The quality of a customer service program determines the effectiveness of marketing. Enticing people to make additional purchases is much easier when they know that the experience will be pleasant. Service has long been considered a necessary expense of doing business. What if that view were changed to, “Service is an opportunity to solidify relationships and improve retention?”
Customer service is the best marketing tool available. People who have a positive shopping experience come back and bring their friends. The open forum known as social media is a perfect venue for sharing good and not-so-good experiences. Smart marketers partner with the service team to create great experiences and encourage sharing.
Email offers a one to one service connection at minimal cost. If your company isn’t using email to provide a better experience, you are missing an excellent opportunity. Use email to:
- Connect personally with customers and prospects. Capture as much information as possible so you can stay in touch with the people who make your company successful. Sending personal messages that say “happy birthday” or “thank you” without heavy promotions differientiates your company from the competition and improves relationships.
- Show how to use your products and services. The more people know about your products and services, the more likely they will use them. Consumption is a key component of the sales funnel. Unused items don’t need accessories or replacements. If your customers are buying without using, there are problems that need resolving.
- Keep customers informed about order statuses and new items. This is as close as you can get to automated service. Set up triggers that are driven by every change in order status. This significantly reduces “where is my order” calls. Create business rules that send emails when new items arrive that fit customers’ buying history.
- Remind people of special events. Birthdays, anniversaries and holidays have a way of sneaking up on people. Create a tool or app for customers to input special events and request reminders. The reminder messages can be automated and should include suggestions for the perfect gift along with an order timeline.
- Make life easier. Studies have shown that people prefer easy to exceptional when it comes to service. Providing the information needed to resolve issues without calling your company pleases customers and reduces operating costs. Most people will start with the self-serve options; including the customer care number as a back-up option is still a good practice.
- Automate the ordering process. Simplify ordering to as few steps as possible. If your company sells consumable products offer the opportunity for automated ordering. The process should include advance emails with options to delay or cancel, confirmation of order placement and updates throughout the shipping process. This improves sales and productivity.
- Share industry news. The things that happen in your industry affect the people who use your products and services. Is there a new trend or invention that changes things? Share the information with your customers and prospects. It keeps them informed and your company in their mind.