Start 2011 with Customer Service as a Vital Marketing Priority

I am not making a New Year’s resolution. They are too easy to break. I am taking the attitude—Just do…Don’t “resolve” to do.

 

Customer Service is so vitally important to your business and GREAT customer service is at the top of my list for 2011. I am still constantly surprised at how companies regard this part of their business as a low priority. When I say this, I don’t think top executives sit around a conference room table and purposely set the goal of customer service as a low priority. I just think that they don’t give great customer service a thought at all. And I don’t understand why.

 

BREO Vacation Rentals, Troon North

I have benefitted from a large amount of repeat business as a result of great customer service (and a great product) in our small vacation rental business. I am so pleased that we have so many repeat clients. Looking at my next 4 renters, 3 of them are each returning for the third time with us. I have another renter returning for the second time. It’s so great to have them all back. I can honestly say the things I do are very small things but our renters really appreciate it. When I call to check in on them upon their arrival, they are always so surprised that we took the time to call. That makes me smile.

 

The 3 advantages I see from my repeat clients:

  • I am filling my rental time with renters I already know are good customers.
  • There is no extra marketing effort on my part to get them to come back—they keep my contact information and call me.
  • They tell other people about us.

 

Small acts of great customer service go a long, long way. At least they do with me…I go out of my way to purchase products or services from companies that have been good to me. I have also gone out of my way to NOT do business with those companies who have been rotten to me. And there are some companies that I still do business with, but only because I have no choice…the example is my cable company.

 

They sent out this customer satisfaction survey to me (a couple of times) with the statement that they care and they want feedback. When I give them my honest feedback with very low grades, I invite them to call me to discuss. They even end the survey saying something along the lines that they care and want to always improve but, to this day, I have never received a phone call from them to discuss my dissatisfaction.  So, I come away from this whole exercise feeling like they really don’t care and that the survey is lip service to the customer in a pretend show of providing satisfactory customer service. I am always so disappointed and I would change companies immediately…if I had a choice.

 

The other day I had such a pleasant experience at Borders. I forgot my coupon and they accepted the email on my cell phone for the discount. I know this is probably not a big deal, but I will continue to go out of my way to purchase from them. The fact of the matter is—they made the choice to say yes to making their customers happy. They could have just as easily said “sorry, we need the physical coupon”. And I walked out of the store with a smile on my face.

 

Great customer service takes effort. It takes planning. It takes training of employees. It takes thought. Is great customer service in your 2011 marketing plan?

 

The funny thing about great customer service is that is becomes so part of who your company is, what your brand stands for and who you are that it literally become a natural way for you to do business. I like happy clients. I never want to have an unhappy client. I wish other companies felt the same way.

 

Make it an important part of your 2011 marketing plan.

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About Anna Brice, Pinnacle Peak Marketing

I am an Independent Marketing Services Provider and Principal of Pinnacle Peak Marketing. Pinnacle Peak Marketing provides companies, small and large, the opportunity to utilize a reliable outsource marketing resource and take advantage of the flexibility of the full menu of marketing services we provide. Clients can pick and choose the precise services they require and only contract for those specific services. This is what I refer to as On-Demand Marketing Services. Our work includes long and short-term projects or can be done on an hourly, retainer or project-by-project basis. I am a marketing professional with 13 years experience in the travel industry and 11 years in marketing. My past experience includes marketing management roles at Sony Electronics, Fujifilm and GoDaddy.com. I have worked in every level of marketing and the experience at each level has served me well. I continue to learn and in marketing today, the changes are so swift and dramatic, that one must continue to learn in order to survive and thrive. I work with a group of professionals and we work together and separately and are able to provide a wealth of knowledge and resources as a combined group. My husband, Ed and I also have two vacation rentals in Scottsdale and one vacation rental home in Edgartown- Katama in Martha’s Vineyard. We rent these properties through our company, BREO Vacation Rentals (www.breovacationrentals.com). It is great fun and we have been very lucky with great renters. We have had only one bad experience, so we really can’t complain. We have been very lucky to get many repeat renters (all of our properties now have had repeat renters), so we feel like we must be doing something right. We do try hard, that’s for sure. I am never far from marketing, between Pinnacle Peak Marketing and BREO Vacation Rentals. I enjoy it, love it and have a goal to help companies grow; connect those companies with their customers and their customers to them.
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2 Responses to Start 2011 with Customer Service as a Vital Marketing Priority

  1. SkyPower says:

    Only a fool would disagree with your contention that customer service is important. However, Borders (your example) went out of business and Exxon grows bigger and bigger and couldn’t care less about their customers.

    Business in the year 2011 has turned upside down. What’s right is wrong and what used to be wrong is the new “right.”

    If we are every to get America back on track, customer service needs to be important again. We are all in this together and companies that understand and act on this, hopefully, will be the ones to prosper.

    As we say, Anna, from your lips to God’s ears … let’s all put customer service back in business at the highest levels.

    • Yes, I am surely hoping to see customer service at high levels return to business. I believe too many companies don’t plan for it, though. Additionally, it should be part of the marketing process, specifically part of every marketing plan and the whole brand development/brand identity process. Customer service is a great way to differentiate your company from your competitors and today, it’s not difficult to be great at it. Bad customer service can be devastating to a company’s brand and this is why it should be part of the plan, and not a separate thought. It may be a different department, but the question to ask is–how can marketing and customer service work together to build towards a great brand? And with the advent of social media, marketing and customer service MUST work together more now than ever. So…make it park of the marketing plan and the whole planning process and make it an important initiative. Thanks for reading Jay!

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