By Andrea H. Reay President/CEO Seattle Southside Chamber of Commerce Customer service is not something business owners and managers traditionally think of when they are developing a marketing or advertising strategy. However, here at the Chamber, we encourage our members to think innovatively and use customer service and engagement opportunities as part of their overall marketing approach. Why? Because when you provide superior customer service, you are positioning your business to not only make that initial sale today, but create brand and customer loyalty for the future – thereby guaranteeing a solid and dependable income stream.  With customer service, therefore being integral to the bottom line for any business, managers and entrepreneurs must consider customer service and engagement as part of their overall marketing strategy. Increasing customer satisfaction and the customer experience is a reliable indicator of future profitability.  If all of your customers today are also your customers tomorrow, you are building a loyal following that will help shelter your business from market and economic swings.  Your loyal customers are also likely to talk about your business to their family and friends.  Jason Mittelstaedt, CMO at RightNow, recently reiterated that idea saying:

“Friends and colleagues’ endorsements, discussed in real life or through Twitter and Facebook updates, are more likely to drive sales than even a positive user review posted on a site like Yelp or Amazon (but those matter, too).”
According to a survey by the American Marketing Association, 90 percent of consumers trust peer reviews and 70 percent trust online reviews. So, if “real life” endorsements from people we know and trust is the number one way to guarantee future revenue, paying attention to providing superior customer experiences is not just a “nice” thing to do, but necessary to ensure the success of any business. These loyal customers fast become your brand ambassadors and number one marketing tool.  However, to gain that loyal customer, you first need to provide exceptional customer service and engagement experiences. According to a recent Lee Research poll, 91% of customers will not do business with you again if they have a negative experience.  We are also likely to tell an average of 9 people when we have a great experience versus 16 if we have a negative experience. This is just part of human nature, we tend to remember the bad experiences more than the good, and like to vent about it-especially on social media. However, with dedicated staff committed to providing superior customer service and experiences your business will be able to count on increased positive reviews and add those happy and engaged customers to your marketing department as they consistently refer their family and friends to your business thereby guaranteeing a steady pipeline of new customers and business. For more information on how to build, manage and measure a successful customer service or experience strategy or create a new referral engagement plan, please contact the Chamber.  We are always happy to meet with our members, share insights, best practice and data to help grow and manage your business.  We hope you’ll join us for our next Lunch and Learn, on Friday May 12 (12 – 1 p.m. at the Chamber office) as we hear from our member Peter Busacca, President at Washington BBI, as he leads a business “check-up” workshop.  For more information, please click here We hope you will join us as we strive to enhance our customer service strategy to help build and maintain a strong regional economy. Providing workshops and events, is just one way we leverage our resources here at the Chamber to better serve our members and our community.
Andrea H. Reay is the President/CEO of Seattle Southside Chamber of Commerce: “A voice for business, a leader in the community”.  Seattle Southside Chamber has served the communities of Burien, Des Moines, Normandy Park, SeaTac and Tukwila since 1988.  For more information about the Chamber, including a full list of member benefits and resources, please visit their website at

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