Fortunately, I have worked for many companies that have trusted me and allowed access.
Of course, I have also received my fair share of Heismans from sales and management. Heck, by their blocking you would have thought I was requesting their first born for a ritual sacrifice or worse… their yearly bonus.
Today, in our social world there is absolutely no reason to refuse marketers access to customers. Unless, of course, said marketers are raving lunatics running around high on tactical crack because their sales team is demanding leads. Then yeah, they shouldn’t be allowed to chat it up with customers.
Customers do not silo their experiences with companies—they never have and never will.
When a customer gets a direct mail piece, they don’t think “Oh, wow. How nice of those direct marketers for sending us this little card with a discount code.” Nor do they think, “Hey thanks PPC manager! I appreciate that you put that Google ad squarely in my face when I was looking for new shoes.”
If marketers understand customers from that perspective, they will understand that any outreach, touch point, or interaction must represent the brand, not the silo.
From that regard, all interactions that marketers have with customers must be authentic and transparent in nature. Remember, you are the brand. For example, if your reason for interacting is to collect insights for a new product or service, be clear about it. Customers often appreciate being able to provide feedback if they think the company is willing to listen and implement their suggestions.
Learning From Our Friends In Customer Service
As we know, great customer service never goes out of style. Companies like Southwest Air, Best Buy, and Publix have made a business decision to put the customer in the center of their organization in order to serve them better.
Marketers need to make a concerted effort do the same thing. Servicing the customer isn’t just smart after the sale, but long before one.
- How can we make it easier for our customers to do business with us?
- Instant chat lines set up to answer customers concerns
- Have a profile and complete record of each customer
- Focus groups/Brainstorming sessions with customers
- Be accessible to customers
- How do we meet and exceed expectations?
- Customer advisory board
- Anticipate problems and solve them before the customer complains
- Determine customer expectations
- Set guidelines for being more reliable, responsive and credible
- Listen to them
- Ask the right questions to find real problems and concerns
- Open communication
- Say “NO” less often
- More recognition for both internal and external customers
- Showing the flag – get in front of the customer more often – visit
Where does your customer service IQ fall? Would you have selected these items for marketing? What other customer service best and effective practices should marketers implement?
[Image source: Savage Chickens]