Customer service is what separates a decent business and an amazing company. In a world where corporations outsource their customer support to other countries and don’t make it a priority, customer support is becoming even more of a deciding factor for consumers. People are tired of struggling to get help fixing a problem, so when doing business, they look at a company’s reputation for customer service.
That reputation is essential in the marketing process, especially in the decision stage of a buyer’s journey. When deciding to do business with either your company and another, customer service can be the deciding factor.
Having a reputation for great customer service is something marketers can’t control. It falls to your customer service department. But, since it is so important, you need to be involved with them. Having the marketing and customer service departments working together can greatly benefit both. Marketers work with customers before they buy, and customer support takes care of them afterward. Working together can only help both areas find success.
Creating better personas
A major difference between marketing’s and customer service’s day to day operations is that marketers don’t interact with customers constantly. That means customer service reps usually have a better understanding of your customers than marketers do. They see the challenges and often the reasons why they purchased your product/service.
Basing your personas on data can make your marketing efforts more focused and more effective, but where do you get that data? Your customer service department can be a powerful resource. They can give common traits, data behind what issues are most common, and can even help identify potential mistakes on the personas.
They can also help identify important changes in the target market. If they notice more of a specific issue or complaint, it might be worthwhile for marketing to investigate what might have changed in the market. If something has changed, updating the persona is essential.
The dangers of a disconnect
Marketers put a lot of effort into nurturing and guiding leads to make a sale. They make their consumers feel cared for and try to predict their every need. The goal is to help potential customers feel connected to the company. Yet, far too often, once somebody makes a purchase, marketing dumps them into the laps of customer service.
That disconnect, that gap, is where your company can lose the trust and goodwill of your customers. People naturally dislike reaching out to customer support because everybody has had bad experiences. Marketing could help bridge that gap by providing content and resources to help people solve common problems instead of needing to call.
Complaining on social media
When something goes wrong, there are three options consumers have. The first is to simply accept it and take the loss. They don’t reach out to customer support because they might view it as a waste of time, and they keep their misgivings to themselves. The second option is to reach out to customer service in hopes to fix the problem. The third option is complaining about the problem online, especially on social media.
People complaining on social media is the worst possible result. It damages your reputation in a very public manner. Social media is all about creating and managing a reputation. Unless they delete it, everybody can see it forever. People want to see results when they reach out on social media to air their grievances. They are burned out of the normal grind that comes with customer service. Dealing with them should be done delicately and quickly.
Whoever runs your social media needs to be connected with customer service. Nothing is more frustrating to an angry consumer then to be given the number to customer service. They want results now, so give it to them. If your social media manager is connected with customer service, he can help solve the problems right then. No need to redirect them or push them onto somebody else. The problem can be solved and the repair process can begin immediately with the customer.
Helping customer service feel connected
Far too often, customer service employees feel like the clean-up crew of a company. Especially if they work in a call center. They fix the mistakes of others, but often are considered inferior to other positions and roles. A lot of people who work in customer service just get extremely frustrated because they hear and solve problems, but feel like they have no way to fix what’s causing the issue in the first place.
Alleviate this frustration – connect them with the marketing department. More people can help identify when employees, or even the entire department, is feeling burned out and give them the ability to convey concerns that the marketing might be causing.
Better customer service, better reviews
Customer service is essential to reputation management. People only leave reviews when they are extremely angry or surprisingly pleased. Your customer service is part of the experience. Bad customer service leads to negative reviews and a poor reputation. Excellent customer service means positive reviews, making marketing’s job much easier.
What are your thoughts? Ever had a positive experience with customer service change your opinion about a company? How important is it to your company? Let us know in the comments below.
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