A key to success in local retail and service has always been, and always will be, customer service. There’s no doubt that your local repair business thrives on reputation built by, not only good service, but also clear communication and confidence established through regular, constructive customer communication.
It’s a fact. Regardless of how exceptional your service is, your public reputation is weighted significantly by your efforts to engage customers, provide them personal care, and treat them as exceptions — not numbers.
Finally, reputation is built by influence. Even the best cell phone repair stores will be kept in the dark if they fail to encourage their best customers to share their experience or identify and engage influencers in your community who could help spread the word.
So if you have a competitive balance of quality, service and price and you want to influence your reputation, what’s next?
“Engage customers, provide them personal care, and treat them as exceptions — not numbers.”
ONE: Ask for it!
If you’ve never managed a CRM or reputation campaign before, sometimes the first step is to simply ask for the feedback, referral or endorsement. To get started, decide ‘when’ to make the ask and ‘how’ you plan to deliver it.
An ask has potential after any customer experience, meaning you don’t necessarily need to wait for the end of a sale.
1. DURING THE REPAIR: You might not be able to influence an endorsement at this time, but while the customer is engaged, encourage them to influence or share their experience so far… You might be surprised how many people are willing to check in to your location on Yelp OR like you on Facebook while they wait. When allowed by channel / network (certain rules apply for reviews especially), you might also consider offering a value-add incentive during the repair period.
The best time to ask for a referral or endorsement is certainly after a job well done!
2. AFTER PURCHASE: Customer awareness is peaked at the time of pickup / sale, and you are closest to ‘top-of-mind’ at that moment. Without additional influence from you, their memory of the experience will begin to fade, and you will lose ground day by day moving forward. Taking advantage of that at the time-of-sale / satisfaction is sometimes ideal, but you might also consider a timely followup to extend awareness by making the ask after the customer has had time to enjoy their repaired device (about a 3-5 day delay).
How: Tools of a CRM Plan
a) IN PERSON: Of course, there’s nothing quite like the personal request (just ask them at the counter); however, the action that needs to be taken next requires some work on the part of the customer. Usually, you are looking for them to interact with a social or reputation network.
b) REFERRAL CARDS: To support the in-person ask, consider keeping special cards at the counter as a takeaway that ask for a referral or review. If you can avoid it, try not to intermix your regular business cards with a referral card. There’s too much to say on a small card, and your message is more likely to be overlooked. Business cards are very efficient through the right vendors.You might consider a http://www.t-rexcards.com/ or http://gotprint.com/ for good, cost-efficient options.
c) CUSTOMER RECEIPT: You’re already printing one, so why not suggest referral on it? Setting up special messages on your receipt is simple. For more information, read more here.
d) EMAIL OR SMS: Consider setting up an automated email or text to your customers after check-in with the ask and the offer. RepairQ has a powerful message-automation builder that can help! For example, your automated message could be set when their ticket is moved to ‘In Repair’ (status). Learn more about automation here.
In any electronic message, make sure you include a clear and concise ask as well as a quick reference link to the place they need to go (Your website, Facebook, Yelp or other review sites). If sending SMS, consider using link shortening services like http://tinyurl.com/ to cut down on the text length.
e) FOLLOWUP CALLS: Time consuming? Yes. 100% unexpected and satisfying to a customer? Absolutely. Nothing says gold standard customer service like an old-fashioned followup call. If you can afford it, you will likely win more gold stars here than anywhere else. The key is how to convert that call to an action. Without a leave-behind like a card, flyer, email or text, it can be hard to convert calls into referrals without a good strategy to back it.
f) CUSTOMER SATISFACTION SURVEYS: Followup surveying can be a great way to illustrate the level of interest you have in your customers’ experiences as well as give you the ability to catch small problems before they become large issues. The most effective surveys are short and sweet: 2-3 questions (one being open for customer to type).
TWO: Incentivize action!
Of course, you hope that your amazing repair skills and exceptional service are enough to entice your customers to shout their endorsements from the rooftops; however, the reality is that unless you saved their wedding photos from a water-logged tomb, you might need to ‘encourage’ your customers to take the time to say what they already feel.
How: The incentives to encourage behavior
a) DISCOUNTS: Discounting is an easy go-to, but be careful. You don’t want to let go of your value too quickly. Plus, some review networks (like Yelp) discourage or outright ban the strategy of discounting to promote endorsement on their sites.
b) PERKS: Sometimes, bonuses, perks or freebies are easier on the pocket book; may be just as enticing as a discount; will keep you in compliance with ‘some’ review networks; and will allow you to cover some of your overhead with markup in the ‘retail’ value or perceived value of the offer.
Tactics might include: Free sanitizing, upgrading OS, backing their data (or combination), or possibly offer a free in-house warranty extension.
c) CREDIT: A great alternative to a discount today is one in the future. If you’d like to incentivize action today AND repurchase tomorrow, consider offering credit toward a future purchase. RepairQ has everything you need to manage in-store credit and can offer several ways to add and track credit to a customer account.
d) CONTESTS: Everyone wants a tech gear! You’ve got tons on hand. What better way to encourage good will than though an old-fashioned drawing. Just keep in mind that rules and terms are important to keep any contest legal and may or may not fit with the guidelines of certain review sites.
e) SUGGESTION: At the end of the day, most customers don’t understand how important and impactful their endorsement or positive review can be. The first thing you need to do is simply hint how valuable their feedback is to you and your company’s success, and see what happens!
THREE: Build a strategy!
If you want to leverage real opportunity, don’t leave it to chance; put some thought into a logical system that will help increase your chances of receiving the most referrals and reviews. Use combinations of tools, timing, messages and incentives to your advantage.
In closing, we’ll leave you with a few winning combinations to try out.
a) Suggest the importance of service from the first time they walk through your door. Treat customers like royalty and show them that their feedback is important, and you’ll find it easier to ask for a favor early!
b) Ask for a check-in to Facebook, Yelp, or Google+. If they need a little nudge, let them know that “mom gives you a gold star for each one.” 😉 If they need a bigger nudge offer a simple gesture in kind, like a service upgrade or small discount in exchange.
c) If they’ve left your store to wait on the repair, consider sending an automated email or text alerting them to the progress and make a simple suggest of how important their feedback is after the service.
d) Once your repair is complete and the customer has returned, print a receipt with a customer referral offer on it (Consider $5 store credit for a personal referral or 10% of XYZ). Acknowledge the referral offer with the customer before they leave or hand them a referral card.
e) Send an automated message 3 days later thanking them for their purchase. Ask if everything is working well and send a simple, two-question customer survey (attach shortened link).
f) Have an open, two-question survey ready to go. We recommend including their likelihood to refer and an open text box for comments they’d like to share about their experience. If you’re using a service like SurveyGizmo, here’s the icing on the cake:
g) If the rating for likelihood to refer is greater than 5 (in a 1 to 10 scale with 10 being ‘most likely’), set up an automation rule to send the survey respondent a followup email thanking them for their positive feedback and asking them to consider leaving a review on a public site like Google+ or Yelp! If 4 or lower, send an alternate email thanking them for their feedback, alerting them to the fact that their feedback will be read by a staff member, and asking them to follow up with details of their experience in a followup email!
h) Collect your responses and watch your reputation soar!
With the right tools, timing, messages and incentives you’ll be winning new clients and increasing your business in no time.