Customer service is one of the most overlooked part of successful companies. That fact is based on an old way of thinking, an outdated view of customer service as low level problem solvers and people who can stand to be yelled at on the phone for hours at a time. And companies (or at least the executives of those companies) that are run based on that way of thinking are quickly falling by the wayside and making room for companies that emphasize customer service as a key factor in growth and success.
Today, customer service is as much a part of marketing as anything else. Good customer service means happy customers. Happy customers mean positive reviews (or a lack of negative reviews, which in today’s world can be just as good). And positive reviews mean the marketer, whose job it is to convince the consumer of the value of his or her product, already has the word of mouth element on our side.
Marketers need to embrace good customer service as a function of marketing. Products and services, no matter how good they are, will never be perfect. And even a perfect product will run up against a less than perfect process; a shipping mishap, a lost order, a glitch in the system. Somewhere, someone will be upset. And that’s where a good customer service department, who believes in what they are doing and are empowered to make it right, can be a marketers greatest ally.
When marketers are in charge, the customer service team has power. They can do anything within reason to make a customer happy. They have the power to go online, find a negative review, and reach out to the person who left it. They have the power to offer a refund, offer a replacement, or make requests of other departments in the company to fix problems identified in the process.
- Does your customer service team have access to social networks?
- Does your customer service team have access to key members of the rest of the organization at all times?
- Does your customer service team have the power to offer a refund without seeking approval?
- When the customer service team identifies a problem, does the rest of the organization react accordingly?
- Is your customer service team incentivized to fix problems/help customers/answer questions/address negative reviews in a timely manner?
Customer service is a function of marketing, and it’s time we showed them some long overdue respect.