This is a guest post by Gina Smith.
Companies spend significant time and money on marketing and developing strategic campaigns to help grow their businesses. While marketing departments are busy overseeing the creation of the latest logo, development of a new website and coming up with catchy social media posts, many overlook the need to cultivate one of the most important aspects of marketing – customer service.
Did you know there is a large segment of consumers who are willing to pay a little more for products and services if it means a better customer service experience? Case in point: several years ago, I decided to switch cellular providers. I had been with my previous carrier for numerous years, and even owned stock in the company. However, I became completely disillusioned by the fact that any and every time I called with a problem, their customer service representatives were uninterested and, in most cases, unwilling to provide any sort of satisfactory resolution.
So, when my contract was up for renewal, I made the decision to switch to a carrier that cost more, but, according to many of my friends and colleagues, provided superior customer service. And, they were right.
Although my new carrier was a littler harder on the pocketbook, every time I called with a problem they were always kind, considerate, prompt to investigate the issue and even provided resolutions above and beyond what I expected. Five years later, I am with the same wireless carrier, and still willing to pay a little more for their services for the simple fact that they provide second to none customer service. This company never “marketed” directly to me. I was “sold” based upon the positive customer service reviews from my friends and colleagues and the company’s ongoing excellent support and service.
Social Media’s Role in Customer Service
Speaking of reviews from friends and colleagues, social media has added a brand new dimension to marketing and customer service. Think about it: how many times have you read (or even posted) Facebook posts detailing an experience with a business?
Now, when a bank teller is having a bad day and is short with a customer, there is a good chance if that customer took some sort of offense, the negative experience will be blasted across all of their social media sites. Alternately, when a customer has an exceptional experience, chances are they will talk about it favorably on Facebook (and any other social media sites to which they subscribe). When it comes to social media, peer-to-peer impressions have significant impact on consumer behavior. Even a single positive “plug” can generate a spark for a business, while a negative comment can be detrimental.
Extraordinary customer service is the key to a successful business. Regardless of your industry, it is a good practice to come up with a customer service strategy as part of your overall strategic marketing plan. Offer employees training, incentives, kudos and recognition for outstanding customer service efforts. After all, your employees, and your customers, are walking and talking billboards for your business!
Gina Smith writes freelance articles for magazines, online outlets and publications on behalf of a number of companies, including Global Response. Smith covers the latest topics in the business, golf, tourism, technology and entertainment industries.