Stop Advertising Nail Customer Experience First

When we think of finding new customers, we usually think of all the external things we do to go out and bring customers in. We think of advertising.

It’s no wonder that in 2011, businesses spent right around $214.3 billion on advertising. At least on paper, advertising is universally considered a worthy investment. It’s probably a surprise, then, that the actual turnover on that investment can be quite low.

Of all those hundreds of billions of dollars, only a measly 4% will actually reach someone who trusts an ad to tell them what’s good and what isn’t. It’s a large investment for a maximum 4% return. There has to be a better way.

Actually, there is, and it’s called: Customer Experience.

Why You Should Invest in Customer Experience

If all businesses spend on advertising, just imagine if you were to invest in ads and bring in several hundred new customers just to have them come in and get scared off by a bad experience.

Bad customer experience is viral. It’s almost impossible for a customer who’s had a bad experience to go away without sharing that experience with a family member, a friend, a co-worker, colleagues, or whoever else they come in contact with.

These days, bad reviews can go even further with services like Yelp, FourSquare, Facebook, and other social media sites. One bad review can taint your entire public image.

Inversely, great reviews are even more viral. Studies have shown that customers will share their positive experiences more than their negative ones.

If you can make your customers happy, your name will spread like wildfire through customer referrals and word-of-mouth; it’s the most successful way to get new customers.

How to Improve Customer Experience

Improving the experience for your customers, while very personal and unique to each company, can be focused on a few things.

Honest Sales. Every new customer starts with the sale. If you’re honest with your sales in terms of presentation, quote, etc., then you’ll be off to a great start.

Quality Product. Your product is a big part of your image. Make sure your product is quality, lasting, economic, and pleasing to your customers. Customers tend to talk more about products than companies, and they remember them more too. Make yours the best in the business.

Smooth Service. If you do installations, if you provide a service, or if you just answer a phone call, make sure your work is smooth, prompt, clean, exact, and over-achieved. Leave a great impression of hard work and dedication.

Complete Support. Don’t shy away from concerns or complaints. Take them head on and diffuse the situation. Turn a bad experience into a good one and show your customers that you aren’t in it for yourself.

And most important of all…

Listen to Customer Feedback. This is your source for understanding where to improve and how to assure better customer experiences in the future. Ask your customers directly, run surveys, read forums and review sites. Search out all the feedback you can get and then take action.

Your customer experience will be one of the deciding factors in a customer’s decision to choose you above anyone else. Perfect your customer experience, then turn on the advertising to bring in even more customers. Then, watch the positive feedback spread out.

Infographic: Customer Experience is More Important Than Advertising

Image originally posted on Zengage, The Zendesk Blog

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