Customer Service IS Marketing

preventing problems + you standing out = everyone happy

Good customer service does two things: Prevents problems and generates more business. Good customer service also flows naturally into marketing your practice. In this post, we’re all about preventing problems.

Preventing a problem is different than fixing a problem.

When you prevent a problem, you are ahead of the game. When you make it very clear to your clients that a simple email or phone message will get one of your gift certificates to the right person at the right time, you are preventing a problem. You are creating a situation where there is no problem at all.

When a client calls and wants to get gift certificates for friends, and you have to play phone tag, and then arrange a time for pick up, etcetera, etcetera … then you are fixing a problem.

For now.

For this one client.

The next phone call will bring the same problem… that you will have to fix.

Again.

Preventing clients’ problems fixes your problems, too.

Problems take up valuable time and create frustration for both you and your clients. They also make you seem less accessible. Flash floods, forest fires, and hurricanes, you can’t prevent. (Though you could be prepared for them, marketing-wise.) But what are the day-to-day time-wasters?

  • Trouble getting gift certificates to people who want to buy them?
  • Many clients calling with the same questions — questions you think are clearly answered on your website?
  • Do 80% of your new clients have trouble finding you the first time?
  • Not as many return clients as you would expect?
  • Few of your clients booking through your fabulous and convenient online appointment scheduler?
  • Lots of clients not responding to your return-return phone calls?

These are problems that can be prevented (mostly — let’s be realistic after all). Can you see how preventing these problems can be great customer service? Can you see how preventing them can prevent daily frustration for you?

Preventing Problems = Customer Service = Marketing

Let’s return to the gift certificate example here, shall we? I want to buy certificates. I call you to find a time to meet you at your office. You’re in session so I get your machine. Your message says you’ll call back within 24 hours. I’m not in a rush, so I leave a message. You call back the next morning, but I can’t get to the phone. You leave a message. I call back and get your machine, which says you’ll call back within 24 hours. You see where I’m going with this? Even though I am not in a hurry now, there is a deadline here. Getting a hold of you is now a chore; I have to keep remembering where we are in the who-calls-who and How-Long-Am-I-Waiting game.

C’mon! I just want to give you money so I can send three prospective clients your way.

That’s just for certificates. What if I were trying to book a session? What would your average phone-tag-weary person do after a couple of days or hours? Open their browser or their pile of business cards and start calling until they find someone who actually answers the phone. Maybe they’ll call you back next month.

When you prevent these problems, you are providing great customer service. You are saving time. You are preserving a client. And (AND!) you have a great marketing tool.

Think about it! Your business cards, postcards, posters all read:

  • Gift certificates mailed for free! Or,
  • All calls responded to the same day. Live person on phone during business hours. Or,
  • 24-hour online booking; you choose your time.

Make a big deal out of it. Toot your horn. Stand out.

Hmm … says a prospective client, making wellness appointments has been a hassle in the past. This practitioner is thinking about what I need, is thinking about my comfort, is thinking about service. They must be a class act.

Hmm … says a current client. I’m so glad [Trisha] has found a solution to the phone tag thing. Now I feel more comfortable recommending her to my friends.

And that, my Dear Readers, is how good customer service can turn into good marketing. Prevent a problem, and then tell people that there is no problem.