Businesses are slowly starting to realise that marketing and customer services go hand-in-hand. Customer service issues are largely making their way online and it’s generally those in the online marketing team who are responsible for dealing with them. But when the two departments don’t communicate, messages are inconsistent and complaints aren’t dealt with in the right way.

Bad customer service

It’s more expensive to find a new customer than to retain an existing customer. Statistics quoted by Customers That Stick indicate that it costs 16 times more to bring a new customer to the same level of profitability as an existing customer.

The same data suggests that increasing customer retention rates by 5% raises your company’s profits by 25% to 95%. If you wish to strengthen your company’s customer retention, you need to know the reason they left. Data cited by Help Scout shows that 78% of consumers have stopped a transaction or failed to execute an intended purchase because of poor customer service.

Consumer reactions

The quickest way to lose business is to provide poor customer service. If you do so with one person you could deprive your business of an untold volume of potential customers. Dissatisfied parties can now review your company on social media and specialist review sites such as TripAdvisor.

A Zendesk survey of 1,046 people in the US showed that 58% said they were more likely to share customer experiences online than they were five years before. The same poll found that the buying decisions of 86% of respondents are influenced by negative online reviews.

Reputational damage

But how likely are consumers going to see unwanted reviews? Social media and networking sites are seen as trusted sources of information by Google. They’re likely to rank on the first page of a Google search for your company’s name, so they’ll be seen by people who use the internet to research your business.

The ultimate example of what happens to a company that dares to provide poor customer service is LA Fitness. The Guardian wrote an article on the inadequate customer service at LA Fitness. This prompted a volley of complaints on Twitter, and the fitness company was forced to set up the @LAFitnessHelp account to deal directly with customer complaints.

Cost to marketing

The unwanted content poor customer service can generate online inflicts a significant indirect cost on your company as well. If a dissatisfied consumer vents their frustration on social media, their words can make your marketing campaigns ineffective.

Figures collated by AdWeek show that 74% of consumers rely on social media to influence purchasing decisions. The same customer will see if someone’s complained about your company’s inadequate service on Facebook or Twitter. The power of social media will work against you, and undo your marketing department’s hard work. This will deprive you of repeat custom, and ensure you receive minimal return on your marketing investment.

Turning it around

If you make sure your company responds effectively to the consumer’s issue online, you’ll increase your chances of both keeping the incident contained and retaining consumers. You shouldn’t under-estimate the value of responding when a customer complains about inefficient customer service online.

The same Customers That Stick data cited above indicates that 62% of consumers surveyed said they would return to a business if they received an apology or correction from a supervisor or head office. Meanwhile 49% said they’d go back if they were offered proof of enhanced customer service.

If consumers are likely to share stories of poor customer service online, by the same logic they’re likely to share the story of your effective response. If your marketing team takes note of this they can spread news of your effective response online, and turn a poor customer service incident into an asset that’ll enhance your company’s reputation online.

Useful tips

Therefore it’s vital that your marketing team knows how customer service works and vice versa. Here are some tips you can use to ensure good customer service drive’s your company’s success:

  • Provide training: Don’t just provide customer-facing training to the members of your team who directly interact with consumers. You should provide best customer service practice training to a wider selection of your staff, including those who look after your online interactions, to turn customer service into a marketing asset for your company.
  • Facilitate communication: If no-one talks how will anything ever get done? You should make sure that your marketing and customer services teams communicate on a regular basis, so that they can provide effective service to your customer base that’ll enhance your company’s reputation online.
  • Prioritise customer service: You need to make sure that you prioritise perfecting your company’s customer service above anything else. This is because good customer service creates happy consumers. These people will come to your business again, recommend you to others (creating new business) and maybe even leave positive reviews of your company online.
  • Monitor your name: You should set up alerts for your company’s name on Google. If you’re monitoring what people are saying about you online, you can respond quickly and resolve any issues, as well as learn about any internal issues that might need to be dealt with.

Marketing asset

In conclusion, you need to make sure that your company’s marketing team and customer service department work together. This will ensure that good customer service experiences are turned into marketing assets that’ll protect your company’s reputation online and secure repeat custom.

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