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Published June 18th 2014

Customer Service and Marketing – A Perfect Pairing

Customer service and marketing departments are usually 2 distinct and very different departments. Here's how customer service and marketing go hand in hand

The customer service and the marketing departments of a company are usually two distinct and very different departments.

However, smart businesses are realizing that in this day and age of social media and online reviews that customer service and marketing go hand in hand.

It is very important for organizations to change the policies of old and have marketing and customer service work together, as each department can make the other’s job easier and achieve goals faster.

When marketing and customer service teams work together, it solves one of the age old problems of customer service being unaware of the special promotions that the marketing team advertises. At the same time it also solves a new problem that occurs today, when poor customer service results in a problem for the social media marketing division of the department.

Today, we will discuss some customer service techniques and tactics that will keep customers and clients happy, so that negative online reviews or social media comments do not become a problem for the marketing department.

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Delivering a Superior Customer Service Experience

When a company or organization instills the value of customer service and makes a policy of delivering excellent customer service a priority over other goals, everyone wins and the company as a whole succeeds.

This means that customers in any stage of their purchasing cycle and interacting with any department should receive excellent customer service. A bad experience in one department can lose your company customers.

Think of how many times you have stopped going to see a doctor you really like because the experience with the reception staff is a horrible one. The same goes for tech support departments, equipment installation departments, etc. All departments must practice good customer service in order to keep a customer happy.

Customer Service vs. Retention

Customer service helps retain the customers that marketing spent their budget obtaining in the first place.

In addition, spending some of the budget on customer service results in making existing customers happy, which is less of a cost than acquiring new customers.

Research from Bain & Company has shown that acquiring a new customer actually costs 6 to 7 times more than efforts spent on customer service and customer retention.

However, having a “customer retention” department can also become a problem for your company if you are only worried about retaining them as a customer when they have a problem and want to leave.

Rather than waiting until a contract is up and rather than waiting until a problem arises, take the time to make the effort to retain your customers before they want to leave. This way, they won’t want to leave in the first place.

Have you ever felt insulted or ripped off if you decide to cancel a monthly service and the retention department offers you a lower rate to stay?

At that point, most customers or clients have already made up their mind the experience leaves a bad taste in their mouth. Many adopt the feeling “if you were going to offer me a discount, why not offer it before I wanted to leave?”

If available in your budget, offer customers 3 or 6 month special offers, instead of waiting until they decide to cancel.

Speedy Problem Solving

Did you know that often a customer with a problem is an opportunity to deliver customer service and make them happier than ever?

Any company can have customers who experience problems of some kind or another. It is when those problems are resolved, and resolved quickly, that those customers actually experience a higher level of satisfaction.

They know that your company cared enough to help them and make things right.

An important factor here for companies is to empower all employees to find solutions to problems that customers have.

The level of satisfaction will usually decrease if a customer has to wait for the first point of contact to discuss the issue with a supervisor or manager before offering a proper solution.

The Ritz-Carlton hotel chain is an example of a company with an excellent reputation for delivering superior customer service. Each employee is empowered to spend a certain budget on the spot to make the guests’ experience special.

However, in addition to that, they go above and beyond the call of duty in customer service situations.

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Take for example, this story told to the Huffington Post by a very happy Ritz-Carlton guest. In this case, you see how this hotel chain has such a strong culture of customer service that they go above and beyond to deliver an excellent customer service experience.

Instead of talking about a negative experience, this family is creating positive reviews worth much more than the effort of the staff of the Ritz-Carlton hotel.

Takeaways for Your Business

  • Customer service training and emphasis must come from the top levels of the organization and trickle down to include every department and every employee.
  • Customer service should be held in high regard, even over retention and new customer acquisition because a reputation for excellent customer service will help keep customers and attract new ones.
  • Go the extra mile for your customers. Think about what type of experience you would like to have. This can include spending extra to retain a customer before they think about leaving or even sending branded gifts from a company like Brandme.
  • Research shows that customers are willing to even pay more for a good customer service experience.
  • Monitor your social channels and make sure that social media marketing responds to inquiries and problems with customer service in mind.
  • Both customer service departments and marketing need to work together in tandem.
  • Customers reviewing your company because of good customer service help marketing to do their job.

What you should conclude from this customer service advice is that developing a company culture that emphasizes customer service and blends marketing and customer service departments to work together will make your entire company stronger.

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