Monday, May 23, 2005

Why the "Little Details" Count On eBay, Too

Truly Solid Marketing Is About Customer Service

Painters are at our house this weekend, doing the trim outside and a few rooms inside. My wife is doing most of the direction, but I've asked the head guy (and owner of the company) to pay attention to a few details for me. I don't get into interior design much, choosing between mauve and tope, but I do have some input as far as the whole project goes.

I want them to make sure they clean up the "misses" on the outside, where some black trim paint has accidentally hit the white house paint. I need them to unstick some of the windows and put all the screens back, as well.

They're wrapping up the project today, and it's starting to appear that the lead is ignoring some of my requests -- namely the screens and window unsticking. I love the work they've done, but now I'm obviously not so hot on their finishing skills. And this new feeling is coming at the end of the project, when the head guy should be going out with a celebration rather than with some gripes. He should lead me around, show me how great everything looks, show me the extra work he's thrown in, and go down my list of requests one by one, demonstrating that he met my needs and respects my wishes.

If he performed these "finalizing" customer service/marketing steps, he'd have my 100% recommendation. I'd rave about him to friends, pass out his business cards and even write up a testimonial for him. I'd offer to help him out with his advertising materials, in fact. We'll certainly have more painting jobs in the future, and I'd like to stay on good terms with him.

On eBay, the same steps need to be followed in order to build business and collect loyal customers that rave about you. You need to send customers follow-up emails that confirm what they bought, what kind of deal you're giving them (on shipping, bonuses, etc.), and how you appreciate their business and would welcome any questions they may have. You need to offer them targeted cross-sell and up-sell items as they bid and shop. And, you need to quickly address their concerns as they come up. All this attention and service ensures that your customers refer you to others, leave positive feedback, and return to do more business with you.

Don't be like my painter. Pay attention to detail and your business will grow at a healthy pace.

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