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From: Jared Hamilton
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David Johnson

David Johnson Social Media Aficionado

Exclusive Blog Posts

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Three Ideals For Social Marketing Success, Part 3

In both parts 1 and 2 of the Three Ideals For Social Marketing Success, I mentioned that success in social media boils down to three things:

  1. The Development Of Relationships,
  2. The Creation Of High Touch, Emotion Based Connections, and
  3. Customer Enchantment (think customer service to the Nth degree).

Want to know the secret behind creating rampant word-of-mouth? Wait for it... wait for it: Give people something positive to talk about! I've blogged about this topic a few times before and the importance of going above and beyond your customer expectations, but in this post I'm going to be laying out the ground rules for customer enchantment.

Remember: it's the difference between what your customer expects and the level of customer service received, that will dictate whether or not your customer talks about you. Failing to meet those expectations will create negative word-of-mouth, going above and beyond will create positive word of mouth, the choice is yours.

What does customer service have to do with social media? Simple, if you want to be part of the conversation that is happening in your customers social graph, with their connections, then you have to give them something worth talking about. This doesn't just happen by chance, it happens by design. Design excellence into your daily routine, every employee, everyday, all the time, no exceptions.

Always be on the lookout for chances to show exceptional customer service. In the service department, if you find out that a customer is having a hard time coming back in to pick up their vehicle, take it to them. Salespeople, offer your customers a concierge service where you schedule all of their service appointments and offer a pick-up-drop-off service.

The Golden Rule Of Customer Service: Never forget that you do this every day and just because you see it all the time doesn't mean that it's no big deal to your customers. Never glaze over an issue and act as if it's not a problem, always reassure your customers that it's a genuine concern and that you will personally take care of it.

In a study conducted by Bain and Company they found out that an increase in customer retention of just 5% improves profits by 25 to 95%! The logic behind this math is predicated on the fact that customer turnover is enormously expensive. The high cost of acquiring new customers can only be offset by maintaining profitable, long term relationships.

Creating Long Term Relationships By Creating High Customer Satisfaction

We've always known that word-of-mouth, by far, is the best form of advertising, but then why do some businesses, and whole industries (the auto industry among them), struggle to achieve it? Look at the car business, people don't expect much, in fact they expect to be treated bad and to be the subject of high pressure sales techniques, which leads me to:

  • Set yourself apart from the competition by displaying uncommon courtesy. In the auto industry it's not too difficult to set yourself apart because people expect so little, so take advantage!
  • Know your customers. If you expect repeat business then at least remember your customers names! I know what you're thinking, how can I remember them all? You don't have to, that's what CRM's are for, use them. Each visit, if you learn something new about you customer, put it in the database for other employees to use. For example if your customer mentions, during an oil change, that their in-laws are coming to town, put into the CRM. That way, during their next visit you can ask them how it went. Talking about being different!
  • Smile... duh! I know that sounds simplistic but by having a genuine smile on your face your customers will feel more welcome and invited.
  • Be polite. Say thank you, please, yes ma'am and no sir. Use proper salutations such as Mr. and Mrs. In fact keep using their last name until they give you permission to use their first.
  • Be genuine. Obviously generosity can't be faked so don't fake it. If there are people on staff that can't be genuine them maybe a job with the public isn't for them.
  • Always over deliver. You will notice that I didn't say under promise and over deliver, I said over deliver. Do it as often as possible.
  • Empower your employees to make a difference. What that means is, within reasonable bounds, empower each employee to be able to fix a mistake, that way they don't have to go to a manager.
  • Make customer service ordinary, build it into your daily processes and reward employees that go above and beyond.
  • Create an enchantment budget, more on that here. Go so far and above what your customer expects that they will be forced to tell others about you.
  • Do a touch point analysis at least every other month. What I mean by that is be your customer. Call in as a customer, walk in as a customer, go through the sales process as a customer and even go to the bathroom as a customer. What do you see? Is everything as you would expect it to be? If so, scrap it and start over, be exceptional!
  • Call back! Too many times we have the intention of calling back but something comes up and we just don't get around it, stop that! Treat every return call as if it were your wedding day, you wouldn't forget that would you? Yes, it's that important!

Final Thought

Create an environment of exceptional customer service into your dealership. Make it mandatory, tell your employees up front, at the interview, that you only hire people that puts the customer first. You need a staff of people that are quick to smile, want to serve, and understand that a happy customer breeds other happy customers. We all know how expensive it is to create a customer, so keep them happy, keep them coming back and keep them talking about you!

Brent Albrecht
David, Great Post (I now have to go back and read the other two). I agree that a key is exceeding you customer's expectations, but what thing you didn't touch on I would add is that a great way to exceed their expectations is to manage their expectations from the start. A lot of consumers have unrealistic expectations about how a purchase or service should be provided. the more information you share with customers pre-purchase, about what you do and DON"T do for your customers, the better you will set their expectations.Customers should know up front about potential extra charges, and what is included with every purchase or service. Staff needs to inform them, or better yet, provide marketing materials that highlight everything you get with a new car purchase, etc. The more info you provide upfront, the better the chance that their expectations and yours will be closer together, and so its that much easier to exceed them.
Brent Albrecht
sorry for all the typos. wish I could type better
David Johnson
You're right. There is nothing like a fee, the customer didn't know about upfront, to derail any customer enchantment techniques that you may be using. Transparency is key... especially in today's day and age! Thank you for commenting and don't worry I don't type any better! LOL

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