The Return Customer blog run by Joe Rawlinson raises a good question about the state of customer satisfaction: Is it the new marketing?
In one post, the author asserts that customers make purchases based on “reviews, social media and referrals from friends” and they don’t really care about marketing unless it “matches their expectations about the brand.”
Accordingly, customer service is one the best ways to influence customers’ perceptions of a company.
“Someone has to make the decision that you are going to put the customer at the center of everything you do,” said customer satisfaction expert Micah Solomon. “This has to be reinforced from the top. Then the customer-centered culture and mindset will follow naturally.”
Valeria Maltoni of Conversation Agent agrees with this kind of customer-centric approach, especially when considering customer-facing technologies.
“A people-centric view…is the secret sauce in connecting a fragmented and diverse business community,” Maltoni writes. “Digital experiences that work are personal(ized) and bridge what we do in real life with what we say in social networks.”
Maltoni suggests bringing a company’s marketing and customer service departments closer together, citing an example from the Morton’s Restaurant Group.
“The [Morton’s] marketing team identified a blogger and brand advocate that had 100,000 followers on Twitter,” writes Maltoni. “One day, that customer facetiously tweeted about how he wished Morton’s would deliver him a steak while he was waiting at the airport. Marketers caught this and delivered steaks to him. He later shared this customer experience with his massive, trusting audience.”
It’s just a different way of looking at business. It stresses high-touch, thoughtful customer service and a solid understanding of customer needs, gleaned through contact with customers (call reps on the phone, customer satisfaction surveys, et cetera).