One of the first things they teach you in Business School is that it costs five times more to get a new client than it does to keep one. Yet a lot of companies don’t seem to want to learn the lesson. In the past, and especially in industries where monopolies are prevalent (i.e. Cable), there wasn’t much you could do when customer service gave you the cold shoulder. Sure, you could always tell your friends, but that didn’t always go very far. The emergence of Web 2.0 and the empowering of consumers has changed all that.

Now, instead of telling his friends, a disgruntled customer will pick up his camera, make a video, and post it on Youtube. If the video is even remotely entertaining, you can be sure it will get thousands of views. That’s when disgruntled customers become more of a problem. Consumers are even banding together on sites such as Consumerist.com, where you can document your woes and let thousand more read about it. You can even get help on where to call. One customer with a particularly bad customer service experience can affect the image of your company in the eyes of thousands. Pretty scary.

Now you might be thinking that all this only concerns B2C, and that as a B2B marketer, you have nothing to worry about. While it’s true that there’s little chance that someone will make a hit video about their distaste for your B2B software, the point remains: communication is a lot easier than it used to be. Just look at blogs, which are becoming increasingly popular in the B2B world. One bad review, and who knows how many prospects you might lose?

The solution is simply good customer service. Making sure that your current customers are happy is essential if you hope to keep bringing in new ones. Customers may not always be right, but they are always the ones driving your revenue. And remember that customer reviews go both ways: an exceptional experience with your company will probably provide you with some free leads. Good customer service isn’t just about making your customers happy, it’s also about attracting new ones.

nicholas.pirog

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