call. Not only did this discount tire company lose out on a sale, they lost me as a customer for life.

How does that relate to your industry? Well, if you are like most companies, you have spent a great deal of time, energy and money to attract people to your place of business…a new-home sales center, a hotel, a senior living facility.

As a builder, you may advertise a limited-time promotion to encourage people to purchase a new home now. But if your sales counselors are not knowledgeable about your homes and how they stack up against the competition, you may not get that sale.

Resorts often advertise low rates or special packages to fill rooms during slower periods. But if guests are not treated well when they arrive or their overnight experience doesn’t live up to their expectations, they might not book a room again.

Often, it’s the children who are researching senior care facilities for their elderly parents. So your on-site staff needs to understand the emotional toll this decision has on the entire family. A little extra care and attention will make everyone feel more comfortable and secure in their purchase.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a builder working face-to-face with customers to purchase a new home, a resort taking reservations online or in person, or a senior housing facility discussing a the needs of an elderly parent with his or her children—your sales staff must be an extension of your brand. It sounds so simple, but you’d be amazed at how often this is not the case. To ensure your staff is up-to-par, secret shop them and then work on the areas that need improvement.

With the explosion of Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites, a bad experience can spread to hundreds or even thousands of people almost instantly. That’s a marketing nightmare! And a nightmare that can easily be avoided.

Back to my tires. My sister referred me to a new shop in town so I thought I’d try them out. Not only did they have the tires I wanted in stock, the staff was extremely friendly, responsive, and informative. In fact, when I had a break down the next day—not related to the work they had done on my car—the store manager was so concerned that he went out of his way to arrange my towing and repaired a burst hose for FREE. They have now gained a customer for life!

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Debbie Szwast
With 20 years of advertising and PR experience, Debbie Szwast understands the multifaceted nature of marketing. A true believer in the art of communication, she acquired an MBA in marketing and a Master’s degree in writing. Today, she calls on the knowledge she has gained over the past two decades to formulate big-picture strategies and execute comprehensive marketing plans for clients across the country.