Poor Customer Service Is a Costly Business Mistake

Most everyone who owns a business knows how important referrals or word of mouth marketing is for the success of their business. Equally important is the absence of any negative word of mouth marketing from your customers about your business. Nothing will close down a business quicker than gaining a reputation for poor customer service. Think about how many times you have had a poor experience at a local restaurant and how many people you may have told about this experience. Have you ever been back to that Restaurant? Do you think the friends you’ve told ever go there? The answer to both is likely “No”. Is that restaurant still in business? Most of the restaurants where I’ve experienced poor service are no longer operating. The simple facts are if a business doesn’t focus on providing the best service to their customers they will quickly be out of business.

Word of bad service spreads quickly and not focusing on satisfying your current customers will prove to be a costly mistake. A study from the Verde Group and the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania revealed some startling statistics. First the study revealed that almost half of shoppers will avoid a particular store because of someone else’s negative experience. Also, 31% of customers will tell one or more friends about a poor experience and on average will tell four people.

In today’s internet crazed society four people can quickly turn into thousands of people if a customer decides to share their experience online through review sites or social networks such as Twitter or Facebook. And, when that negative experience is shared, you can certainly count on a bit of embellishment to make the experience sound a bit more terrible than the actual truth. The study further concluded that out of 100 dissatisfied customers a business stands to lose between 32 and 36 current or potential customers.

It is much cheaper to retain a current customer than it is to attract a new one. Businesses with a strategic focus on service stand to gain much more than a business focused on growth from creative marketing and slick ad campaigns. I would much rather visit our locally owned Roush’s hardware store than the major retail home improvement center nearby. Every time I visit Roush’s I can count on someone asking me if I need assistance finding something within 1-2 minutes of walking in the store. This is certainly not the case when I visit the major retailer. In fact, during my last visit to this store not one employee offered any assistance the entire time I spent in the store.

When I finally asked an employee for assistance in finding the item I needed, they simply told me the aisle and approximate location where I should look. Needless to say, I haven’t been back to that store. I’ll probably tell a few people along the way about my poor experience there and how Roush’s is always eager to assist their customers once they walk in the door. I may even post my poor experience online to share with the world. How many people will see this online is anyone’s guess but I’m thinking it will be more than just a few. Can you afford the possibility of having hundreds or perhaps thousands of people know your business doesn’t value it’s customers? A simple strategy that focuses on providing great customer service to your current customer base will go a long way towards marketing your business.

YouTube Videos – Double Click Rates For Local Businesses Using Google Local, Yelp and CitySearch

Yelp and CitySearch both maintain that having a YouTube video on their listing for your company doubles the likelihood that visitors to your listing will take some kind of action such as a phone call to you or a click to your website. Many local search engines now allow you to upload your video information to their sites, including the king of local search, Google.local.

The most important marketing challenge for local businesses used to be location. For many such as restaurants, hotels, and dry cleaners, location is still a critical part of the marketing decision. One of my clients, PV Bicycle Center in Palos Verdes, California, moved his shop a few block into a larger and more visible location and has seen his business almost double the first year and the second year is on the way to similar increases… and all of that during a recession. The second most important challenge used to be how big of an ad to take in the Yellow Pages. You know, that book you now use as a door prop.

The internet has changed the equation for both of these marketing moves if you are a small, local business. Today your location on the first page of internet searches is commonly more important than your location on main street, and your listing on local search engines is the modern equivalent of the Yellow Pages hard copy edition. The current and future king of local search engines is the map at the top of the page that you see when adding a city or zip code to your business type (e.g. Inglewood marketing consultant or mortgage broker 90025). By sheer force of this map’s location on a Google search, being seen next to the map may be the most important driving force for new business clients.

But Google.local is not the only local search engine (LSE). There are at least 60 general websites that fall into subcategories such as directories and mobile directories, and include such names as Yellowpages.com, Superpages.com, Yelp, CitySearch, HotFrog, and MerchantCircle. Your potential customers are using these LSE’s and others to find information and reviews about your business before they decide to visit. If you aren’t listed, they can’t find you. If you are listed and have very little content or that content is not compelling, they may shop with your competitor who has good content. Part of that content is Video.

The methods used by LSE’s to determine how you rank under your category is complex and different for every one of them. Moreover, they don’t tell you what you need to do to have a high ranking other than pay them lots of money for a sponsored position. One thing we do know, the more robust your content the more likely you are to achieve a high ranking. The more compelling your content, the better chance you have that the customer will decide to use you. The obvious conclusion is that you need to have at least one, and preferably more than one compelling YouTube video on the LSE’s that allow you to link videos.

Creating a DIY YouTube video is within the reach of most small businesses. The cost in time and money is not huge. However, using a local marketing company to do the video will generally produce results that are much more likely to create action by the viewer. You may be surprised to learn that the cost of a video may be as low as $300, and even less if you do several at a time.

Your video can be used for much more than just an element on the content of a LSE. Other uses include:

  • Embed in your website
  • Embed in your blog
  • Be found on Google searches
  • Be found on YouTube searches
  • Build trust and authority
  • Share information which may result in loyalty

If you would like to learn more about shooting or marketing YouTube videos for your enterprise, please help yourself to the information contained on my small business marketing blog.

Why YouTube? There are many other video repositories such as DailyMotion. My experience is that YouTube will result in more than double the viewers than all the others combined. The YouTube brand has trust associated with it, and power just from being the biggest and best known brand. Finally, YouTube is owned by Google. ‘Nuff said.

Povoa De Varzim on the Costa Verde of Portugal

Located just 15 miles from Oporto in Northern Portugal, Povoa de Varzim is a major seaside resort on the Costa Verde (Green Coast). Originally a major fishing town in the area, the resort has become a delightful cosmopolitan summer retreat but still with reminders of the towns origins. The town boasts historic churches, museums and a beautiful harbour which is protected by an 18th century fort and is where the local fishing boats land their catch of sardines, hake, sea bream and seaweed which is dried and then sold as fertilizer. Povoa de Varzim is an attractive, sophisticated town with traditional black and white mosaic pavements, beautiful gardens and a town hall where a monument to the town’s most famous resident, the 19th century novelist Eca de Queiros, stands.

About 20 miles inland you will find the intriguing town of Braga (the Portuguese Rome) which is famous for its superb Italianate churches, 18th century houses and wonderfully landscaped gardens. The town also holds spectacular torchlight processions during Easter Holy Week which are not to be missed if you are lucky enough to take one of the travel deals available at this time of the year.

Not to be missed is a visit to Oporto, home to the famous port wine, Romanesque cathedral and the Ribeira. Explore the heart of the city which is a UNESCO Heritage Site. Wander along the narrow cobbled lanes lined with traditional houses, restaurants and bars. There is a choice of ways to explore the town, on foot, by boat on the River Douro or by the tram (electrico) which runs along the coast. Take a leisurely stroll across the Dom Luis Bridge and view the Ribeira on one bank and the Vila Nova de Gaia where the famous port cellars are located on the other bank.

Explore the Douro Valley which is another UNESCO Heritage Site. With an absolutely stunning backdrop of old terraced vineyards and towns, the valley can be explored by boat from the River Douro, by steam train, road or by hiking along the many trails.

Povoa de Varzim has over a mile and a half of beautiful sandy beach where visitors can relax in the sun, take a dip in the crystal clear waters and even try their hand at surfing. At the northern end of the beach there are hotels, restaurants, bars, beach bars, a casino, water sports facilities, water slides and tennis courts. The resorts’ busy harbour stands at the south end of the beach. Outside the town there are two excellent surfing beaches, Salgueira and Agucadoura. The quieter Rio Alto Beach is where naturists go to laze in the sun between the sand dunes.

A visit to the neighbouring fishing port of Vila do Conde is a must on your direct holidays to Povoa de Varzim. The town is famous for its beautiful lacework and scrumptious pastries, including its sweet cakes, pasteis de Santa Clara. This quiet town also has a lace-making school and museum which are well worth a visit. Nearby Guimaraes was Portugal’s first capital and is a World Heritage Site. Here you will find a well preserved medieval quarter with some amazing Gothic, Baroque and Romanesque architecture. In the town of Rates there is the interesting 12th century church of Sao Pedro.

The resort has a vibrant nightlife with lively clubs and discos along the beachfront. Evenings in Povoa de Varzim can be spent dancing the night away in the clubs, having a flutter at the popular casino which is the biggest in Northern Portugal or just relaxing over a meal at one of the resorts restaurants. Delicious locally caught fish and seafood dishes are served at the towns restaurants, don’t forget to sample the tasty traditional fish stew, Caldeirada a Povoa.