While it was ‘products’ and ‘pricing’ that could be used as USPs (Unique Selling Points) in the past, ‘service’ has become equally important. Simply providing a good service is one of the most effective marketing strategies today. When your clients trust you enough to not only remain loyal to you, but recommend you to their friends and associates, you get access to entirely new markets and prospects.
How customer service serves as a marketing tool
How do you reach a level where your clients feel comfortable telling their circle of influence about your services? Providing high-quality client experiences can serve as a marketing tool, making your target market not only aware of your existence, but also why they should consider doing business with you. You should aim to make clients feel valued and special, every time they interact with you. Even before the deal is finalised, you need to be growing the client relationship by investing time and money in providing the most excellent customer experience.
An article by Brandwatch explains the 5E’s of customer service. The 5E model suggests that there are five stages to a customer’s journey with a brand, and each stage provides a different opportunity for the brand to add value. The value to the customer is what drives purchasing behaviour.
Here are the five Es:
- Entice – attracting customers to the brand initially
- Enter – bringing those who are enticed closer to the product/service
- Engage – getting customers to actually purchase, and use the products
- Exit – the experience following consumption of the product, or following usage
- Extend – how repeat purchases or follow-up processes happen
Your brand should aim to add as much value as possible. Brandwatch also points out that “a critical component of using customer service for value creation rests within service recovery. You don’t even have to improve your products – each failure is an opportunity for advocacy.”
For example, if a customer’s delivery is delayed, you should go beyond apologising. If you can’t deliver it by hand, sending an even better replacement is likely to make a customer happy. Should a much-cherished product be out of stock for one particular customer, you can try and source it from another provider for them, even if it will cost you more. If not, you should deliver it to them for free once you have it in stock, advises Brandwatch.
These counter-intuitive examples demonstrate how failure can give brands an ideal opportunity to engage with their customers and add real value in ways that marketing campaigns cannot.
Other examples of customer service as marketing
There are various other ways to leverage the power of customer service as a marketing channel:
Customer reviews and testimonials as promotional material. Most customers prefer making a purchase without ever interacting with a customer service representative. They opt to check for reviews online and go for the most reviewed products. Statistics reveal that about 25 per cent of customers write reviews, but almost 70 per cent look at reviews before finalising a purchase. Displaying your customer reviews and testimonials in your marketing material is one of the most effective ways of using your excellent customer service as a marketing strategy.
Integrate customer service into your content marketing strategy. While the purpose of content marketing is to provide information to people about your industry, or about the services your company provides, you should consider using a customer service-focused section of your website as a part of your content marketing strategy. Customer service content adds even more value by helping people with difficulties they may encounter with your products and services, or how to operate them effectively, according to Customer Think.
Include these strategies into your current customer service model and you can be sure of seeing better customer retention from using customer service as your new marketing tool. If you feel it may be difficult for your team to do this while also focusing on other aspects of the services you render, business process outsourcing can help you deliver on your service ambitions, including providing high-quality customer service.