If you were to plug the title of this post into the search bar, you’d come up with an array of different results. These would range from articles explaining how to provide stellar customer service to even some horror stories from customers who’ve had bad experiences with businesses. But neither of those things are what this post is about.
Instead, I’d like to dive into what it really means — in this day and age — to “be there” for your customers. In terms of customer service, many small businesses only think of treating customers respectfully and using services to meet their needs. While these things are great, there’s so much more to truly “being there” for your customers. There are other pieces to the puzzle, so to speak. Let me show you.
Besides mastering face-to-face interaction, it’s important to be just as attentive to the online community. After all, that community is present 24/7. It’s still awake even after your physical sign says “closed” and everyone has gone home for the night.
Here’s the bottom line. Your customers should be able to count on you, especially if they have questions about your products, services or your industry in general. It shouldn’t matter whether your storefront sign says “open” or “closed.” So, what can you do to provide such top-notch service to consumers at any and all times?
1) Tailor Your Website For Ease of Use
Your website is a powerful tool that can actually do a lot of work for you...if you design it to do so. What do I mean by that? Let’s say that you’re a dentist. When your office is closed, set the phone number on your site to automatically change to a personal or emergency phone number.
Or let’s say that you’re a restaurant owner. Your site could automatically display the breakfast menu in the morning, the lunch menu in the afternoon and so on. Just think of how convenient this kind of simplified service would be for consumers.
Make it easy for people to find the help or information that they’re looking for. Personalize your site based on what your users need at the time of their visit. They will take notice.
To do this, though, you need to have a good understanding of who you’re dealing with. You should know your audience well and use what you know to give them what they want and need. You don’t want users to feel like just another entry in your database. Instead, you want to show that you see and have considered each person as an individual.
2) Make Yourself Visible
So, now you’ve got your website covered. But you can’t forget about those who haven’t yet discovered it or haven’t even heard of your business. What can you do to help them find you?
First, you have to realize that not everyone uses Google to search for businesses. That’s a common misconception just because Google is so popular. Remember that there are tons of directories on the web — local and otherwise — that people use depending on what they’re looking for. So, let me ask you:
Is your business showing up in the search results of these directories? Furthering our previous examples, dentists, are you showing up on Healthgrades and Superpages? Restaurant owners, are you listed on directories like Yelp and Zomato?
If you answered “no,” I’ve got bad news for you. You’re losing countless potential customers to your competitors who are on these directory sites. If that’s not a wake-up call, I don’t know what is. I mean, just think about it for a second. When you don’t show up in search results, do people know that they’re missing out on an outstanding experience with your business? No. They just choose from the options they’re given.
To get to the point, make sure that your business is an option. Claim your spot on any and every trusted directory relevant to your industry. The more exposure the better.
3) Use Content For Support
Just about all businesses now see the need for content. Still, few know how to produce the type of content that will get the best results. If you’re currently one of the masses and are unsure about how to create amazing content, this is a disadvantage. Yet, if you become one of the few content creation masters, you’ll always be a few steps ahead of the rest of the pack.
Think back to the last time you found yourself in need of the answer to a question. (It probably wasn’t that long ago.) What happened? Let me guess. You probably typed the question into a search engine. You sifted through the search results. Then, you found a great article that gave the answer to your question and then some. The question is: Don’t you think your customers are doing the same thing when they have questions? Of course they are!
What does that mean for you? You need to focus on creating content that addresses the questions they are likely to have. And it never hurts to add more value by giving a little extra info. For one thing, it’s helpful to the customer. For another, it makes you more credible and shows that you have real expertise in your field.
Why would anyone turn their back on an expert to go to a less credible source? They wouldn’t. So, be the expert and you’ll find that people will stick with you and come to you to fill their needs.
"Be There" or Be Square
You might wonder why I’m trying to persuade you to hop on the digital marketing bandwagon. No, it’s not because I’m a marketer and this is what I do every day, all day. It’s because I know the benefits. I really don’t want your business left in the dust when people realize that other businesses serve them in a more complete way.
If you’re there for your customers, you won’t have to worry about them turning to competitors.
When it comes to looking for a new business, I want to go with the one that’s the picture of excellence in all aspects of communication channels. Not only do I want great service in-house, I also want the business that truly cares about me and what I need in relation to their specific industry.
Regardless of what directory I’m on, I want to see that business show up everywhere, instead of just on a few sporadic sites. I also want to see reviews about their services. I, too, appreciate a personalized experience on the company website, which makes me feel like they know me as a person. When I have a question, I like to be able to easily find the answer. This can come in the form of a blog post, eBook or even a video, which puts a face to the business.
Don't you feel the same? Chances are that your customers and potential customers do. The days of only providing services between 8 am and 5 pm are over. Consumers have changed quite a bit; they now expect more from you as a business. So, go the extra mile. Why not incorporate these suggestions into your marketing plans? Why not see if you can “be there” for your customers just a little bit more when they need you the most?