Customer Service: So much more than a pretty face
To your left is the international symbol for customer service: Smiling, good-looking person with telephone headset. Now, slap yourself or slam your hand in the car door or whatever it takes, and come back to reality.
When customers say, “I just really like talking to a real person,” they’re not saying, “Wow, I really like those nice people at XYZ, Inc.”
What they’re really saying (and some will come right out and say it) is that they like talking to a real person who knows what the heck they’re talking about and works with them diligently through resolution of their problem.
It’s also helpful when the person treats the customer as if their beef, issue or difficulty is credible and important. Now that you’ve heard my experience, here are some facts:
- Most people have no trouble walking out of a store if they’re receiving bad service; even if the store has exactly what they’re looking for.*
- Most people are less likely to visit other locations if they have a bad experience at a particular store.*
- Most people want proactive solutions to problems before they happen, but only a few are willing to pay for them.*
As marketers, we must continue to extend the marketing conduit from the top of the value chain — procurement — to the front of the chain — sales and customer service. Marketing is as much customer service’s business as customer service is ours. We must demand, even more loudly than our customers, that complaints are handled expeditiously and problems are anticipated. At the same time, marketing must hear the customers voice when sales and customer service raise concerns of their own.
Is it any coincidence that great brands like L.L. Bean, Lexus, Trader Joe’s, Starbuck’s, Publix, Southwest Airlines, Apple and Chick-Fil-A are perennially found on the lists of customer service champions? They fully understand and practice the importance of inextricably connecting marketing, sales, and customer service.
We think not.