Nowadays, there are still companies that have customer service departments that are divorced from the other parts of the company, and not really integrating the customer support with the rest of the customer experience.
This is a huge missed opportunity; research from American Express shows that three out of four customers (74%) will spend more money on a company they had good customer service experiences with. Marketers spend a big deal of their budget figuring out the secrets of customer retention, the key to growing a sustainable business. Customer service helps retain customers in a way that the rest of the company can’t do.
Here are some ways customer service and marketing can work together to improve the customer experience.
1. Creating a Customer Resource Center
There’s a big move towards self-service in customer service, and a study from Gartner shows that 85% of customer brand interactions will not have human interaction by 2020. It’s imperative to have self-help resources available for the customers.
The customer service department is amazing at interacting directly with people to resolve their concerns, but they’re not the best at fleshing out a website with all the resources needed to resolve a customer’s concerns. That is what marketing is good at creating a fully-searchable index of articles and material that can solve a customer’s issues. It’s a powerful display of teamwork that feeds into the growing self-service trend.
2. Market the Customer Service Experience
When running a business it’s important to have a competitive advantage. One of the more subtle advantages a company can have is its superior customer service. Let the world know and market your excellent track record by promoting how great your service people are at delighting the customer.
Starbucks is a brand that knows this well. Today, you are probably familiar with the “Starbucks Experience” and how the company focuses on the atmosphere of the shop. They shifted the paradigm from buying a good cup of coffee to a place where you can experience a good cup of coffee, and this was no accident: then marketing director and former CEO Howard Schultz pursued this strategy and marketed it from the ground up, and it’s paid off handsomely.
3. Share Customer Stories and Identify Brand Advocates
The best influencers are the ones who genuinely love a product. It’s easy for the marketing department to hire a big name influencer, but is this the most effective way to market your brand? A study from Hello Society has shown that micro-influencers tend to be 60% more effective than celebrity endorsers. If you’re looking to launch a successful influencer campaign, the perfect place to source your influencers is from the customer service department.
Customer service knows which consumers are in love with your product, and can pass customer stories on to the marketing department. If the customer has a good experience with your brand, that customer’s contact information can be passed on to marketing, so they can work their magic with testimonials, case studies, endorsements and other promotional material. It’s likely to be cheaper than a celebrity influencer and you get marketing that’s true to your brand.
4. Farm Customer Service for Content Creation Ideas
Marketers are always thinking of the next brilliant plan to capture mindshare. It’s easy to hit a wall, but that’s where the customer service people come in: who knows the product and the customers better than the people who answer consumer questions on a daily basis? Many marketers have been surprised by how customers use the products they market, often in ways that weren’t quite intended.
Customer service is constantly in touch with consumers and learning about their needs. With some data mining techniques, using advanced technologies like those found in many cloud-based services, it’s easy to impart these to marketing. The customer service department is a goldmine of content ideas for the marketer, and having an open line of communication between the two can benefit the marketing team in many unexpected ways.