Once upon a time, marketing and customer service were completely separate entities. Particularly in areas where there was slight competition, bad customer service didn’t matter because people had only limited options; for the most part, entities such as the post office and DMV still function like this.
However, as the world has become more global, it’s become clear that there are almost always other options. As such, the divide between marketing and customer service has blurred. If you don’t believe me, ask anyone whose brand has ever suffered a bombardment of complaints from unhappy users via social media. Such complaints and criticism is no longer limited to a one-on-one phone call — people all over the world can read these complaints in an instant, as long as they have access to the internet.
While some companies have always had an emphasis on customer service, others have taken for granted that they can actually lose customers in the long run if they have had terrible customer service experiences. Take, for example, Ryanair, a low-cost British airline that relied on being efficient, even if that meant being rude to paying customers. Late last year, the company’s CEO admitted that the brand was ready to take on a new strategy that involved being nicer to customers.
Because we live in an age where customer service complaints can spread like wildfire, it’s important to consider customer service as a marketing commodity. Some companies have built entire businesses around excellent customer service experiences, such as Zappos, a company that integrates customer happiness into its overall brand strategy.
[quote]At the end of the day, a brand should be about its customer, and that shouldn’t end at the point of a sale.[/quote] Thinking of customer service in terms of marketing means developing an understanding that your customers are your biggest advocates, and that they are the ones who will be spreading the word about your business. When people share a great brand experience on social media, they are sharing that with all of the people around them. And remember, when it comes to sharing about brand experiences, people tend to only comment on really good or really bad – no one ever goes to their Twitter feed about an okay customer service experience.
Thinking about the evolving relationship between customer service and marketing means making sure your social media customer service strategy isn’t just a canned response, offering someone a phone number. There’s a reason they took to Twitter; it’s possible they were bothered by long phone wait times or are simply in a place where it’s inconvenient to make a call. While different social media customer service strategies may work differently for individual brands, the strategies should always reflect an understanding that customers deserve to be treated like people, even if it means simply responding with care to a tweet or Facebook comment.
The team at our Florida ad agency thinks understanding this relationship is a great way to go from happy customers to happy brand advocates. For more tips on improving your social media, contact our Orlando marketing agency for a free consultation.