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Customer service is marketing

Customer service is marketing

May 20, 2011 by verygoodservice

Many businesses have rigidly defined the respective roles and responsibilities of their customer service and marketing departments. This is often the source of frustrations as, on one hand, the marketing guys do not have the opportunity to interact with the customers and, on the other hand, the customer service team has only a limited opportunity to influence product design and communication.

Small businesses have much more room for manoeuvre, as they can chop and change, test and experiment without affecting a large volume of customers. Very frequently, small companies manage their customers through a single channel, handling social interactions, marketing efforts, customer service and many other activities in one place. They use mishaps as a marketing opportunity and dispatch little gifts and samples to “compensate” customers. Customer service is clearly being used as a marketing tool.

Whilst larger operators are busy leveraging their social media reach by pushing multitudes of promotions, special offers, coupons, vouchers and deals, small businesses can build a long-term advantage by establishing close-knit communities of customers. Positioning customer service at the heart of the marketing strategy contributes to the exchange of ideas and the resolution of problems whilst creating a platform for future recommendations.

All this contributes to the development of a very strong sense of loyalty.

The challenge comes when the business grows and someone makes the suggestion that life would be much easier if dedicated marketing and customer service teams were established…it will be hard but just make sure you resist the temptation.

 

Guest blog by Very Good Service.

Read more in our dedicated section about customer service.

Comments

There is nothing wrong with having dedicated marketing and customer service teams as long as you're not creating silos.

Their must be relationships and exchange between these groups and it needs good systems, clear guidance and leadership and empowerment. Lacking in a lot of businesses.

Even SME's that grow will have to have some kind of structure or framework for operating, but it should not restrict or be at the expense of the customer engagement and relationships which are at the heart of everything.

Marketing, sales and service (and everything else) should be interwoven to make the fabric of a good business and happy customers.

People and process are key!

So true - one of the real benefits of being a small business is the ability to maintain close contact with your customers.

Good customer service also makes you feel good - not just the customer!

Sounds like our business to a tee. I am both head of customer service and head of marketing and that's the way we like it. I've seen too many businesses grow and succeed on the back of great customer service, then let their customers down when they can't sustain the level of service they've become known for. The trick is to set the right expectation from the start, one that can scale.

Agreed, agreed, agreed and... agreed. Of course the challenge is how to grow your business to the next level when you try to offer such a personal service that you, in effect, ARE the business. 'Tis a tangled web...

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