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Customer Service and Marketing are Now One and the Same

Customer Service and Marketing

People expect great customer service and they expect it through whatever medium is convenient to them.  This is the age of the customer and what companies are quickly understanding is that marketing goes far beyond a department.  Every customer service representative is, in fact, a spokesman for the entire company.  The major questions that this new era brings are financial more than platform based.  After all, who wouldn’t want to have a trained staff across every medium.  This post attempts to answer the two major questions haunting the age of the customer; how to allocate money and which mediums do people prefer to communicate on.    

We all love great customer service, but as a business leader, is it justifiable to incur the costs of great customer service?  Every minute of customer contact costs a certain amount of money, part of great customer service is the ability and willingness to handle customers who want to speak to a representative rather than using do-it-yourself portals.  As we discussed in a previous post, great customer service does require intuitive do-you-yourself models for customers who prefer that but also requires phone reps, email, social media and an intuitive website.  Peter Kriss of Medallia did come up with a way to measure the impact of good customer service and shared it with the Harvard Business Review.  Once you realize the impact, you’ll see that the investment is not only worth it, but necessary to sustainable growth.

According to studies, it costs six to 10 times more money to acquire new customers than to retain current customers.  That stat alone should entice companies to invest in quality customer service.  In its 2012 Customer Service Barometer Study, American Express found that 66% of U.S. consumers would spend more if they expected better service.  The median premium they would pay for said service is 13%. 

Where should companies concentrate their investments in customer service? The three Ts, technology, training and tenure, are the areas to begin.

Technology – The proper technology is perhaps the most vital investment to a contact center.  A strong technological infrastructure will do countless things for you company.  Not only will it allow customers a smoother experience when they call in, go to your site, email or use an automated system but it will also allow your employees to do their jobs unencumbered.  If the technology is seamless across multiple departments then one call resolution is realistic.  One call resolution keeps the interaction short and allows the rep to move on to the next customer faster. 

Training – The best technology in the world is useless if your employees don’t know how to use it.  The proper training will give your customer service reps the know-how and the confidence they need to fully utilize the equipment. 

The training should be done in advance of a technology roll-out and there should be follow-up to the training to verify that employees picked up the information.  A dry run then a soft rollout is also beneficial.

Tenure – Depending on industry customer service reps oftentimes have an extraordinary amount of knowledge about products, industry best practices, company policies and the confidence to verbalize and make decisions to best help customers.  The best training and technology in the world can’t teach someone all of this.  Experience can’t be overlooked as one of the most important tools to outstanding customer service. 

Senior employees tend to make more money than their junior counterparts for their knowledge.  Two challenges arise when it comes to tenure; first, it is difficult to get people to stay at a company as long as needed to attain the experience and education they need to be such a vital asset.  Second, tenured employees are expensive.  Not only is their salary higher but so is their 401k match and pension.

Happy employees give the best customer service, and employees tend to be happiest at their jobs when they are given the proper technology to work with and the proper training on the technology. Now, I'm not saying that employers need to buy their employees new MacBooks, and set them up with training at the Genius Bar (although that would be pretty neat!) Rather, by giving your people the tools and knowledge they need to have success in their role, employees should be able to do the rest. Attrition will take care of itself.

Customer service is as much a part of a contact center as the VoIP system and the cloud platform your company uses.  While the investment is more abstract than in technology or infrastructure, it is of utmost importance that customer service is treated at least as importantly. If not, your customers could switch to a more customer-service oriented competitor.

So, now that you’ve taken my advice and invested into the proper Ts to make sure your customer service staff is properly equipped and up to the challenge of being an individual marketing asset, which platforms should you be researching? Social media, email, phone?   Below is an infographic that should help with the understanding of what customers are looking for. 

While Revenue River can’t help you with your customer service, our employees are happy and we can provide you with great marketing.  Contact us to find out how your company can prosper with a well-rounded digital marketing approach. 


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Best Practices to Boost Your Customer Service Across Channels