Cyber-Service sucks!

By Kathryn Patterson | Aug 14, 13 07:13 AM

The hi-tech, low-touch model of modern business has given birth to the phenomena known as Cyber-Service, but it doesn't mean customer service has to suck.

The internet has forever changed the way business is done.

Gone are the days where you could be known for being the only business of your kind in the neighbourhood; you now compete with every other business that offers your service or product worldwide.

Businesses have become more focussed on lowering overheads and have embraced technology and the internet to achieve this. It’s the feverish desire to see profit margins improve that has conditioned our consumers to expect less face-to-face service and no frills products, in exchange for a lower price point.

This Hi-Tech, Low-Touch model of modern business has given birth to the phenomena, known as Cyber-Service.

We’ve all experienced it; long waiting periods to get through to the department you wish to speak to; having to yell out to get the attention of i-device addicted shop assistants; being loyal to a brand or business with little or no acknowledgement. It could be argued care factor for the consumer in our present marketplace is at an all-time low.

Businesses capable of surviving the technological revolution with a loyal client base intact, will need to determine a strategy to transition from the accepted status quo and learn how to go back to the roots of where true business relationships were nurtured and grown – where people fell In love with the companies they dealt with because of how that company made them FEEL and not just the quality of product or service they paid for.

Understand your clients and their true value to your business

Don’t assume your clients will remain loyal to your brand without being shown how much you appreciate them. How many clients can you afford to lose? This should give you a good place to start when considering what kind of systems and budget you should put in place to keep them.

After Speaking with one of Melbourne’s Leading Mortgage Broking Firms about client appreciation; I was surprised at how sceptical they were about seeing tangible results from a gratitude driven client appreciation campaign.

They agreed to do a small test campaign and Identified ten of their most valued clients as recipients.
Each client was sent a beautifully wrapped box of delicious chocolate brownies with a greeting card expressing sincere appreciation for their patronage.

The results spoke for themselves.

Eight out of ten recipients made the effort to call, email and / or send a card in return to thank the firm for the unexpected gift they had received. Two gave them further business on the same phone call and three referred other clients to them within the month they received their gifts.

This business has seen the light! They saw firsthand how the excitement of receiving an unexpected gift and heart felt message, tied in with the sensory overload of eating a yummy treat is then related to the company that sent the gift. These clients now think of that business as exciting and delicious and will tell many others about the positive experience they had. This exercise cost the firm under $200 to touch the lives of 10 of their most valued clients and they won $1000’s of dollars in new business in return.

Steps to creating a client appreciation strategy that works

1. Be sincere. Don’t send mixed messages:
Decide on one message per contact you make with each client and relay that message as sincerely as possible. If you are sending a birthday card - make it about their special day. If sending out a promotional offer – make it about the promotion. Don’t mix the two.

2. Make it personal
Nothing says ‘Thank you’ or ‘Happy Birthday’ or ‘Congratulations’ better than a message and/or gift that is personalised to each client and their circumstances and /or tastes. When was the last time you received a physical greeting card with a heartfelt message inside that didn’t try to upsell you on anything?

3. Make it memorable
The more personal you can make your contact with your clients – the more memorable it will be. Ways you can learn more about your clients include: asking them directly, following them on twitter, connecting with them on Business Chicks and other social media sites, speaking with their work colleagues or boss etc. You will soon learn things about your clients that you didn’t know before. This will give you all the ideas you need to ensure your efforts are well appreciated.

4. Be consistent
Like most good experiences – once is never enough. When planning your strategy be sure that whatever you do, it is something that you can maintain. One insincere piece of communication can undo all the hard work of the last ten heartfelt gestures. In business, you are only ever as valuable to your clients as your last interaction with them. Be sure to plan your client appreciation strategy so that every experience your clients have with you is one that is remembered for all the right reasons

Kathryn is a Premium member of Business Chicks, request her online business card and connect with her here. 

Kathryn helps businesses –large or small - develop unique, affordable client appreciation strategies. From as little as $9.80 per month you can create a campaign to make all your clients feel valued.

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