Deliver or Die: Customer Service is the New Marketing

by Barry Moltz on July 22, 2010

For a long time, a company’s commitment to outstanding customer service began…and ended in its mission statement.

The goal of the customer being number one in most companies is not translated into tactics for training the staff or incorporating feedback from their customers.  Instead, companies continue to pay sales reps bonuses to bring new customers in the door and only pay minimum wages to customer service reps to keep them there.  This formula results in a revolving door of customers and overall poor service.

This is all changing in a 24/7 connected world.

1. The world is your competition.

With no geographic boundaries, almost every product or service has become a commodity.  Your only sustainable competitive advantage is customer loyalty through great service.  If I can get what you sell anywhere, why should I put up with bad service?

2. With self service kiosks and websites, companies can now personalize the customer experience.

Every company can now call you by name, remember what you purchased and recommend what you like.  This expectation does not get lower anywhere we surf on the internet, each time we call your company or walk into your brick and mortar locations.

3. Your company’s biggest fear was that a disgruntled customer would tell seven people.  A dissatisfied customer can now tell 7 million people!

Communicating via social media tools like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube has turned the business world upside down.  Companies can no longer control the conversation about their brands through advertising.  But, the good news is that social media can also help build a raving fan base and defuse ranting customers.

Are you listening to what your customers are broadcasting about you through social media?  Are you responding?

This year, deliver outstanding customer service, or…become extinct.

This blog post originally appeared on the Intuit Small Business Blog.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Jen Turi July 23, 2010 at 11:49 am

Great post Barry. I love your reference to the old fear of telling 7 friends. How the world has changed!! I just wrote about this very topic but in terms of branding and who is controlling it. http://www.careercurve.com/blog/?p=139 Isn’t it fascinating the way departments and missions of these are converging and changing? I see SO many exciting opportunities to show off customer service skills and the good thing for consumers is like you said, the world is very different and those that don’t respond won’t be around. Again, great post!

Barry Moltz July 23, 2010 at 1:31 pm

It is a different place and the businesses that realize it will prosper!!

Laura Lee Sparks July 23, 2010 at 9:01 pm

I am thrilled that customer service is finally coming back to the fore front of business owner minds, for so many years it was all about quantity and companies didn’t care about reputation or the “experience” their customers were having. Great post Barry especially the 7 friend comparison, just another way social media is impacting our world.

Keep up the great work you are doing!
LL

Barry Moltz July 24, 2010 at 8:56 am

Thanks Laura- I am not sure Customer Service ever left but now companies really have no choice- in this 24/7 borderless world, customer service is the only sustainable advantage!

Laura Lee Sparks July 24, 2010 at 10:05 am

Hey Barry – I don’t think it left, but too many companies (at least in my experience) have let the levels of customer services drop to way below what I consider acceptable, (can’t count the hours on support calls with overseas agents, who are just following a script and not listening to the needs of the customer) or walking into a place ready to buy and simply having a bad experience at which time I leave.

There has been an obvious shift in the past 10-12 months and I am watching it grow both online and offline.

Barry Moltz July 24, 2010 at 10:09 am

Agreed, the Great Recession and the faux personalization technology gives us has helped I think!

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