Have you ever stopped to think about the importance of customer service? It is one of those things that doesn’t seem to matter much until you have a problem. What’s amazing is the lengths some companies will go to in order to convince you that their customer service is excellent, only to find out the opposite is true when you finally have an issue.
I recently had an issue with the customer service department at a big box store that shall remain nameless, but let’s just say the experience left me feeling like I was the TARGET of some kind of cruel joke. I purchased a set of Legos from this retailer, which was on sale and the last one at that particular store. When I got the set home, it was missing over 60% of the pieces. I called another one of this retailer’s stores that still had them in stock, explained the situation, and was told I could come in and exchange the Lego set. To make an extremely long and frustrating story short, I was bounced between two different locations repeatedly by this retailer’s employees and was told I could not exchange it because the second store was charging more for the item. I was told my only recourse was to call Guest Services the next day.
So I did. I was sure that this retailer cared enough about the experience of its customers and would immediately attempt to make things right. But after spending 45 minutes on the phone with guest services and speaking with a rep in one country and a supervisor in another, I was told that the only real recourse I had was to write a letter and mail it to corporate headquarters. Keep in mind that all I wanted to do was exchange an incomplete item for a complete one.
So I decided that I would call Lego directly and see if they could help me get the missing pieces. From the moment the Lego rep answered the phone, I felt as if she actually cared about my frustration. I explained to her that I was certain that this was not a problem at their factory, but rather more likely someone taking pieces out of the box and returning the item. The rep explained to me that I was correct since it’s nearly impossible for a box to leave their factory missing that many pieces seeing as each Lego set is weighed before it’s shipped. She also said that it was unacceptable for me as a consumer to have deal with the trouble the retailer was putting me through. She apologized for all the frustration I had with the big box retailer and said she was going to do everything she could to make things right.
That was the end of it. No need for a supervisor and no assumption that I was trying to pull one over on her. She showed genuine concern for me and my family. She knew that I did not blame Lego for this, but she still wanted to make sure that neither I nor my children were disappointed and was willing to do whatever it took to make things right. If one employee at the big box store had shown even a tenth of the concern the Lego rep did, I would not be as upset. But apparently the retailer felt it was better to treat me as if I had been the one who stole the pieces out of the box. I was asking for an identical replacement! It would make no sense to ask for that if I had already taken out the pieces I already wanted.
The customer service that Lego provided is the kind of customer service that turns consumers into advocates. There is plenty of competition out there and price doesn’t really separate the retailers as much anymore, but customer service does. While I will be shopping at a different big box store, I will only be buying one brand of building blocks.
Do you have your own customer service horror story? Or perhaps a story about really good customer service. Share with us, we’d love to hear it!
Paid search marketing provides one of the most cost effective ways to market a small business, so how come many small businesses are not seeing success with paid search? The answer to that question is complex. However, there are clear overall themes that explain why some small businesses don’t succeed while others do.
Be patient. You can’t expect any marketing effort to pay off in a week. If you keep your campaign running for at least 90 days and tweak it during that time, you will see results. You can’t put together a campaign in 5 minutes and expect it to become awesome in a week. You need to run some data through the system and understand what keywords and ad copy are delivering the best results. You just need to work 15 minutes a week in reviewing your campaigns and they will surely produce desired results.
Be relevant. Make sure your campaign is targeting the right keywords with relevant ads in a geographical area that makes sense. For example, if you are marketing “mobile car detailing” and you’re in Tampa, Florida, make sure your campaign is running in Tampa and not in Chicago or the entire United States for that matter. Any click coming to your website for searches for “mobile car detailing” that came from the Chicago area will be wasted clicks as they are looking for a mobile car detailer in Chicago.
Be realistic. You can’t expect to spend $50 in monthly ad spend and receive a ton of leads early on. They will surely come, even at a $50 monthly budget, but a much more realistic budget should start at $150 / month. If you compare the cost of other small business marketing channels to paid search they should be equivalent. For example, yellow pages ads run into the hundreds of dollars per month. Radio and Television can reach into the thousands of dollars. We believe a $150 to $750 monthly budget will generate enough leads to pay for itself in a couple of months.
Be long term. It is better to spend $200 per month for 3 months than $600 in a month. This is because of the sales life cycle. On average, potential sales take anywhere from 20 to 60 days to convert into actual sales. If you don’t look at your marketing from a long-term perspective, you will wrongly attribute sales to the wrong marketing events. Successful search engine marketing is like running a marathon, not a 100 meter sprint.
If you keep these principles in mind, you will be more likely to run a successful search engine marketing program.
Let me hear your thoughts. Would you agree or disagree? Are there any questions? Please comment and let me hear what you have to say.
They say that patience is a virtue. This is especially true when it comes to PPC campaign management.
How often have you created a new PPC campaign on Friday and waited until Monday before your ads were approved? What about those new ads that your client wanted live yesterday but are waiting on approval as well? Sure, those times can be aggravating but they pale when it comes to the ultimate game of patience: Waiting for enough data to accumulate before modifying your campaign strategy.
Too often people want to change their PPC campaign strategy without giving it enough time to run. I think most PPC managers will agree that this is especially true when customers, other managers and/or other interested parties (who are not responsible for the day to day campaign management) are waiting for “their results”.
When the campaign is new or there has been a shift in strategy, campaigns take time to level out and become stable. The amount of time needed is directly correlated to the complexity of your PPC campaign; this includes the number of ad groups, number of keywords, campaign geography, campaign goals, conversion tracking, landing pages, etc.
I have always understood that there needs to be enough data to analyze before changing course and I’ve always tried to set that expectation with clients. SiteWit is no different. Although SiteWit’s PPC Automated Bidding starts within 24 hours of purchase and SiteWit’s Predictive Analytics engine begins monitoring your campaign the moment you decide to optimize with us, we make sure our PPC Management Software clients know that our PPC software requires a minimum amount of data before our algorithms make any campaign recommendations.
So the next time you launch a new PPC campaign or sign up a new customer, be sure to set this expectation. Once you launch the campaign, everyone needs to be patient and wait for enough data to come in before making any strategic decisions about changing your PPC campaigns.
What do you think? Is patience really a virtue when it comes to creating successful pay-per-click campaigns? If not, tell us why.