I am a marketer by trade. There. I said it.
I adore the marketing world and love living in the content and social media sector which I inhabit. SEO, analytics, impressions, reach, and click-through rates are not dirty words to me, but rather the empirical proof that your efforts are working (or not working). While it’s a little funny for me to call anything the ‘new’ marketing, I do get how customer service has become just as important as marketing when taking a look at revenue and goals.
The combination of social media and online peer reviews has put a lot of power back into the customers’ hands. They no longer have to sit and simply take in your chosen messages. These days consumers are doing thorough research to find out everything they can before they make a purchase. For example, 93% of shoppers’ buying decisions are influenced by social media– because 90% trust peer recommendations. But only 14% trust advertisements (#Socialnomics 2014). This establishes customer service as the new marketing – or at least big player.
Word of mouth, social media and peer reviews are more popular than relying on the company’s word. Too many people have been burned by bad marketing – companies not living up to their word about their product or not providing adequate support.
Here are some ways to establish word of mouth for your company that are both genuine and positive:
reate Brand Ambassadors
Many businesses are creating brand ambassadors from customers. Utilize social media and “hire for merchandise” users with a quality following to photography their products and mention them. If they aren’t hiring brand ambassadors, they are sharing their images on social. This creates a sense of connectedness and benefits for both the brand and the customer.
Be Available to Your Customers
It’s your business, and while you deserve a day off once in a while, your customers will be elated if you take calls from them yourself – no matter the day. If you cannot do this, implement a system that tells the customer when they can expect a response. Live answering services are both affordable and super convenient to use as a business owner.
Make Customer Service a Part of your Culture
A customer can feel when there is genuine care happening on their behalf. Take the time to create a customer-centric value system and ensure your staff is following it in order to create a seamless customer experience. Zappos follows a core value system that places a high priority on the customer. As we all know, they go to great lengths to create an experience that wows.
Understand Your Customer’s Journey
Ever heard of customer journey mapping? The main goal is to outline the entire scope of your customers’ journey with your company, from first touch through their lifetime as a customer, and places all departments on the same page. It brings the customer front-and-center. Conversion XL has written a Step By Step Guide to Building Customer Journey Maps.
The importance of social media, online reviews and word-of-mouth marketing has placed the customer in the captain’s seat once again. They are no longer willing to be awash in messaging that could potentially be false. Creating a company where the customer is the the main focus goes beyond the value of a banner ad or blog post any day.
We want to hear from you! What are your thoughts on customer service being the new wave of marketing? Tell us in the comments.