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Service Delivery: The Other Side of the Marketing Coin

Service Delivery: The Other Side of the Marketing Coin

Published: November 9, 2011 Updated: March 2, 2012

Long before I entered the marketing and business development arena poor service was a pet peeve of mine so let me apologize ahead of time if my soap box rears its head in this post. I’ll do my best to keep it at bay.

Prior to becoming a marketer I was a consumer. I of course still am a consumer but one with a heightened awareness to the advertising and promotional tactics used to attract me.  A bit closer to home though is my heightened awareness to the need for the service or product to fulfill on the marketing promise made about said service or product (service). This latter issue is the focus of this post.

As a small business owner it’s likely you are also the marketer for your business. The passion and love you feel for your business is conveyed throughout your marketing communications both online and offline.  If you are a one man show it’s easy to make sure your marketing and the delivery of your service are in sync. But if you rely on a partner or employees to deliver your service, are you sure your service is being delivered as you intended?

You create a marketing plan for your business and work diligently to get your service offering in front of your target audience via as many appropriate marketing channels as you can afford and have the time and manpower to accomplish. Your marketing efforts have been successful. The customers come. When they arrive the service they receive must at minimum meet the expectation you set. Otherwise, they won’t return and worse yet, they’ll walk away and a negative word of mouth will ensue. This negative word of mouth doesn’t need to be malicious to be harmful to your business. All it has to state is that the service didn’t meet their expectation. Think about it. Ever ask a friend how the new movie they saw was? If they said “wait for it to come out on video” did you make a mad dash for the theatre to see it anyway? Have you ever looked to your spouse and said, “Hey, Babe lets go try out that new Italian restaurant. I heard it’s pretty mediocre.” No. Of course you haven’t.

Beyond the traditional word of mouth communication you have to remember that we are in the technology, social media age. Almost everywhere you are online, whether you put yourself there or not, there will be an opportunity for consumers to make comments, rate, and review your business. Opinions that previously would spread among 100 people years ago spreads to millions today instantaneously. With the utilization of smart phones a bad service experience will be spread across the internet before that customer even finishes their transaction. The good news is, yes, there is good news, that word of mouth works both ways. This is the other side of the coin that I mentioned.

Today the ability to separate the customer from their cash has become more of a challenge. No one ever has the money to waste on subpar service but in the economy we’ve experienced in recent years consumer budgets have gotten tighter. More so consumers have learned that they can live well while living more frugally so as the economy improves and expendable income levels increase there isn’t necessary a trend of returning to pre-recession level spending.

Once your service is out there, the decision to consider and purchase your product will be made primarily on the experiences, ratings and reviews of those that have purchased your service previously. Whether those reviews come from friends, family, Facebook, twitter, or Google maps they will influence consumer buyer decisions. Be sure your service or product delivers on the quality and benefits cited and that every person in your business embodies your vision and mission and delivers consistently on the customer service you’ve told your target audience to expect.

About the Author:

Tonya Wilson
As a member of the Ohio SBDC at Columbus State, we provide entrepreneurial development assistance and business consulting to start-up, emerging, and existing business owners. In addition to one-on-on advising, we create, coordinate and promote programs and events to inspire, educate and engage individuals who wish to start or grow a small business.