The tension between Marketing and Customer Service
In my professional past, I have worked at Marketing and Customer Service and I never quite understood the tension between the two. In an obvious case of hyperbole, I would like to state the following.
Marketing tries to improve sales by targetting ‘the persona customer’, losing sight of the individual customers as they go along. Customer service is always busy answering all individual questions which never seem to fit in the bodice Marketing imposed, and as such, have difficulty in believing what Marketing is telling them to do.
Why Marketing and Customer Service will soon be BFF’s
Now, before you both go yelling at each other, I have good news: Marketing and Customer Service are going to be best friends forever, real soon! Yep, BFF’s. Why? Because your customer has taken control. How? A team-up of public social media with ever more mobile internet.
Social media forces Marketing and Customer Service to change
Marketing has, for too long and too much, been about pushing products down customer’s throats in a shouting action. ‘Hear, hear, we have the best product for this-and-that and as you cannot compare it to any other on the market: buy it, and buy it now.’ Well, that’s a thing of the past. Customers are investigating now what they are buying, and teaming up together on Facebook, Twitter and lots of other networks. There is no use anymore in spending money on Marketing campaigns for non-needed or bad products if customers can break it in a matter of types ànd tell all their friends about it in a matter of clicks.
Customer Service has been responding to individuals in a one-on-one relationship. As no one else was listening during those conversations, the customer often got powned. ‘OK, something got messed up, but you are not important enough, so shut up and move along. Ne-eext!’ Before you bash on Customer Service: the people there don’t like doing this, their management just forces them to do so as they believed giving in to the customer’s needs was like giving in to terrorists. Well, it may seem hard to believe, but there is in fact a slight difference.
It’s the customers that make a business successful. No buyers, no business. No happy customers, no long-term business. And as those customers are now talking to everyone quadrupled instantly about you, you’d better start listening to what they have to say. Or they will bye-bye you in the blink of an eye.
Customer Service becomes the foundation of Marketing
And this makes my point: through social media, Customer Service is becoming the foundation of Marketing. In my humble opinion, Marketing 2.0 is all about ‘listening and communicating with your customers, to learn from their experiences, better fit their needs and as such ameliorate your business and products.’ Social media is the way in which it happens. The way, not the means: no use in having tons of fans if no one is listening.
If you have built an audience on social media, and you are responding to their remarks, questions and sometimes filthy words, you can start shouting again. Or better, you can start speaking again, because you will have an audience that will be listening to you. This means: Marketing with a much higher ROI, no shooting in the dark anymore. And in the meantime, you gain lots of information about those customers.
In the end, it is a win for all: for customers and for businesses. But it takes a leap of faith and quite some rethinking of your business to attain it. Good luck!