We’ve all seen those memes. The ones about people clamouring to buy Kim Kardashian’s new perfume or queueing for days for the new iPhone, but they won’t support a friend’s business. The truth is, as small business owners we’ve got a bit of a mountain to climb. Our friends and family might not need our services. Even worse, they might view it as a hobby that you’ll get tired of. By far the most difficult hurdle lies in persuading our future customers that we offer a better experience than those customer service nightmares they’ve heard about online.
People feel safer shopping with big brands because big somehow means trustworthy. The good news is, your marketing can help to allay their fears. Here’s how to start.
Customer service: big businesses vs small
I’m at risk of sounding like a market research questionnaire, but here goes. When you think about shopping with a big brand, what’s your opinion of their service? When you shop in any high street store or with an online brand, your expectation of their customer service is broadly the same across the board. You know what the shopping experience will be like and you’re confident that there’s a reasonable returns policy if anything goes wrong. The fact that you’ve probably heard hundreds of complaints about various big businesses over the years doesn’t put you off. There’s a reliable process in place and you trust it.
On the other hand, one bad review could put you off a small business for life. I’m wary myself and I am a small business owner. The reason that I still buy from small businesses is because I know what to look for. That’s not to say that a skilled scammer can’t catch even experienced shoppers out, but it reduces the odds.
The difficulty is, that people don’t always know what to expect from a small business. If you sell goods via an online platform like Etsy or Not on the High Street at least the online buying process is familiar to your customers. However there are differences. The way an order is acknowledged might be different from other brands. What happens if you don’t take payment straight away? How will you get in touch if the service they want needs a consultation call?
These questions are the things that could send your potential customers scurrying back to the brands they know.
How you can show you’re reliable
In its most basic form, content marketing is about building the ‘know, like and trust’ factor in your business. Showing people that you’re not a con artist who’s going to run away with their money. Every piece of content you share, whether it’s a blog or a post on social media, builds your credibility. If someone looks at your Facebook page and can see great reviews and regular posts they can see that you’re reliable. It also shows them that you’re still in business – an abandoned looking page could tell them the opposite.
When it comes to customer service, your posts can also tell them what to expect. Share a photo of a beautifully packaged item ready to be sent out, or a photo of a happy customer using your product. Most of all, you can give people an insight into working with you.
How do you work?
If I was going to write a post like this I’d tell you about the discovery call I offer free of charge and the email I send as a follow up, if you want it. I’d walk you through the different packages I offer and how involved you’d need to be. You might tell people about how you acknowledge orders and what your delivery times are. The more you can tell people about what to expect the more likely they are to trust you.
Do you share your customer service processes? Leave me a comment and let me know.
Advice from Forbes on great customer service – if you manage to do all of these, tell me how!