The Coast News Group
There are times when you do something free of charge to encourage customer goodwill. Stock photo
Ask Mr. MarketingColumns

$15 for that?

I had an interesting conversation recently with one of my regular readers. She told me how her car’s brand name plaque had fallen off. “Only one dealership has touched this car over the past 20 years,” she informed me, “and I naturally asked them to re-affix the nameplate for me at my next service call.”

So far, so good.

Only the dealership wanted to charge her $15 for what should have been a favor done in the name of good customer service. She told them to skip it and is now contemplating taking her business elsewhere.

Whoops!

Think about that: A loyal customer who has undoubtedly spent thousands of dollars potentially leaving because the dealer is needlessly nickel-and-diming her.

As the owner of a service company, I recognize that time is the only thing I have to sell. I need to maximize every minute of every day to pay the rent and can’t just give away my services willy-nilly.

After all, I’m in business to make money, right?

However, I also know there are times when you do something to encourage customer goodwill, and this woman’s request falls firmly into that category.

The best kind of marketing is word of mouth. It’s free, relationship-based and allows you to piggyback onto a customer’s credibility and reputation.

Combined with social media’s reach, word of mouth marketing can make (or break) your business.

Suggesting this dealership has put a customer into a position where she can really hurt them.

If this lady is generous, she’ll merely say something to the manager and be done with it. However, if she’s sufficiently irritated over this situation, she may tell all her friends, then blast the dealership on Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram … or all three.

And the thing is, this entire scenario was unnecessary. In under 10 minutes, the dealership could have fulfilled her request at no charge. This would have kept a longtime customer happy, loyal and saying nice things.

True, the dealership would have had to pay someone to do the labor. Still, they’ll have to spend significantly more to acquire new customers to replace the guaranteed, recurring income they’ll lose should this customer decide to leave the fold.

If that happens, having invested that $15 will look like a real bargain.

With that said, I wish you a week of profitable marketing.

Learn to treat customers better at www.marketbuilding.com.

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