Think 'C-commerce' in tough times

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Jared Tanner
Jared Tanner

Unless you're in a wonderful, utopian micro-economy that is recession-proof, your business is probably down from where you would like it to be. The range is most likely from “we're surviving” to “someone please throw me a life jacket.”

Tough economic conditions are forcing many businesses to cut back on marketing spend and preserve cash. Yet, if you've got any marketing blood in you, you're still think­ing about how you can still grow your business. Instead of looking at new or different channels, turn around and start looking inside your organization.

Every business loves customer referrals and free word-of-mouth marketing. The challenge is, how do you get customers talking about your company and generating referrals? It all starts with creating remarkable interac­tions. Creating an experience for your customer that is so incredible, your customer feels compelled to comment about their experience. Many call it customer service as marketing. I call it C-commerce.

Answer your phone calls and e-mails a little faster. Talk and e-mail with a smile. Shorten your turnaround time and ship earlier. Go the extra mile when you have a chance to shine — product returns and exchanges are good chances. Think “extreme” customer service — look to exceed your customer's expectations at every turn. Evaluate every touch point you have with your custom­ers and identify opportunities to improve and create remarkable interactions.

How do you know if you're customer service efforts are driving your marketing needle? There are a couple key metrics to look at. The first is referral business: How many new customers are you getting each day, week, month that came as referrals from existing customers? The second metric is net promoter score. If you're not familiar with NPS, do an Internet search and you'll soon have all the info you need. It measures the likelihood of your customers referring a friend to your business.

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