Many businesses, especially online businesses, are notorious for bad customer service. Phone numbers are difficult to find, online chats go around in circles, different answers are given to the same questions, promised refunds are never sent – the list goes on and on.
However, some newer companies seem to be pushing back against this trend. For example, Jet.com, an online retailer recently purchased by Walmart, not only provides excellent customer service (shocker: there’s actually an easy-to-find phone number on their website!), but allows you, as the customer, to thank the employee you interacted with by providing him or her with a gift. Gifts range from a cup of coffee to lunch to a cool product. And even more amazing in today’s digital age, Jet.com employees routinely send handwritten thank you notes to customers with whom they interact. (We know, we got one.)
How does all of this tie in with marketing? The need for a close connection between marketing and customer service is becoming more apparent as customers routinely turn to social media as their preferred method for interacting with, and commenting on, brands and businesses. Like it or not, your customer service policy is now part of your marketing strategy. Your customer service team is now part of your social media team.
The relationship goes both ways. Because customer support is on the front line of interacting with customers, the team can help marketing departments create content ideas and buyer personas. In return, the marketing department should be working with customer service to help craft unified messages and set customer expectations. Closer connections between marketing and customer service can also greatly help the human resources department.
There is a lot of research behind the idea that members of Generation Z (born between 1990 and 2010, i.e. those entering the workforce now) are strongly attracted to companies that have a strong and authentic employer brand, that cultivate a sense of purpose, and that recognize and reward individuality. A strong customer service philosophy, that works in conjunction with other departments and rewards initiative, will help to build an attractive employer brand, reducing turnover and making recruiting easier.
For example, Florida-based Publix is famous for delivering great customer service. The chain is owned by its employees, and employee-owners are empowered to make decisions that help customers. The employee turnover rate is 3.2%. By comparison, one source clocks the average turnover rate at most grocery stores to be 100%.
What does this trend mean for you? Companies looking for their next marketing hire should be looking for well-rounded employees with demonstrable skills at seeing the value of gleaning insights from other departments. Meanwhile, marketers looking for their next big opportunity should be able to demonstrate how their work has had an impact throughout a company.
Whether you’re looking for marketing talent that knows how to play well with others, or looking for a company that values your ability to do so, we can help.