Why Customer Service is the Most Effective Marketing Tool

customerserviceWhen we think about marketing tools, chances are, customer service isn’t one of them. Instead, we’re thinking about web-based tools that are pretty complex at their core, but exist to make marketing our business easier.

We don’t often picture customer service as a ‘tool,’ per se, but that’s exactly what it is. Webster defines tool as “a device or implement used to carry out a particular function.”

Good customer service will help with several of your business’ marketing functions; removing sales barriers, connecting with customers, answering questions and solving problems, and most importantly, driving sales. So what defines good customer service?

What is good customer service?

Everyone has their own idea of what customer service looks like, and unfortunately, that sometimes looks a little cliche. Phrases like “The customer is always right” might be a factor of customer service, but don’t serve to define good customer service. Some would say the providing excellent customer service is more of an art than a science, and maybe that’s what makes it such an effective marketing tool.

You need to conduct regular audits of your customer service team to ensure you’re wielding this tool efficiently and in an effective way.

You can do this by following the acronym ALF: Always Listen First.

customer service

When you listen first, you don’t have to take any action just yet. Measure your customer’s experiences with your staff by taking surveys, asking questions, and analyzing the current approach your customer service team is taking when they help customers.

Look for instances of great customer service and reward your staff for it. Watch for areas that need work and offer gentle critiques that suggest what they should do instead. Your customer service representatives should be using the language and methods you’ve instructed them to use. Notice the difference between two similar greetings:

‘How may I help you this afternoon?’ vs. ‘What seems to be the problem?’

You don’t have to ask your representatives to act unreasonably bubbly or positive, but you need to know that they’re using the right language and methods. Don’t assume–just listen.

How can good customer service help market your brand?

Did you know that most customers prefer making a purchase without ever interacting with a customer service representative? Instead, they check for reviews online and trust the best-reviewed products. About 25% of consumers leave reviews, but nearly 70% check reviews before deciding on a purchase. Removing your customer service representative’s chance to interact with a customer is bad for business, right? Wrong!

When your reps do interact with customers, remember the 25% rule: About one quarter of the people your reps talk to will feel compelled to review your business online, based on their experience. Whether or not you provide great customer service can be the difference between your business receiving one star reviews and five star reviews.

When you are building your business, loyal customers will be one of your greatest assets. You can maintain those customers and reward them for their loyalty by treating them well, offering exclusive bonuses and offers, and making their interests the cornerstone of your marketing plan. When customers become brand ambassadors, you’ll know you’re doing it right.

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