"Use customer service Tto Market Your Small Business Offline this Holiday Season"In business you need competitive advantage. And in may instances the BEST way to achieve that is not through lower pricing or even quality. In today’s marketplace, the best way to achieve competitive advantage is through CUSTOMER SERVICE.  I don’t just mean “lip service” but TRUE customer service. The kind people talk about… to their family and friends. The kind of customer service that brings people back to your small business over and over again. The kind of customer service others want to “write about.” The kind of customer service that Carl Sewell has used to grow one of the largest automobile dealerships in America.

That’s what I’m talking about. And Customer service needs to be practiced offline just as much as it does online. In fact, marketing any small business offline should BEGIN and END with EXCEPTIONAL customer service.

When thinking about what to write about today and the idea of customer service came to mind, I thought about this really great book I had read, by Carl Sewell called “Customers for Life.”

It is a book I highly recommend Every Small Business Owner read. The ideas in it are timeless and the results of practicing what Carl teaches are priceless.

Here are Carl’s Ten Commandments of Customer Service to help you build a sustainable business:

  1. Ask customers what they want and give it to them again and again.
  2. Saying please and thank you doesn’t ensure you’ll do the job right the first time, every time. Only systems guarantee that.
  3. Under-promise, over-deliver. Customers expect you to keep your word. Exceed it.
  4. When the customer asks, the answer is always yes. Period.
  5. Fire your inspectors and consumer-relations department. Every employee who deals with customers must have the authority to handle complaints.
  6. No complaints? Something’s wrong. Encourage your customers to tell you what you’re doing wrong.
  7. Measure everything. Sports teams do it. You should, too.
  8. Salaries are unfair. Pay people like partners.
  9. Your mother was right. Show people respect. Be polite. It works.
  10. Learn how the best really do it; make their systems your own. Then improve them.

I especially like #10 because in marketing there really are no “new ideas.”  Maybe new venues to use but ideas, probably not. But you can learn how the best better themselves and their small businesses and model them.  Make them your own. And improve upon them.

So today as the holidays approach and you are getting ready to outsell your best days, remember cars, customer service and competitive advantage…

To your success… and then some,