Business Growth Tips Before You Hire A Marketing Company
By Dean McNamara
Before you hire a marketing company to promote your business there are some in-house essentials that you need to take care of. Customer satisfaction is the greatest advert any company or product can have.
A good marketing company can get more customers, or potential customers, through your business doors. They cannot make these people buy from you (although they can present them in a favorable state of mind) and they cannot make the customers who purchase not seek a refund.
How your business interacts with your customers is what will set you apart from your competition. Having the systems in place to make sure that a customer receives a positive experience when trading with you is essential.
An example of how a couple of dollars can be the difference between a happy customer or not happened to me while on vacation. My wife and I went to a local natural hot pool spa. For some reason I genuinely believed that I was entitled to a couple of dollars off the admission ticket with a membership card I had. The lady behind the desk genuinely believed I was not entitled to a discount.
This was one of those situations that can only end well, or only end bad. For the sake of a couple of dollars each, the customer service lady could have accepted our slightly discounted entry and suggested that we were not entitled to a discount but because we were mistaken they would allow a one time gesture of good faith. I would have gone away and told everyone about my positive experience.
Because we do not live in my ideal world that was not how this situation played out. The lady behind the desk informed me that I was not entitled to a discount. I then asked her if there was anything else I might have that would entitle me to a discount then. She replied that there was nothing that would allow me discounted entry.
Most normal people at this point would probably pay the full ticket price. Or if they were genuinely annoyed by this misunderstanding they might walk out and find alternative entertainment for the day. Either of these outcomes would likely result in less than positive word-of-mouth reviews.
Normal is not often listed as one of my attributes.
Ironically, there was sign behind the customer service desk that proudly advertised group discounts. So I asked the lady who told me I could not get a discount if group discounts apply to any kind of group. She informed me that there were no special requirements as long as the group consisted of ten or more individuals. Then she asked me if I was with a group in a slightly sarcastic manner. To which I responded - I will be in a moment. And then I promptly turned to the line now forming behind us and said in a loud voice that anyone wishing to get in at the group discount rate should join my group.
Wouldn't you know it. This customer service lady actually had the discretionary power to assign me discounted access after all. I did not hear how many in the line behind me were able to negotiate the same discount as I was ushered through the gate.
The point of the story is that a couple of dollars of goodwill can be a much cheaper option than the alternatives. A free coffee, a discount voucher, or some other small concession can turn an unhappy customer into one of your best marketing tools through word-of-mouth advertising.
One of the stupidest things I have come across is companies creating contracts that strip customers of all their rights once they sign, and essentially hold that customer at gun point for the duration of the contract. Admittedly, these companies are usually scam operators, but not always.
If a customer wants out and you refuse them that basic right they have the potential to do more damage through word-of-mouth negative advertising, through other forms of negative media campaigns, or maybe through the contacts that they have. Even if you are "legally" in the right. Being right and out of business is small consolation. Far better to cut your losses and not have an unhappy customer bound to your business. Find a way to sort out the situation before they begin a negative media campaign.
Do not look for legal loopholes as to why you should not refund an unhappy customer. Rather, look for ways to make sure that customer leaves satisfied - and if that is a refund so be it. People will general give you a good review if they were refunded promptly and without hassle even if they did not like the product. Unless you are selling junk products then the number of refunds issued likely to be fairly insignificant. The number of dollars saved by not having unhappy customers could be significant.
Have procedures in place and staff trained on how to deal with these situations before you look at business growth strategies.