Even if your company includes a Customer Service department, the responsibility for delivering exceptional customer service should be included in every employee’s job description.
For Customer Service Week, I’m exploring the role of each department.
Let’s take a look at the role of customer service in marketing.
The Christmas commercials will soon be aired on our television screens, but very few companies have the budget to invest in such high profile marketing. This doesn’t mean that it isn’t possible to attract and engage prospective customers.
Customer Led Marketing
The internet has opened up many new marketing options. Companies can now allocate time, rather than an extensive budget, to promoting their goods and services. Rather than blasting out your offer, the trick is to find out exactly what your customers are looking for and let them know that you can offer it. The approach is more of a two-way conversational, rather than blasting out your message.
What need do your products serve? Do they save time, improve efficiencies or allow for a little indulgence? Do people buy from your company because you are innovative and forward thinking, the cheapest on the market or are you an established brand that they trust? Does your environmental ethos boost conversions or are you viewed as a luxury brand that they associate with status?
It’s also worth considering the competition. What is written in their customer reviews? Is it possible to learn from their mistakes and provide customers with what your competitors fail to deliver?
Where to Market your Goods?
Your company might have heard that the latest Social Media platform is the best place to get your message across. Before you start building a new profile, explore whether this is where your customers are and whether this is the place that they want to hear from you.
Every step of your marketing strategy should begin by exploring your customers and letting their opinion inform your decisions. It might be that channelling your efforts into a personalised event invitation, a printed ‘Top Tips’ leaflet or an informative webinar or blog is more effective.
Adapt to Meet Expectations
One of the factors that have contributed to the decline of the High Street is that customer expectations have changed, yet many retailers have been slow to respond. The physical stores can’t compete on price, yet many have failed to sufficiently up their game and offer an experience that can’t be offered by the online competition. If the expectations of customers are shifting, your company needs to keep pace with the change.
Social media has provided the opportunity to be highly responsive to customer comments. Get it right and this can be a valuable tool for thanking customers for positive feedback, as well as for effective complaint management. A letter, email or phone call may not be shared in public, but a quick response is as important, no matter what form of communication is used.
Customers as Marketing Champions
It takes a trusted relationship to get honest feedback on what’s working and what’s not. If you invest that time in your customers and respond to their requests, it can pay dividends. Customer service success is evident when your customers actively recommend your company to friends and business associates, or in online reviews.
It’s a great feeling when you receive a 5-Star review or are told that someone recommended you. It only happens when you’ve delivered customer service excellence. As peer marketing is trusted, it is highly effective if your customers choose to market your business.
Marketing should be viewed as a means of serving your customers. Take time to listen to what they really want, adapt to deliver it and let them know through marketing. If you get it right, your customers could become your ambassadors.