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Friday, November 30, 2007

Part 2: Small Businesses: Good Customer Service is Part of Your Branding

Good customer service also means good communications. Are you responding to your customers quickly? If you are not, your customers or ex-customers probably view your company in a poor light which to them is part of your brand reputation.

Over the last few weeks, I have made five or six cold calls to companies asking about their services. I called four printing companies, leaving messages clearly stating I was interested in their services. Only one called me back. (Here is another thing -absolutely no one was available when I called these places. I asked for a person - all I got was voicemail. This is not good.)

I was actually recommended to call one printer. I asked a small business owner and they vehemently told me that their printer was the best. Well that printer never called me back. I do not call back companies who fail to return calls.

Could they all being doing so well that they don't need my business? I doubt it. Maybe the situation is that the employees are not treated well and do not care about new business. This is also bad and an internal branding issue.

Bottom-line is that you must be responsive to new business inquiries. You must call or email back existing customers quickly to handle their requests. I believe that the printers I called didn't want my business. I won't do business with them - ever. There are other printers that will be glad to take my business.

Note: The one printer that called me back took five days to get back to me with price quotes. The owner actually mailed me a box with samples and the price quotes. I emailed her with my needs - she sent me snail mail. I was starting to believe she blew me off. If you decide to respond to email with snail mail - let your potential customer know. We are all very acclimated to receiving information quickly and we if don't - we assume our request has been forgotten.

Remember your customers are not mind readers.

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