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Remember marketing basics amid social media craze

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Marketing with social media is a hot topic and has its place in today’s small-business environment. Some companies, however, have let the newness of social media distract them from the proven marketing strategies of employee referrals and exceptional one-on-one customer service to prospective and existing buyers.

Nothing will impact sales more than customer retention, word-of-mouth referrals from existing clients, and the treatment of potential patrons. These are defined as anyone who is not currently a purchaser but has interactions with the company’s staff, and all workers have a role in marketing the organization and making sure solid customer service is delivered.

In this economy, particularly, small businesses have a finite amount of financial resources available for marketing. Two no-cost solutions are customer service and taking advantage of in-house staff to get the message out and reach more potential customers.

Front line and beyond
Employees at all levels within the company must understand their roles in driving sales to the company. Sales representatives should no longer be the only employees responsible for generating revenue. It will take the entire small-business team.

At a time when staff can be replaced by others in the job market, each team member who desires to remain employed should be continually thinking of potential sales for his employer. As Henry Ford said, “It’s not the employer who pays the wages. Employers only handle the money. It’s the customer who pays the wages.”

To be successful in securing new patrons, each associate must thoroughly understand every product and service offered. Then, when opportunities arise, all employees will be able to address how the company can meet the existing or prospective client’s needs.

The enterprise must be committed to exceptional customer service in order for a worker to refer friends, family members or professional acquaintances. Good employees are wise enough to know whether the organization actually offers quality products and services, and if the outstanding customer service mantra is real or not.

Stellar service basics
Customer service is a series of activities designed to enhance the level of customer satisfaction.
Customer service begins the minute a consumer walks in the door or the phone is answered.
Twitter and Facebook will be meaningless to the shopper if the staff member answering the phone lacks fundamental phone skills.

It is time to get back to the basics: Communicate properly; be approachable; establish rapport; build relationships; maintain a positive attitude; and treat customers the way you would want to be treated.

It’s also important to be excited about providing the company’s products or services and to be willing to go the extra mile to do so. Resolve customers’ problems effectively by listening to everything the customers have to say and obtaining a solid understanding before trying to provide an answer.

Resolve problems effectively by first listening to everything the customer has to say. Make sure you have a good understanding of the issue at hand before speaking or trying to offer a solution. Show empathy for the customer’s situation by identifying with feelings, thoughts and attitudes.

It’s also important to take responsibility for resolving problems and not to offer excuses, because no one wants to hear them. What customers want is a response to their needs or problems, not just reactions, so it’s essential to find a common ground and be sincere.

To generate sales, businesses of all sizes must provide training and maintain accountability with every associate to earn sales referrals and render exceptional customer service.

Lynne Haggerman, M.S., is president/owner of Lynne Haggerman & Associates LLC, a Springfield firm specializing in management training, retained search, outplacement and human resource consulting. She can be reached at[[In-content Ad]]


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