Are your customer service and marketing departments working together, or walking away from each other?
If I were to ask you “how is marketing and customer service like quantum physics?”, you’d probably assume I was launching into a too-on-the-nose parody of a Ted Talk. And, in a way, you’d be right. There aren’t many similarities. But there are a few: in both fields, accepted wisdom has a way of being rapidly, and disorientingly, overturned by experience.
Take the speed of light. We all know that nothing can move faster. But quantum physicists have observed individual particles billions of miles apart from each other interacting simultaneously: that is, when something happens to one, it happens to the other at the same time. They are somehow communicating and interacting faster than light. Which is, you know, weird.
These sorts of information loops are also impact your marketing and customer service conventional wisdom. One of the main tenets of marketing is that of the Buyer’s Journey. There are three stages to that: Awareness, Consideration, Decision. Seems simple, right? And, in a limited way, it is. But it doesn’t end there. Much like the quantum particles, the Buyer’s Journey is more of a loop.
See, you don’t want the Journey to end with one sale. You want to cultivate relationships, upsell products, turn them into evangelists, and have them coming back for more. You want a purchase to be the start of another purchase, a series of them, that benefit both sides. That’s where customer service comes in. In these days of an empowered buyer, who has more knowledge than at any time in the past, there is one statement that is absolutely true, and won’t be overturned: Customer Service is Marketing.
The Fake Divide Between Customer Service and Marketing
For years, businesses have put up a divide between marketing and customer service. Sure, they might interact at picnics, or maybe on the company softball team, but there were seen as two different end of the process. Marketing got the customers in, and then they were moved over to customer service. Customer service wasn’t responsible for creating or generating customers.
But customers can’t be divided off. They don’t have end points in their journey. You obviously want customers to keep coming back, and that means that customer service has to interact with marketing in a way that keeps providing personalized and targeted information to existing customers, so that, in a way, they are always looping back to the Consideration phase.
Information is the key to customer service. Buyers today have virtually limitless information about you, your product, your company, your industry, and your competition. So good customer service helps customers sift through that information, finding what is actually useful to them, helping them with any problems, and steering them back into the sales and marketing funnel.
Customer service builds loyalty. And that loyalty is the foundation of the Sales Loop. Don’t believe me? Let’s take a look at some numbers.
What we see here is a pretty clear phenomenon. Customers, for the most part, don’t just have an experience where they buy something, have a good customer service experience, and think “Well, those were nice people. I hope they do well.” It isn’t like being friendly with a stranger and then wishing them the best. It’s like meeting someone who is going to become a friend.
This holds true for B2B or B2C companies. Positive experiences can be the best marketing, and not just in terms of word of mouth. It literally becomes part of the marketing strategy, to turn existing customers into recurring ones.
Marketing is the Best Customer Service
But of course, a loop doesn’t just go one way. It isn’t just that customer service is marketing; marketing is also customer service. That’s because, as we talked about, today’s customers are all about information. They don’t want to be sold something and then think: now what? They want to have answers that can help them use their product or employ their service in the most efficient and effective way. And that starts with marketers providing them all the information they need.
What good inbound marketing does is:
Work with informed consumers
Validate and solve pain points
As you can see, that’s also what good customer service does. And that’s the point: the connection between the two should be seamless. They should be as connected as connected as quantum particles billions of miles apart.
Over the next few weeks, we’ll get into exactly what this means, how your business can change its customer service, and the best ways to join the two sides. And then, if we have time, we’ll do a little light quantum physics. That’s a GREAT idea for a Ted Talk...
At RDI Corporation, we combine the best in progressive and comprehensive digital marketing with proven effectiveness in customer service. Our training, hiring, and execution practices make us complete partners with our clients. Connect with RDI/A or RDI-Connect to learn more, and we invite you to read our white paper, The Perfect Circle: How Customer Service and Marketing Are the Same Thing which discusses even more ways that the two sides can complement and improve each other.
RDI Corporation was founded in 1978 and is headquartered in Blue Ash, Ohio. We provide precise business solutions through a fully integrated outsourcing model and our clients ranged from mid-sized corporations to distinguished Fortune 500 companies.