In our digital world of instant gratification, your savvy customers want answers and information immediately. Here’s how to blend customer service and marketing to keep your customers happy.
Look at just about any corporate structure and you’ll see where departments are effectively silo’d into divisions without any discernible overlap. This is especially true of customer service and marketing.
In years past, the marketing division existed to develop brand awareness and bring new customers in the door. Meanwhile, customer service was there to provide the reactionary response when customers had issues. I can’t count the times I’ve contacted companies in the past to ask questions and got transferred from customer service to a sales associate because I wasn’t a customer yet.
But the shift to omnichannel (selling through multiple channels like social, brick and mortar, eCommerce, etc.) has caused a significant change in the customer experience that brands should offer for a number of reasons – starting with the savings.
The Cost of Retention vs Customer Acquisition
Image via Dmitry Kalinovsky.
Traditional marketing may still be effective at building awareness for a brand, but acquisition campaigns can be some of the costliest marketing efforts. Most customers need to experience multiple impressions before they are consciously aware of your brand and what you offer. It can take some time before they feel compelled to look closer.
It might feel sensible to spend more time and money on acquiring new customers because new customers are important to the growth of any business. The problem is that it costs seven times more to obtain a customer more than to keep one.
You don’t have to throw money away on costly acquisition campaigns. Instead, you can positively impact growth and acquire new business by improving customer retention. According to Harvard Business Review, just a 5% increase in customer retention can increase profits anywhere from 25 to 95%. In addition to that:
- Existing customers are 50% more likely to try new products
- They spend over 30% more per purchase on average
- It’s 60% easier to sell to previous customers
You don’t have to spend more money on retention. Simply start incorporating customer service as part of your marketing strategy. This will help you build influence positive growth in revenue, and capture new customers along the way.
Change Your View of Customer Service
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Stop thinking about customer service as a reactionary division of your company. Your customer service staff and your leadership team aren’t the only ones capable of making customers happy. Everyone can have a hand in creating positive customer experiences that leave people happy.
Case in point, former CEO of Morton’s Steakhouse restaurants, Tom Baldwin, stated that while he was with the company they did not advertise in traditional channels like print, TV, and radio. Instead, his staff was the best marketing tool they had.
Amazing food and a customer-centric approach to doing business resulted in happy customers. These customers were inspired to return and to share their experiences with others.
There’s really no additional investment or cost there other than focusing on happy customers and empowering your team to actually service customers.
Customer Service Can Drive Marketing Efforts
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When you silo your marketing and customer service teams you create a gap that makes it much harder for marketing to do its job.
Your marketing team wants to make your campaigns more effective by using data. They’re looking to target the right people with the right message. Your sales records and prior campaigns are a terrific data source for that, but your customer service department is just as powerful a resource.
Consider the employees in your company. Who has the most contact with your customers? It’s not the ones working in the back who handle the marketing decisions. Your customer service team sees and speaks to customers on a daily basis. They can provide input on what customers love, what they dislike, trends in problems, frequently asked questions and issues, customer interests, and more.
Zappos is a shining example of changing the role of customer service. Like many brands today, they’re shifting to the customer experience model.
When you create amazing experiences, you forge an emotional connection that people want to talk about. Research shows that brands who can make that emotional connection outperform competitors by 85% in sales revenue.
Discover How to Market your Business Effectively
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When you combine customer service and marketing you’re also opening up communication channels.
It’s not uncommon for departments to complain about one another. For example, your customer service team might worry about the marketing team promoting something in a way that customers misunderstand. This can result in a customer service nightmare.
But, your teams can create such an amazing customer experience that benefits your bottom line if they work together.
To the surprise of many marketers and business owners, how they market a product and how their customers use it don’t always line up. Next to the customer, your customer service team has the best insight into the how and why customers actually use your products or service.
That little bit of collaboration can create some potent marketing campaigns that grab the attention of larger segments of your audience.
Your Customer Service Team is Already Marketing for You
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Social media is a major reason why businesses blend customer service and marketing. It provides an instant gratification loop for customers and puts them in close touch with their favorite brands. 95% of online adults (18 to 34) are likely to follow a brand on social media, and not just when they love the brand or want discount promotions.
Many brands have come to realize what they once saw as a marketing platform is also a fast pass for customers to get problems sorted. Social media marketing managers are filling a customer service role now more than ever.
When you can merge your teams to focus on the customer, you can drive amazing customer experiences.
- Be prepared for questions with service members that have a working knowledge of marketing and promotions
- Open communication so customer service fuels the marketing team with data to create more effective campaigns
- Tend to issues and respond to questions and comments faster resulting in better facebook page engagement
71% of consumers who have a good experience with a company on social media will likely recommend that brand to others. You’ll also leave an impression on users who see how you professionally and rapidly tend to your customers.
The first step toward customer service and marketing coming together to create better experiences is to start talking. Create an open-door policy so everyone can get the information they need to help a customer (or prospective customer) at a moment’s notice.
Everyone in the company plays a vital role in marketing the brand as well as serving the customer. If you’re not serving the customer then your job is to serve someone who is.
Top image via ESB Professional.