A painful truth is a business can be quickly destroyed with great marketing and promotion.
With social media, news travels very fast. When a customer has bad experiences, the news can become viral and destroy a business.
Before initiating aggressive marketing and promotional efforts, take a hard look at your business. Consider hiring a mystery shopper or try anonymously calling your business yourself and test processing an order on your own web site.
Are phone calls answered promptly? Are messages responded to promptly? Does the customer have to endure a long wait in “voice mail hell”?
Are appointments kept on time? Does the customer have to wait like at a proverbial county hospital emergency room?
How are your team members answering the phone? Have you properly trained them on what they should say and are they following directions? What attitudes are they conveying? Are they friendly and helpful? Do customers feel they are imposing on them to be served?
Have your team members “bought into” your business? Some business owners have made a substantial investment in their marketing only to discover their employees believe their products or services are too expensive, and send prospective customers somewhere else!
Are your salespeople well trained? Do they know how to qualify prospective customers to be sure what you offer is a “good fit” for the customer’s situation? Do the salespeople know how to respond to common objections? Do they follow up interactions with customers and prospective customers with thank you notes?
When an order is received, is it promptly acknowledged together with a thank you message? When delivery will be delayed, is the customer promptly notified, together with an apology?
When qualified customers don’t buy now, do you have a systemized follow-up system?
Are orders serviced promptly? Are shipments of physical products packaged so they arrive in good condition?
Do physical products perform as promised? Are they durable? Do they have a pleasing appearance? (Think iPhone.)
Do your services deliver on your promises?
Are your guarantees cheerfully and promptly honored?
For restaurants, are servers trained to present the specials of the day and to make recommendations? Is the restaurant, especially the restrooms, clean and well stocked? Are orders taken and food served promptly? Do meals look appealing and are they tasty? When appropriate, are wine pairings offered? Do the servers recommend desserts? Is the contact information, birthdays and anniversaries collected from customers and followed up in a database system?
Think about the “touch points” for your business. Will each of them deliver an extraordinary, “Wow!” experience?
When your “house is in order”, then you will be ready to aggressively market and promote your business.
You and your team will also have the challenging job of maintaining high standards of performance and continually improving to continue providing an extraordinary experience to your customers that they can’t resist talking about to their friends and family.