Okay, admit it— you’ve made at least one purchase decision based on seeing a couple of comments on Google Places or another customer review site. Everything else being equal, those few comments can make the difference between choosing one company over another. The same applies in self-storage.
Raving fans tend to be heard loudly. But not as much as ranting fans. With the rampant rise of social media and an increasing sense of empowerment among customers overall, that voice of one is getting heard more often and is gaining clout.
A blog post from Cirrus Marketing Intelligence, a mystery shopping and customer experience management company, addresses the issue dramatically: “Ever thought about how much power your customers have these days? They can blog, tweet, post a video, or Facebook [about] how much they don’t like you. Your customer truly has the power to make or break your business.”
The post goes on to tell the story of a major insurance carrier who lost a contract for LA Unified School District because one disgruntled customer just happened to be a board member. He persuaded fellow school board members to reject a multimillion-dollar insurance contract after receiving what he said was improper billing and poor service.
Cirrus founder and CEO Monnie Howard added, “There is no place to hide anymore! Customers are in the driver’s seat and will take every opportunity to call a company out for exaggerated claims and overblown promises. In the long run, the only way to build and keep a loyal client base is through an honest message, backed by honest actions. Customer desires are now based on experience rather than expectation.”
Howard identified and explained three methods companies can use to assess and address customer satisfaction: Mystery shopping, customer surveys and social media.
Mystery shopping seeks to determine customer feedback about product quality and service delivery. Howard pointed out it is more about the process and less about the customer’s emotional reaction. Friendly greetings, inquiring about needs, and prompt service are three primary areas handled by mystery shopping.
Customer surveys aim to gauge customer sentiment about their experience and to express pleasure or displeasure with different elements of the rental process.
Social media offers the “truth serum” of the marketing world, providing easy ways for customers to tell their truth about a business interaction. Responses can form a much more powerful marketing message than an ad campaign or press release coming directly from your company.
As customers gain more influence, businesses would be well-advised to heed the advice of Will Rogers: “If advertisers spent the same amount of money on improving their products as they do on advertising them, they wouldn’t have to advertise them.”
Image courtesy of AccessToCapital.com