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Customer Service As Marketing

There are so many companies that I’m brand loyal to because of the great customer service they give! When it is enjoyable to deal with someone you keep going back even if the price might not always be the best. Customer service IS the best marketing you can project to the outside world. If you can parlay that with great products/services then it is a winning formula for expansion.

[From Chris Brogan’s blog June 14th, 2011]

On Days You Don’t Feel Like Marketing

Do customer service. Technically, I could stop the post here, and get my point across, but I’ll write a few more words, just to let it sink in. You see, this is the last thing on most marketers’ minds, and yet, it’s the first thing on your buyer’s mind.

Would I trade a clever offer for amazing service? Absolutely. Here’s an example.

A few days ago, I took my daughter to New York City for an adventure. As part of it, we picked out a dress at Bloomingdale’s and a pair of shoes at Payless. At Bloomingdale’s, we were given great service, and had no fewer than two people looking to help us buy a dress.
At Payless, we had a bored employee traipse past us, pretend to ask if we needed help, and then mumble that every shoe in the store is “buy one, get one half off.” We picked out the single pair of shoes we wanted for our efforts, brought them down to the register, where the same employee ignored us for a minute or so before telling us, “I’ll have to get the manager. I can’t ring on these registers.” So, we waited for the manager.

The manager arrived and said, “You know, every shoe in the store is buy one, get the next pair half off.” I said, “Thanks, I’m all good with this pair.” She proceeds to sigh, as if I’m the stupidest buyer in the world and how could I possibly pass up the chance to get another pair of shoes at half off. Then, she slowly (laboriously slowly) scans in my order, and finishes by asking me for four pennies so she can give me back a nickel, as she’s out of pennies in her drawer.

Prior to this experience, I didn’t have high expectations for Payless. It is what it is: discount shoes. But, I never excuse a price point for poor service. That’s just not allowed in my vernacular.

Perform Exceptional Customer Service

On days you don’t feel like marketing, spend every possible moment thinking about customer service and how you can do it better. Retrain your staff, if you have customer-facing employees. Do something to perk up the experience. Do something to eliminate roadblocks. Whatever. Just do something to bring excellent customer service to your buyers and you’ll find that your marketing isn’t as important on those days.

The same is true for online customer service. Have you made it easy for your buyer to be helped? Look around your site. What are you doing to encourage a sale? I know that when I look around at this site, I’ve got some work to do. But when I look at what we’ve accomplished at Kitchen Table Companies, I see that we’ve done a lot and can do even more to make it a top shelf customer experience. How about you? What are you doing to improve your customer service?
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