The Customer First Approach To PR: If They Win, So Do You

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It has happened to me so many times. I’m getting ready to leave my house and start the day, carefully making sure I don’t forget anything. Bag? Check. Important documents? Check. Smartphone? Check. But as I’m walking to the car I have this nagging feeling that I’m forgetting something. And then it dawns on me. My keys! I forgot my keys.

The same goes for your company. With all the PR work it takes to grow your business, it’s easy to forget one of the main things you should be focusing on–the customer’s happiness. The customer’s happiness is like my car keys–easy to forget, but integral if I want to go anywhere.

Put customers first and everything will fall into place

If bad news spreads fast, then good news is slower than dial-up internet. Face it. It’s not news that happy customers talk. This is why ensuring that they’re happy is the most important thing you can do.

Poor customer service is one of the main reasons customers cease business with a company. But if your company’s entire philosophy is hinged on customer service, you’ll retain customers and attract new ones.

But while being committed to helping your customers achieve success is one thing, ensuring that they do (ie: following up, tracking it, asking) is equally important. You do this by listening.

Listen first, talk second

If you’re actively listening to your customers, you’re in tune with what they’re doing and what they’re celebrating. As a result, you can celebrate their successes with them. But listening is not a passive act. You need to be actively listening by talking about it.

With your customers permission, interview them or formulate case studies on how their access was achieved to share with the media or on your blog. In turn, they’ll feel valued by your company, increasing their satisfaction with being your customer.

Now that they have an emotional stake in your company, they cease seeing your company as a brand and start seeing it as an entity that deeply cares about them, intensifying their brand loyalty and heightening the chance that they’ll spread  good news about your company.

And when your customers are happy, the payout can be huge. For example, when Task Rabbit’s Leah Busque mentioned 15Five in her “How I Work” piece in Lifehacker, 15Five received an increase in sign-ups. This was achieved not by some meticulously crafted PR strategy, but by repeatedly putting their customer’s happiness first.

Celebrate their wins before yours

Unfortunately, many believe that customer service is of low importance when really it should be the center of your business. Good customer service reduces customer turnover, keeps costs down and creates buzz.

As 15Five’s CEO and Founder David Hassell told me, “Customer service and success is and should always be at the center, the core of the company.”

But ensuring customer happiness is not about what you can gain in the end. When you put your customers first and celebrate them first, you win too. This can be particularly helpful if you’re looking for media opportunities but don’t have news, a launch, or product milestones to share.

So celebrating their wins works for both of you. You have content to share, aiding in the building of your brand, and they feel valued and heard. This is especially key when you consider that brands that talk about themselves too much on social media are more likely to lose followers.

What are ways your brand puts customers first? Let us know in the comments.

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Crystal Richard - May 12th, 2014 / No Comments

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