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Why customer service can be your most effective marketing tool

Most small business owners feel overwhelmed with trying to market due to the fact that they often have limited marketing budgets. However, it is important to understand that one of your most powerful marketing tools is right at your disposal and will cost you very little to be effective. Great customer service can go a long way toward spreading the word about your small business. Best of all you won't need a lot of resources in order to use it successfully. The main benefit of using customer service to market your small business (besides the low cost), is that it works to keep your existing customers coming back and spreading the word to new and potential customers. Here is why customer service can be your most effective marketing tool-

- It all starts with the relationship with your customers-The basis of your customer service will need to be built on the relationship that you build with your customers. You should let your customers know that you are there for them and want to solve problems they may have or answer their questions. You want to make sure that you have taken the time to find out what concerns your customers have and then try to address them before they become an issue. This will let your customers know that you see them as important and they will come to view you and your small business with credibility and trust.
- Be careful about who you hire to work for your small business-One of the most important decisions that you will make is who will work for you. Keep in mind that just one person who does not offer the highest levels of customer service can damage your marketing efforts. You want to make sure that every employee that works for you knows that customer service is their top priority no matter what their job description is. When your customers interact with the staff of your small business you want them to walk away pleased and letting other know that they should shop with you.
- Train everyone who works for you to have a customer service attitude-Once you know that you have the right employees then it is up to you as the small business owner to train them to provide the very best in customer service. You want to let your employees know what you expect in their interactions with your customers. It is important that all of your employees incorporate a customer service vocabulary since that can be an effective marketing tool. In addition, each employee should be trained to acknowledge all of your customers each and every time they do business with you. Keep in mind that not only should they be trained to acknowledge customers while they shop but after as well. This can be done by sending a thank you note. You can even include a discount for a return purchase or for bringing in a new customer who makes a purchase. Just remember to include an expiration date so it creates a sense of urgency.
- Speed up your service-Today's customers want to be able to get in and get out when they are making a purchase. Unless you are a small business that provides a service that should be lengthy you should focus on providing your customers with what they need as quickly as possible. If your customers have to wait on hold, stand on line in your store, or waste time trying to resolve problems this can be the worst negative marketing issue your small business will have. Conversely if you quickly and efficiently service your customers they will spread the word to their family and friends that they should be shopping with you.

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